Recently in Africa Children's Books Category
No surprises here, Aya N°6 is a quick, fun and enjoyable read. The Aya de Yopougon series follows Aya , her friends and her family in the neighborhood of Yopougon in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. My favorite thing about the Aya series is that it covers so many controversial and taboo topics...the sixth book is no different. In the book Aya continues to find a way to denounce her teacher, who forces female students to have sex with him or else he beats them and then fails them. Filled with rage, Bonaventure chases down his son Moussa, who has stolen money from him to build schools and clinics in villages, and has him imprisoned. Innocent is now in France but must deal with the difficulties of the visa process and the French embassy. Albert decides to marry an old ugly village woman in an effort to hide his homosexuality.
As usual, Aya N°6 is a must read.
Last week I proclaimed my excitement about Clément Oubrerie, the illustrator of the popular "Aya de Yopougou" comic book series, signing books at the French Cultural Center (CCF).
I thought the comic book gods were with me but unfortunately, I was wrong. A Peace Corps bureau thing came up, obviously at the exact same time as the signing, so Charley and I were unable to attend.
Thankfully Elisée was still able to go and was nice enough to get me a signed copy of the newly released "Aya de Yopougon No.6"
picture at right taken from : http://img.over-blog.com/225x300/2/77/77/84/Auteurs/Auteurs-0535-copie-1.JPG
Elisée reports :
Je suis allé à la dédicace de Aya de Yopougon N° 6. qui s'est enfin déroulée à la rotonde du CCF, où sont encore exposés de grandes planches de cette bande dessinée. Clément Oubrerie, le dessinateur, a profité de cette dédicace pour présenter au public le projet d'adaptation de la bande dessinée Aya en dessins animés. Le public est sortie nombreux mais certainement, a cause du prix du livre, il n'y avait que des expatriées et pas de Burkinabè.
Le dessinateur était très sympathique et se prêtait volontier aux questions du public. J'ai un peu discuter avec M. Oubrerie sur son travail et de notre réseau de bibliothèques de village ici au Burkina Faso. Il a trouvé que l'initiative est très intéressante et était content d'apprendre que Aya est très populaire dans nos bibliothèques. Il a ajouté que l'auteur Marguerite Abouet a aussi entrepris un projet de bibliothèques en Cote Ivoire; elle a déjà réalisé une a Yopougon à Abidjan
I went to the book signing of "Aya Yopougon No. 6" that was finally held at the CCF, where they are still running their exposition on comic books. Clément Oubrerie, the illustrator, took advantage of this dedication to announce the adaptation of the Aya comic books into a cartoon movie. Many people were in attendance but, most likely due to the high cost of the book, all were expats and there were no Burkinabes.
The illustrator was very friendly and answered questions from the audience. I had a little chat with Mr. Oubrerie about his work and told him about our network of village libraries here in Burkina Faso. He found the initiative very interesting and was happy to learn that Aya is very popular in our libraries. He added that Marguerite Abouet, the author, has also undertaken a library project in the Ivory Coast; she has already established a library in Yopougon, Abidjan.
The comic book series « Aya de Yopougon » is definitely a favorite in FAVL's libraries and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't one of mine too. After all, whenever I received a new « Aya » book for Pobé's library, I'd be sure I was the first to read it before sending it off.
So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that there was a comic book exposition featuring the « Aya » series and its illustrator, Clément Oubrerie at the French Cultural Center.
Elisée and I went to see the exposition and get the illustrator to sign a copy for us. The exposition was nice and well put-together, but unfortunately, Mr. Oubrerie was nowhere to be found. When we asked the program secretary when he would be there, her response was « No idea, » even though in the program it said he would be there all week.
So, we left discouraged and empty handed.
The comic book gods are with us though; today when I checked the CCF website, the new February schedule was posted up and it says a book signing is scheduled for February 8th.
I will be there, of course, but I know to keep my fingers crossed.
"Les livres de la séries Petite Mains sont crées par des personnes venant de différents pays d'Afrique, du nord, du sud, de l'est, de l'ouest et du centre. Ces livres sont faits pour être lus dans les langues parlées par les enfants d'Afrique - comme l'amharique, l'arabe, l'afrikaans, le cinyanja, l'anglais , le français, le kinyarwanda, le kiswahili, le portugais, le mandingue, le twi, le xhosa... et toute autre langue qui pourrait vous venir à l'esprit !"
Je trouve ces livres - que j'ai parcourus - très adaptés au contexte burkinabè mais surtout africain en général. En effet, les titres comme La gaminerie de Titilope, Devinettes, Bien propre, Salade de fruits, Six petits scarabées etc. serons certainement très appréciés par nos jeunes lecteurs qui y trouverons de quoi se régaler et apprendre.
Nous formulons tous nos remerciements à Viviana et toute son équipe pour ces précieux cadeaux que nous ferons circuler dans toutes les 8 de bibliothèques de villages FAVL au Burkina Faso. Ainsi, les lecteurs pourront découvrir ces minis livres lors de leurs passages dans leur bibliothèque respective.
