The Publisher of The Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru,
She spoke, yesterday (Saturday) at the inaugural Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), which held at the British Council, Ikoyi, Lagos premises.
She said: “Parents must read to their children before they step out to school. What is called bedside stories should be read to the kids and that way, they fall asleep. The next day, they come to you, saying, ‘Mummy, I want you to do the same thing you did last night. It actually broadens their horizon.”
Lady Alex-Ibru said by reading early, children end up being very clever, because they would have mastered various words and meanings in dictionary. By introducing children to reading early, “you arouse their curiosity for the next story,” she remarked.
The Guardian’s publisher said when a child that began reading very early writes an essay, it is very rich, as he/she has experience and knowledge from various books. While declaring the event opened, Lady Alex-Ibru pointed to the fact that the festival’s name ‘Akada’ is derived from the word academy. “If you don’t read, you can’t become an ‘acada’,” Maiden Alex-Ibru added.
While discouraging parents from allowing their children to imbibe the online culture early, she said: “You must buy books, because even when you help them, they can’t read. They want to go through the pictures; it settles and registers in their brains. It must be hardcopy, every time. Forget about online for them, they shouldn’t be online.”
While noting that it doesn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes every night to do this, she said, “it actually helps them to go to sleep and stop being naughty, moving from one bed to the other, if they are sharing a bunk bed. Ten minutes is a small price to pay, if you want to help them.
“You must invest in the children. Make it a habit to catch them young. Otherwise, when it is too late, they may not be interested. They pick it up, and then dump it.” The festival’s initiator and publisher of Clever Clogs Books, Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi, said it was conceived to “inspire and encourage children in their love of books, as well as to encourage the love for reading among them.”
She said part of her personal development was to attend book festivals and book feasts around the world. She said: “What I noticed is that in Nigeria, I couldn’t find book festivals for children. Most of the book festivals are for adult. The festivals don’t even have sections for children. So, I thought it would be good to have an exclusive festival for children. That’s why the Akada Festival came into existence.”
Targeted at children aged 13 and below, parents, teachers and guardians, as well as those who create child-appropriate contents, the one-day festival attracted over 2,400 participants. It featured such activities as workshops for writers and illustrators, authors’ showcase, interactive and engaging workshops for children, and soft skills master classes for teachers and parents.