Literamed Publications, publishers of Lantern Books is 50. The organisation is set to commemorate its anniversary by launching a leaders competition where children between the ages of five and 13 can win one year scholarship and other prizes by reading one lantern storybook every month.
The Chairman of the organisation, Chief Yinka Lawal-Solarin, who briefed journalists, weekend in Lagos on the development, said the move will further stimulate the reading culture, adding that the competition will comprise a spelling bee, essay and brain teasers, all from subscription titles.
“The competition will be in four stages. There will be an entry level where all subscribers can take part in to get shortlisted. The stage two will be an inter-level competition between subscribers of a particular level of a school against that same level of another school. The stage three will comprise of a regional draws where shortlisted subscribers are picked, while the grand finale which will hold in Lagos in October 2019, will be televised live.”
He said the winners would smile home with a scholarship prize of N500,000, laptop and smartphone; N300,000, laptop and smartphone, as well as N200,000 and a smartphone for the first, second and third position respectively, adding that there will also be a school prize of N500,000 and other consolation prizes.
Lawal-Solarin recalled how the organisation was incorporated in 1969, the same year it pioneered medical publishing in the country with Medipharm, a medical index of pharmaceutical specialties, adding that apart from publishing medical journals, Literamed has also published children’s books.
“In the beginning, our vision was to provide total education by making available books for both learning and leisure. We also considered that good books targeted at children give the right foundation for education at all levels.
“Over the last 50 years, the vision is alive through more than 250 curriculum relevant lantern primary and junior secondary textbooks, about 200 culture relevant storybooks, over 150 comics that tell good African stories and about 100 living scrolls comics of bible stories.”
As part of the organisation’s contribution to support the provision of sound basic education for the Nigerian child, Lawal-Solarin said it has trained thousands of teachers nationwide in Lantern Books Skills Upgrade for Teachers (SUFT) workshops and also partnered with the state government on ‘support our schools’ initiative.
When asked how his organisation has been tackling the issue of piracy, he said, “It is a very difficult one, but when you are manufacturing, your distribution is key. We are fighting piracy by trying to make the books available electronically. We also have a problem with bookshops that have been putting a very high price on our books that would have been sold for a lesser price. We have had to confront them and stop the practice.”
He also spoke on the organisation’s vision for the next 50 years saying: “Our vision remains growing education, not just for the Nigerian child, but the entire continent of Africa. Government must partner with parents to ensure that children are well educated. Every child must be encouraged to read at least one book a month.”