SARE Bawaya Elisée
I just received a box of books sent from the National Library of France by Viviana Quiñones, also co-creator of IFLA Sister Libraries. The package followed a wonderful poster that was emailed to us in mid December. From the collection "Petites Mains," the set consists of 16 beautiful mini books that are well written with simple text and have beautiful pictures. On the box it says:
"The books in the 'Petites Mains' series are created by people from different countries of Africa: north, south, east, west and center. These books are meant to be read in the languages spoken by the children of Africa - such as Amharic, Arabic, Afrikaans, Cinyanja, English, French, Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Mandingo, Twi, Xhosa ... and any other language that comes to mind!"
I find these books --that I've read --very appropriate to the context of Burkina Faso and especially Africa in general. Indeed, titles including "The Mischievous Titilope," "Riddles," "Nice and Clean, Fruit Salad" and "Six Small Beetles" will certainly be appreciated by our young readers who can find something to enjoy and learn from.
We express our deepest thanks to Viviana and her entire team for these precious gifts that we will circulate in all eight FAVL libraries in Burkina Faso. This way, readers can discover these mini books during their visits in each of their respective libraries.
SARE Bawaya Elisée
What's your assessment of Nigeria's literary scene as regards children's literature?
It is still in a developing stage, but it is not doing badly considering the variety of home-made and interesting story books available in bookshops all over the country; considering also that the storybook writer has to compete with foreign authors whose works flood our bookshops. Last year, at Abuja, I walked into a bookshop to get some storybooks for my children and I had a big problem deciding what books to take. First, I was surprised by the vast array of Nigerian authors in the children's section of the bookshop. In my growing-up years, we had very few storybooks by Nigerian authors. The contemporary Nigerian child has a great variety of very good books by Nigerian authors in particular and African authors in general. I have also come across a couple of children's books written in very bad language. Sometimes, such books find their way into the curriculum of some States. Parents and all stake holders in children's education should never choose children's literature in a hurry or on sentiments. Generally, the literary scene can be described as encouraging.
Nigerian parents seem to prefer foreign reading materials for their children, why?
I guess it is different strokes for different folks. I assume that by foreign reading material, you are referring to books from the UK and the US. When I was growing up I read a lot of foreign books probably because my father didn't have easy access to storybooks by Nigerian authors. Parents who insist on maintaining a foreign literature base for their children often say that they are more colourful and have better paper quality; this is not always true. There is also the general belief that books from the UK and the US are written in flawless English. This is also not always true. What about content in terms of lessons to be learnt? What about relevance to the child's environment? What about relevance to the education curriculum. These should all be considered in the choice of literature for any child. It is not wrong to expose children to a variety of reading materials from any part of the world but parents must choose wisely.
Is children's literature being given the required attention in Nigeria?
I don't think so. Although the planners of education in Nigeria prescribe themes for children's literature to enable it fit into the education curriculum, publishers would only invest on books that have been approved for school curriculum and therefore have a big and ready market. The rising cost of production may also be discouraging many good writers from venturing into children's literature. Something has to be done about the rising cost of paper, non-toxic ink, and other vital printing materials. Other wise, the price of books will continue to rise and authors and publishers will continue to scramble for government approval as the only way to reach a greater number of the target audience. Meanwhile, parents should regularly visit bookshops for supplementary literature to enhance the development of good reading habits in their children.
Why do you prefer writing children's literature?
Hmm! This is one question I have had to answer at virtually every social event at which someone identifies me as the author of The golden pack, or Nwamba, or any of my storybooks that he or she has read. My answer remains the same. I prefer writing for children because it helps me relax. There is peace and relaxation in the world of children. Writing for children is also a very good and pleasant way through which I contribute to the social development of the Nigerian child. This is in addition to carrying out my responsibility as a classroom teacher which I also enjoy very much. Through my stories, I reach out to children who may not have access to me as a teacher, a mother, or a friend.
Seems unlikely that I will find this book someplace in the U.S., let alone Ouagadougou... but maybe a French colleague (Amy, are you reading the blog) will find it in France and send us some copies! Blurb from Takam Tikou:
On renoue avec la très belle écriture de Véronique Tadjo dans ce texte remarquable qui parlera à tout âge. Il était paru en France avec d'autres illustrations, celles de Bertrand Dubois (Actes Sud, 2007) ; mais Véronique Tajdo reste fidèle à son éditeur ivoirien et voici Ayanda, publié par les NEI, en format souple, à l'italienne. Les illustrations de Kyoko Dufaux sont faites de peintures sur tissu, dont on voit bien la trame, aux aplats de couleurs acidulées et aux cadrages originaux ; elles sont touchantes dans leur simplicité enfantine.
Ayanda est une petite fille heureuse, jusqu'au jour où son père, qui a été enrôlé comme soldat, disparaît. En révolte contre le monde cruel des adultes, elle décide de rester petite. Elle recommencera à grandir pour aider sa famille frappée par la maladie et deviendra géante pour chasser les bandits qui terrorisent le village. Enfin, victorieuse et apaisée, elle retrouvera une taille normale et reprendra le fil de sa vie.