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Tamara Ebitonmor: Avid reader, writer, aspiring scientist

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Tamara Ebitonmor is an 11-year-old, grade 8 student of Chrisland High School Lekki, Lagos. She is an avid reader, an aspiring scientist, a young writer and a STEM girl.

She inspires children around the world to love books and promote the reading culture via her Instagram page @kidsbooksreviewing, managed by her mum. Here, her book reviews videos and that of her sisters: Ebinemi (eight years) and Tonye (six years), as well as those of some other children within Nigeria and from other parts of the world are shared.

Her love for books can be traced to her early years, when she cultivated the habit of reading. Her mum read books to her periodically from the books bought when she was three years old. But she started reading at the age of four.

In 2013, her mother paid for monthly subscription of the Meegenius App (an online library with age and content appropriate books of different subjects), which gave her access to a lot of books. By 2016, she discontinued the subscription, but the books she read within the three-year period were over 150.

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Their mother also had a tradition of taking Tamara and her two siblings to the bookshop monthly to buy books. The intention was to make them embrace this lifestyle. But then, it became more frequent and presently, they buy books every other day, even whilst grocery shopping or going to the cinema or game arcades, among others.

Currently, there are over 200 books in their library at home and still counting. And they have read all of them, as these books are not just decorating the shelves. They are registered members of a library in Lekki, and every other weekend, they stop by to read, borrow and sometimes buy books.

Last year, her mum made another monthly subscription on their iPad called “EPIC.” It is an online library with age and content appropriate of different subjects. The number of books they have read via this online Library alone, within a year is 107, 64 and 30 for Tamara, Ebinemi and Tonye respectively.

In August 2018, Tamara and Ebinemi participated in the 30-day books challenge, organised by the British Council Lagos, Young Readers Library and Bookworm Cafe, where they both read 30 books in 30 days. Tamara was pronounced the best and was presented the journal award by the British Council.

Her mum usually posts some of their book review videos on her Instagram page, but in February 2019, Mrs. Juliet Obi, Executive Director of KidpreneurAfrica reached out to her mum and persuaded her to open an Instagram account, where all Tamara and her sisters’ book review videos can be posted to inspire more parents and children to love books and promote the reading culture, since her mum’s Instagram page is private. And that gave birth to Kids Books Review Nigeria.

In April 2019, Tamara and her sisters again participated in the Akada Children’s Book Festival as book reviewers. They attended workshops/book reading sessions and bought books. She read/reviewed “Kob the Antelope,” by Olubunmi Aboderin to other children and BBC did a documentary on her tagged, the 11-old- girl, who has read over 400 books. The programme also captured her Akada Children’s Book Festival experience.

Overall, she has read well over 400 books, and her sisters over 300 and over 150 books respectively. They have received awards on creative writing and are library ambassadors. In May 2019, Channels Television aired a documentary on her.

People usually ask if they play, watch movies, Netflix, games, ride bicycles and get good grades. Her response is: “Yes, we do all these, but in moderation though, and we also love tennis and swimming.” 

“Reading books has also positively impacted our grades, as we all maintain an overall average score of 90 percent to 95 percent range. Children actually love reading. All it takes is getting to find and accept the topics/books they are interested in and then take it up from there,” she said.

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