Must-read Nigerian children’s books for 10 years and below

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Some Nigerian parents start reading Nigerian children’s books to their babies before they are born. Felicia, a mum of 2, admits she started reading to her baby bump from the day she found out she was expecting. Her daughter is three years old now and Felicia still reads to her before bedtime.

“It allows us to create a deep bond,” Felicia says. “Also, my daughter can read some of her books at just three years old because I have been reading to her for a long time.”

Nigerian children's books

Nigerian children’s books – Afro: The Girl with the Magical Hair. Image source: Farafina Books

Why you should encourage your children to read Nigerian children’s books?

There are lots of Nigerian children’s books for your kids. Encouraging your children to develop a reading habit will help them in the long run.

According to this research by Australia’s Department for Education and Early Childhood Development, children who had parents read to them from a very young age had the following attributes:

1. Reading to young children positively affects their reading and cognitive skills

2. Children whose parents read to them from a young age perform better in exams

3. Reading to young children allows them to develop intellectually faster than their peers who don’t have the same reading background

Nigerian children's books

Nigerian children’s books: Mayowa and the Masquerades. Image source: Goodreads

What kind of Nigerian Children’s books will your kids like?

Children under the age of 10 will obviously not like the books adults like. If you were wondering the kind of books to buy for your children, Rita Meade conducted a personal research and found that these subjects and genres are favourites among kids:

• Comic books

• Picture storybooks

• Fantasy stories

• Books with moral lessons

Nigerian children’s books your kids will love

1. Anike Eleko by Alaba Onajin and Sandra Joubeaud

Anike is a little girl who hawks food every morning before she goes to school. She dreams of becoming a doctor but her family can’t afford to educate her. Her mother has decided that Anike will become a tailor once she is done with primary school.

Someone visits Anike’s school one day and offers her a chance to get a scholarship and fulfill her dreams of becoming a doctor. How hard will Anike prepare to take up this offer of a lifetime?

2. Afro – The Girl with the Magical Hair by Okechukwu Ofili

This book is set in a land where a very evil Queen makes everyone wear weaves. Natural hair is forbidden in this land. A girl named Afro continues to wear her natural hair, which has magical powers. The Queen kidnaps Afro because of her magical natural hair, and now Afro must save herself and everyone else.

3. Mayowa and the Masquerades by Lola Shoneyin

Mayowa is reluctant about visiting his grandmother in Ibadan. Fortunately for him, it is masquerade season in his grandma’s hometown. His grandma introduces him to a new friend, Denuyi, and together they explore the great outdoors and have many adventures together.

4. There is an elephant in my wardrobe by Yejide Kilanko

Adun is excited to get a new friend, an elephant! Her elephant friend has big ears and listens to everything she says. But their friendship turns sour when the elephant gets into Adun’s wardrobe and eats her clothes. How will she get her Elephant friend to live her clothes alone?

5. Malaika’s Magical Kiosk by Shaleen Kashavjee-Gulam

Malaika brings her magical kiosk to a village when everything is so bad and there is not enough food for everyone. Wanjiku and Michelle, two sisters from the village, begin to notice that everyone was happy when they bought from Malaika’s kiosk. But how long will Malaika’s happiness serve everyone?

These are some of the best Nigerian Children’s books for your kids’ bookshelf. You can buy them and set your children on the path to readership and leadership.

Resources: State Government of Victoria Department of Education and early Childhood Development 

Book Riot

BBC.com

Also Read: Nigerian Worship Songs: Songs to teach your kids

Written by

Julie Adeboye