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In Moona, Duke sisters interrogate nature’s love for Nigeria

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Georgina and Ella Duke with the book


For the Moon so loved Nigeria that it came down to eat suya and play with the people. This is the story of a new bedtime story book, Moona, written by Georgina Duke, and illustrated by Ella Duke.

The colourful 41-page book, which will be launched tomorrow, is one of the children books Georgina has written in the last couple of years. Moona tells the moon’s story. It looks at moon feeling lonely and Nigeria suddenly becomes its favourite place to visit. The moon comes down to the earth for one more time after numerous failed attempts.

Georgina said, “beyond this book, I’m a Nigerian too, our dad is from Calabar, Cross Rivers State and he’s brother to the former governor of the state, Donald Duke. We were born and raised in France and came back to Nigeria in 2001.”

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She said, “every beautiful story is always about America. The moon either lands in Los Angeles or New York and I thought why not land in Lagos? So, I came up with it.

“For two years, I wanted to release the book, but the biggest challenge was printing. Till today, I’m still battling with it.” Speaking on how she came about the moon and suya, Georgina said, “when I smell suya, I’m forced to turn around and check where it’s coming from because it smells good. I wanted to have something that is inclusive for all Nigerians and something they can relate to.”
  
On her brand name, ‘Happy Pikin’, and whether people have problem with the word, ‘pikin’, she said, “this is not the first time I’m asked the question. The first time I showed my brand to people living in Ikoyi, they told me that they wouldn’t want to buy a book that has ‘pikin’, which is Pidgin English. It’s because of people like that I want to have the word as a brand, because for me, I want inclusive Nigeria.”
  
Speaking on the illustration, Art Director, Happy Pikin, Ella, said, “we adopted colours that Nigerians could identify with. I wanted to capture the power of the universe in her hands when the moon comes to earth in the form of a human being. I actually got to know the part of my sister I never knew, when I read the book.”

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