The current winner of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize in Children’s literature, Adeleke Adeyemi has lamented the dearth of reading culture among children.
The award winner, whose children’s book, ‘The Missing Clock’ recently won the $100,000 award called on parents and adults to encourage children to embrace the culture of reading.
The author, whose pen name is Mai Nasara, was speaking at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, during the award ceremony, where he called on government to urgently rebuild public libraries in communities in order to make books readily available for Nigerian children.
Mai Nasara said, “If I learnt nothing else from this experience, I have learned that hope drives us towards success even beyond our imagination. I dared hope to make the short list; I won the prize. Today, I dare to hope again. This time it is my hope that by the end of this event and long afterwards, the one thing that would mostly be on our minds and lips, would be libraries. Yes, libraries.
“From my father, and others like Benjamin Franklin, whom I encountered in art and science, I learned that good parents, leaders and role models take special pride in knowledge and do everything to contribute to the education of the young. Unfortunately, Nigerian children today feed their minds on “sound and fury, signifying nothing” as William Shakespeare wrote. But it is not entirely their fault. For some reason, those of us who grew up reading good books and learning from stories in them seem to have conspired to deny the young generation the benefit of that knowledge and more.”