Akada Children’s Book Festival to Highlight African Stories, Authors

Oluchi Chibuzor 

The 2023 Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), the first and largest Nigerian book festival, is set to spotlight a diverse lineup of authors and illustrators who will be sharing their stories of Africa and their heritage, culture, and communities through children’s literature.

The programme, themed ‘Through the Pages’, will be held at the Starfield Montessori School, Lekki, on September 23.

Speaking at the press conference to unveil the 2023 edition in Lagos, yesterday, renowned author and convener, Mrs. Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi, explained that the festival encourages the culture of reading for pleasure from an early age, and also improves access to age-appropriate non-academic books. 

She stated that ACBF excels at hosting engaging activities in which families can participate together, by providing an avenue for parents, children, and teachers to discover new books. 

According to her, “the fifth annual edition of the Akada children’s book festival will showcase 41 original titles by local authors and Illustrators, approved after rigorous selection by an eight-man editorial board. Books to be featured this year range from children’s picture books for toddlers to chapter books for teens, and the festival allows those books to be read and talked about. The ACBF is a valuable resource for children, parents, and educators.” 

The festival provides a unique opportunity for children to meet their favourite authors, learn about different cultures, and explore the world of books. 

The festival, Aboderin-Talabi stated, will feature a variety of activities, including author-led book readings, book chats, featured books, story time, book exhibitions, a chess tournament, a sip and paint, an art exhibition, a young authors’ spotlight, insightful sessions for parents and teachers, and professional workshops for writers, illustrators, and publishers.

The 2023 ACBF will also offer a variety of workshops and sessions that can help children develop their literacy and technical skills.

These according to organisers would include sessions led by expert voices such as, author, of “Learning How to Learn in A-to-Z Ways’, Abiola Bashorun; photographer, Busola Dakolo;Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi; author, Money Matters, Ifedolapo Peter-Ajakaiye; founder, Arcadia Montessori, Enimien Inegbedion; and CEO, Graeme Blaque Group, Zeal Akaraiwe.

In her remarks, author of A Pre-School Alphabet Book, one of the featured books in this year’s edition, Noma Sodipo, underpinned the importance of the festival for early childhood education.

“Young children need to be inspired to use their imagination and their senses. Books are very important, especially colourful books, during children’s early years. When they hold a book, turn the pages, and read, they are learning important motor, social, and emotional skills.”

The host, Dara Oluwatoye said, “when you increase access to books and stories that children can relate to, where their reality is reflected, they become more engaged. Introducing certain topics like money, manners, and communication skills through the books, where they see a version of themselves, they’ll be able to replicate such behaviour in real life.”

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