Ayò Oyeku recommends …

This week, Nigerian writer and publisher Ayò Oyeku shines a spotlight on his favourite African children’s writers

Lori-Ann Preston’s years of experience as a child educator gushes through her works. She is one of my favourites. She has authored four children’s books and a novel. All the way from South Africa, her creative prowess sits on my shelves for reading and reference. Follow Lori-Ann Preston on Facebook here.

Poor Thabo is horrified when his so-called ‘loving’ parents inform him that his family is moving to Mars! Could his life get any worse? This book contains futuristic and science fiction elements.

Here in Nigeria, highly dedicated children’s writers are lending their time and skills to the genre.

Jude Idada’s creative juice flows in the areas of screenplay, drama, acting and children’s literature. He has won multiple awards, including the Nigerian Prize for Literature for his children’s novel Boom Boom about a family living with sickle cell disease. Find him on Instagram @judeidada.

Sope Martins’ creative excellence is much like new braids on the head – expanding children’s imagination and self-worth with her book. Follow Afuwe on his exciting adventure as he discovers what true greatness is about. Find Sope Martins on Twitter @SopeMartins.

In The Greatest Animal in the Jungle Martins tells the story of Afuwe. On his birthday, his godfather, Tortoise, gives him a gift that grants him five wishes. Afuwe’s ultimate wish is to become the greatest animal in the jungle instead of the mouse that he is.

Yejide Kilanko is prolific and excellent – solving societal problems with children’s books. Read more about her work here and find her on Instagram @yejidekilanko.

In Daughters who walk this path Morayo is drawn into a web of oppressive silence woven by the adults around her. Morayo must learn to fiercely protect herself and her sister as young women growing up in a complex and politically charged country.

Ugo Anidi writes both fiction and non-fiction for children. In her picture book, Half Hour Hara and the Case of the Broken Eggs, she takes us into the world of a witty and feisty character that truly resonates with children. This book will be out in mid-2021. Check out Anidi’s book reviews here.

Everyone knows Hachi is a trouble magnet. If something breaks or disappears, Hachi is close by. So when Hachi discovers that someone has smashed the eggs and stolen the bananas for making mummy’s birthday cake, she must race against time to find the troublemaker before mummy gets home at 5 pm or she would get into trouble! Again!

Temiloluwa Adeshina has published over seven children’s book, and each stands out. Many of her books are used in the Lagos State curriculum and include: Farmer Bami Series, Happy Jappy Series, Mini Mani Mo, Dark Arises. Find her on Instagram @readlandng.

Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi is a children’s book publisher at Clever Clogs Books, author, and founder of the biggest children’s book festival in Nigeria, the Akada Children’s Book Festval. You can catch up with last year’s festival here.

Modupe Adeyemo Oyetade is a medical doctor, mother and lover of books. Quietly, she lends her voice into African children’s literature with over 15 titles. Her narrative approach often settles between folktales and everyday experience within a typical Nigerian neighbourhood. She also makes efforts in translating her books into indigenous Nigerian languages. You can find her on Instagram @drmodupe_author.

Alabi Onajin in the coming years will be a household name. He is a gifted illustrator who has worked on some notable projects. The comic book, Anike Eleko was written and illustrated by him and Sandra Joubeaud. This beautifully illustrated book focuses on educating the girl child. I look forward to it being translated into multiple languages. Find him on twitter @Alabaonajin.

Miles away in the UK, Louisa and Oladele Olafuyi, through Kunda Kids, are publishing exquisite picture books that are inspired by African legends and history.

The list keeps growing, more writers are emerging and helping to tell our stories properly. Maybe we are close to the booming period. Hopefully, we are.

***

Find out more about Ayò Oyeku in our WorldKidLit interview here.

Follow him on Twitter @ayo_oyeku