” When children are exposed to books they start to read better. the number of books in the home is a more significant predictor of a child’s reading attainment than the socio-economic status of the family” (Evans et al, 2010).
There is however, a glaring lack of local content in the children’s literature category, especially books aimed at building reading skills. Children need to see themselves reflected in the literature they read.
Hence the Kaduna Bookathon was born. It is a project that is aimed at grooming authors and writers for children literature. The workshop is designed to train writers on producing culturally relevant reading materials for children to intervene in the literacy development in Kaduna state and the country at large.
The curriculum for the Kaduna Bookathon is built around creative writing for creative writers, teachers, artists, graphic designers, and other teachings around writing children literature, covering different forms of children literary writing especially as it relates to literacy development.
The project is being spearheaded by a team of seasoned early childhood development educators is being supported by the African Writers Development Trust, Writers Space Africa+Nigeria, Yasmin Elrufai Foundation and Sheroes Rising for Development Initiative.
The founder of the first of its kind Kaduna Bookathon project Namse Peter Udosen, a children’s literary author disclosed that he borrowed the model from a project called ‘Flipleaves’ which he was a part of in Lagos state, and developed the idea of an online version during the first covid19 lockdown.
“It began when I was invited by flipleaves to be part of their bookathon in Lagos. I edited was a volunteer editor. It led me to research more about using the bookathon model for making picture books for free children. This led me to bookdash in South Africa, they were the first to use this model about 8 years ago”.
The objectives of the Kaduna Bookathon Project are to promote collaboration among various creatives for local content based educational resources development, improve the creativity in the production of books and educational resources for children in Kaduna, get individuals and corporate organizations contribute to literacy development in Nigeria and to produce quality reading materials with local content for pupils in Kaduna state.
At the end of the workshop, it is hoped that participants would contribute materials under a creative common agreement to produce books and learning materials with rich local content that would help improve literacy development in Kaduna state.