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Festival celebrates children authors, illustrators

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
07 February 2021   |   2:37 am
In honour of the Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (celebrated first week of February every year), the Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF) has put a spotlight on authors and illustrators..

Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi

In honour of the Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (celebrated first week of February every year), the Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF) has put a spotlight on authors and illustrators who are doing work in the Nigerian children’s literacy scene. These people represent the over 40 authors and illustrators, who have featured at the book festival.

The inaugural book event held on April 27, 2019 at the British Council in Ikoyi, Lagos and attracted over 1400 attendees.

“The Children’s Authors and Illustrators’ Week is celebrated globally not only to recognise children’s authors and illustrators, but to inspire a lifelong love of reading, writing and art. This aligns with the values of the Akada Children’s Book Festival,” said convener of the ACBF, Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi. “It is important to put the spotlight on these authors and illustrators to remind them that they are appreciated for the amazing work they’re doing, ensuring that Nigerian children can enjoy quality books with characters that look and live just like them.”

The authors and illustrators include:
Ugochi Obidiegwu: Author, The Adventures Of Muna
Ugochi Obidiegwu is a social development strategist passionate about ensuring child safety and reducing substance abuse in youths. She resolves development issues that affect African children and youths through the creation of products, programmes and policy advisories. She is the author of children’s book, The Adventures of Muna, an illustrated child safety book series which she self-published on Amazon.

Ayo Oyeku: Author, Mafoya And The Finish Line
The World Bank selected for distribution across schools and libraries in the country, award-winning writer, Ayo Oyeku’s first book, First among Equals. In 2015, his young-adult novel, Tears of the Lonely, won the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Fiction, by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers as one of the multiple winners of the Golden Baobab Prize.

Modupe Adeyemo Oyetade: Author, The Lion And The Duck
Oyetade is a dental surgeon and children’s book author. She is the author of The Lion and The Duck series from which she hosted a book reading session at the 2020 edition of the Akada Children’s Book Festival. Books in this series include, The Lion and the Duck, The Foolish Lion, The Singing Lion and The Wise Duck. She is also the author of another series called the Ivana series: Ivana and Friends, Ivana catches a Cold, Ivana Begins Again and Ivana saves Christmas.

Aduke Gomez: Author, The Adventures of Lara and Dara
Aduke’s recent book, The Adventures of Lara and Dara: Lost and Found in Lagos was a collaborative work done with Biola Alabi. It is this same masterpiece that Aduke narrated for young readers at the 2020 Akada Children’s Book Festival.
Chigozie Anuli Mbadugha: Author, Whose Favourite Am I?

One of the interesting things to know about Chigozie is that she is an ophthalmologist. She wrote her first novel at the age of six although it wasn’t published. In 1983, her poem The New Yam Festival won second prize in a nationwide poetry competition. In 1987, she won the silver prize at the Kanagawa World Biennial Children’s Art Competition in Japan, Asia. Her debut collection, Beyond the Trial, won the Samuel Ajayi Crowther prize in 2017.

Irene Omiunu is a Nigerian born fashion artist/ illustrator based in the UK. Her earliest influences were stories by Enid Blyton, animated Disney movies and Nigerian classics such as the popular Macmillan Ali and Simbi series. She is a firm believer in the power of pictures to illuminate the minds of children and spark a love of reading early on in life.

Michael Okoroagha is a self-taught artist, illustrator, character designer and concept artist for animation and video games. His professional career as an illustrator started at Sporedust Media. Today, he creates beautiful designs for clients and has done thousands of illustrations for animations, mobile games, advertising agencies, books and more, including bestselling book, Tobi Visits the Conservatory by Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi.

Olusayo Ajetunmobi is an autodidactic fine artist and visual storyteller. She is enamoured with folklore and making art for children. Her visual art practice focuses on self-discovery, as it pertains to exploring, destigmatizing and decolonizing African stories, history and culture. She has illustrated over a dozen published African children’s stories by various authors and is set to debut as an author/illustrator with Farafina Tuuti. Her work creates a paradigm shift in the way Africans and women navigate reality. She is known by her artistic handle, artofajet.

Francis Adeshina confessed to having illustrated many children’s books using Microsoft Word. He also showed children how to create fun characters using food items. He is an inventive illustrator whose drawings have brought to life over 15 children’s books including Bantu, The Big Fat Bully; SuperBrain Boy; Kolo Banks; Happy Happy and The Wisdom Gourd; Everyday Is A Happy Day; Bantu and the Bush Baby,  Mama Safety: Go, Go Germ Go! and more.

Sunday Lawani is a Professional artist and painter, Sunday Lawani hails from Akoko Local Government Area, Edo State. A graduate of Auchi Polytechnic, Lawani specialized in painting while in school. He also holds a post-graduate diploma in painting from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.