Authors and stakeholders have called on parents and the government to balance early child education with picture books rooted in history and cultural values in order to develop the toddlers’ creativity mentality.
Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi, an author and convener of Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), said African books help acquaint young minds with their immediate environments.
Talabi stated this during a parley with reporters in Lagos, stressing that picture books rooted in indigenous cultural and moral values of a child’s immediate society were ideal for the creative mentality of such a toddler.
“Picture books help to inculcate our culture and values to the young ones. Instead of A is Apple, we should have books that teach them that A is for Amala,” she said.
On the children’s book festival, she said: ACBF is organised to showcase children’s books written by African authors or books from around the world written for a diverse audience of children.
The ACBF is a showcase of literary work created for a diverse audience of children. It is the first and the largest Nigerian book festival specifically for young readers.”
In addition, she explained, “The maiden edition was held in 2019. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the second and third editions of the festival 2020 and 2021, were held online with participants from across Nigeria and from over 23 countries around the world.
The 2022 edition of the ACBF was an in-person event and so is the festival this year.”
The theme for this year’s festival, according to the author, is “Through the Pages”.
Noma Sodipo, author and facilitator decried the fact that many Nigerian parents and schools were not encouraging the use of children’s books in indigenous languages to promote the cultural heritage of the people.
She pointed out that the book festival billed for Saturday, September 23, 2023, will among other things feature author-led book readings; story time sessions; book chats; a book exhibition; professional workshops for children’s book writers; illustrators and publishers; mini workshops for children; insightful sessions for parents and teachers; music; drama and much more.
“This encourages the culture of reading for pleasure from an early age and improves access to age-appropriate, non-academic books, Sodipo said.