Africa, Reading, and Children’s/Teen books by Africans

Two excellent blog posts.

Thus in my early years I consumed African literature in a mostly oral form. Every night my father would tell us stories that his mother had told him in his childhood, stories of the goings on in the animal kingdom, often about Tortoise but other creatures featured. The stories were told in a multimedia format. There was speech and singing and call and response. There was also a popular story-telling TV show that I watched called ‘Tale’s by Moonlight,’ whose stories gave me nightmares.

From ‘s What I read growing up in Lagos

The general lack of a reading culture and high levels of poverty contribute to the fact that books don’t sell in high volumes in bookshops in most of Africa. So, publishers rely on the government to buy books for children to read in schools as supplementary reading material. While it is good for the government to buy books for schools that can’t afford them, there is a price to pay. For a book to be bought by the ministry, it has to be approved as “suitable” by a board people who are mainly educationalists. This raises the issues of what then constitutes a “good” or “suitable” book.

From Ellen Banda-Aaku‘s Please don’t air brush African teen fiction

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