Nigerian Author Chimamanda Adichie Says Children’s Books Fail to Tell African Realities

Writing for Africa. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Chimamanda Adichie is vocal about many things and African literature ranks highly on that list.

The Nigerian author, in a video by The Atlantic, says without enough local alternatives, African children have to read books that don’t portray realities they can identify with.

The daughter of a university professor, Adichie grew up “surrounded by books” in the Nsukka campus of the University of Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s oldest colleges and early on, she noticed a startling problem: “The children’s books that I read, and I think this is true for many other young children in countries that were formerly colonized, didn’t reflect my reality.”

Based on British and American books she’d read, Adichie says she had to develop a “parallel imaginary life.” To help other African kids escape having to imagine alternate lives, Adichie wants more Africans writing books for children. “For complex reasons that have to do with power and resources, there just are not many children’s books that are about African realities as there are about American and western realities. And many African realities are still being told by other people,” she says. “I want African realities to be explored by Africans.”

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SOURCE: Quartz – Yomi Kazeem

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