Nigeria’s foremost literary event for young readers, the Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), was held on Saturday at Starfield Montessori School in Lekki, Lagos.
The first and largest Nigerian book festival, explicitly curated for children, featured a diverse line-up of authors and illustrators who introduced a range of incredible indigenous-centred stories to the budding minds in attendance.
The festival, a showcase of children’s books written by African authors or books from around the world registered for a diverse audience, provided an unmatched platform for children to see themselves reflected in the books they read.
It celebrated African culture and heritage and promoted literacy and cultural awareness among children.
The 2023 ACBF was themed “Through the Pages” and featured diverse activities for children of all ages. These include author-led book readings, chats, featured books, storytime sessions, and book exhibitions that allow children to meet their favourite authors and learn about new books.
Others were writing & illustration competitions, a chess tournament, a STEM exhibition, a sip and paint, and an art exhibition that allowed children to express their creativity and have fun and insightful sessions for parents and teachers offered guidance on supporting children’s literacy development.
At the same time, the professional workshops for writers, illustrators, and publishers provided a platform for adults to learn and grow in their careers.
“We are thrilled to have welcomed families, schools and reading groups from across the state and other parts of the country to the fifth edition of the Akada Children’s Book Festival,” said renowned author and convener of the ACBF, Olubunmi Aboderin-Talabi.
She also noted that she hopes the festival has inspired children to read more, learn about different cultures, and explore the world of books.
”Children are the future and need access to books that reflect their experiences and cultures. The ACBF is committed to providing a platform for African authors and illustrators to share their stories with the world, and we are hopeful that the festival will inspire a new generation of readers and writers,” she added.
Other activities included a Young Author’s Panel, which showcased emerging creative talents and their debut publications, such as Oluwasemilore Lanre-Raheem, author of Miss Cleany Shoes and Kosisochukwu Ugboh, author of Left Alone.
The Society for the Performing Arts Nigeria (SPAN) performed drama presentations of popular children’s books – Mummy, Can I…? and Kob the Antelope.
Noma Sodipo, author of A Pre-School Alphabet Book, led a creative writing masterclass for Children’s Authors; and Lola Udabor, personal wellbeing coach, moderated a girls-only panel on navigating puberty with Omobola Olaribigbe, author and social impact advocate, and Omolayo Ogundele-Oyawoye, author and child behaviour therapist, as panellists.
The event was an unforgettable day of imagination and discovery. It brought book lovers’ havens to life by celebrating the power of stories in connecting and inspiring people of all ages.
The festival was duly supported by IweMi, Starfield Montessori School, PepsiCo, Cool FM, Leadway Assurance, STEM-METS, The Learning Place, Hot Hobs, Cafe Jade, Zolene, Parkview International Kindergarten School, SPAN, and the Nurturing Tree Nursery School.
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