With new books, Mokwunye tells African stories, mirrors childhood pains
Fulfilling her childhood dream of writing a book, Esosa Mokwunye has published two children books, Aunty Nene’s Short Story and The Princess With Scars.
The event planner-cum author said her love for African values and the need to help children, who are facing challengesof life, propeled her to write the two books.
Aunty Nene… is a book that is replete with moral lessons. Mokwunye uses African names as characters to tell the stories.
According to her, “a lot of us like to buy foreign goods, which is good, but I think it is time we valued what we have. I have to give the book colourful pictures that teach moral lessons.”
On the book’s inspiration, Mokwunye said, “I’ve always loved writing. In fact, at age eight, I was already inspired to write. So, in May 2019, I was at a programme and while I was there, the thought of doing what I loved came to my mind. I went back home that night, and I started writing.”
She said, “I started writing for children, because I felt there was a need for Africans to tell good stories to kids with that African feel.”
She added, “I saw a lot of children reading foreign books, so, I felt the need to help children who were growing foreignised to have short stories talking about things they could relate with.”
The purpose of this book is to teach morals.
On why the book is filled with pictures, Mokwunye said, “children love pictures and it well help them to learn with fun.
“In Aunty Nene… Tayo learns to try, Aisha learns to think about others, Jite and Ovie learn that it can hurt to lie, Ute learns to share while Kachi and Kene make a new friend in their new world. Theirs is a world as perfect as it can get, and it doesn’t hurt that they teach us lessons as they go along.”
Speaking on Princess With Scar, she said, “it is about a girl called Imade. Imade is a nine years old girl who had an accident two years earlier and she had a scar on the left side of her cheek, but the scar didn’t end there, it became an internal wound; it affected the way she perceived herself and the way others also saw her.”
According to her, “it is not too young to talk to these children from primary school, because before realising, they go to secondary school with punctured mindsets, but when you start talking to them, we can help their self-image.
“Before I write a book, I ponder deeply on it, I think of what exactly could be affecting children at early stage and how we could use stories to solve them.
Children also experience depression, and as they grow older, it also grows with them. So, parents can make this book a reference book for their children, telling them, ‘Can you remember Imade’s story? A Princess with a big scar?”
On Nigerians reading culture, she said, “in my own opinion, we don’t read here. If you give a typical Nigerian something to read, even the ones that require them to sign at the end of it, they just glance and sign off.
“Our reading culture is poor; there should be book clubs, we should develop the habit of bringing out children, at least, one hour daily to read.”