The maiden edition of the Akada Children’s Book Festival held on Saturday, April 27th, 2019 at the British Council, Ikoyi, Lagos. This hugely successful event is an initiative of the publisher of Clever Clogs Books, Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi. According to Talabi, the event is designed to showcase children’s books written by African authors or books written by authors from around the world for children of color.
The festival featured activities such as workshops for writers and illustrators, authors’ showcase, interactive and engaging workshops for children, soft skill masterclasses for teachers and parents and a whole lot more. The event kicked off with the Publisher of The Guardian Nigeria, Lady Maiden Ibru accompanied by Convener of the Akada Children’s Book Festival, officially declaring the festival open. With loads of exhibitions and activities happening simultaneously on at the venue, the workshops for children kicked off likewise. Queen’s Young Leader awardee and MTV Europe Generation Change award winner, Hauwa Ojeifo and Pilot and Entrepreneur, Powede Awujo both spoke to the children at different sessions on a career workshop tagged When I Grow Up. Finance Expert and serial entrepreneur, Dr. Seun Akinbohun shared practical money tips with the children at a workshop themed Good with Money.
The parents, teachers and guardians were not left out as Founder of LagosMums, Yetty Williams and Programmes Manager, Schools, Education and Society at the British Council, Lynda Ashaolu both spoke respectively at child protection workshops on the topic, Being Your Child’s Superhero. Children’s Book author and co-pastor of Fountain of Life Church, Nomthi Odukoya read her book at the pop-up library and spoke at a children’s workshop on the topic You May, But I Will Not, focusing on dealing with peer pressure.
A major highlight of the festival was the Pop-Up Library manned by bookstore, Reading Corner Nigeria. There were a series of book reading sessions hosted by authors and young readers including one by the special guests of the day, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru and the Chairman of Punch Nigeria, Angela Emuwa. Children’s book authors, Tonye Faloughi-Ekezie, Olayemi Ejemai, Basirat Rasaq-Shuaib among others also read their books and showcased their works at the exhibitors’ lounge. 11-year avid reader and book reviewer, Tamara Ebitonmor also read a book at the Pop-Up Library, to the delight of the children.
There were also professional workshops for book writers, aspiring writers and illustrators. Children’s book author and convener of the ACBF, Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi spoke to writers and aspiring writers on the topic Writing Engaging Children’s Books. Founder of OloriSupergal, Tosin Ajibade; CEO of the Omilola Oshikoya International Company, Omilola Oshikoya; award winning design artist and illustrator, Michael Okoroagha and Ebuka also spoke at various relevant professional workshops for writers and illustrators respectively.
Family Life Therapist, Praise Fowowe and Medical Director of Pinnacle Medical Services, popularly known as the Celebrity shrink, Dr. Maymunah Kadiri both spoke on different sessions of popular parents’ workshop Reading The Signs, Hearing What They Don’t Say
Former Big Brother Naija housemate and media personality, Alex “Unusual” Asogwa spoke at the children’s workshop on the topic Stop That Bully. While the different workshops were ongoing, experiential fitness sessions tagged Fitter, Stronger, Faster sessions with Fitness Coaches Maje Ayida and Coach Ojoi were held for kids. The Akada Children’s Book Festival had over a thousand people in attendance with several activities happening at different locations. The event trended all day on social media recording over 70Million impressions and reaching over 5 million unique users on the day of the event. The ACBF which ran from 8am till 5pm, was held in partnership with the British Council, sponsored by Providus Bank and supported by BellaNaija, Cool FM, WFM, Punch Nigeria, WOW Connect, LagosMums, Paelon Memorial, and The Event Nanny
Photo credit: Seyi Bello Photography