THURROCK Schoolgirl Keona Maduforo combined her love of storytelling and illustration to co-write with her mother a book about her first-hand experience of a Nigerian wedding and an eye-opening slice of African culture.
We join the excited London girl as she prepares for a trip of a lifetime to discover the wonders of beautiful African homeland. Along the way we learn about her cultural heritage, Igbo customs and language.
Finally we share in the joy, celebration and complexities of a traditional Nigerian wedding and pick up a few Igbo words along the way. Keona’s evocative imagery and imaginative poetic narrative bring this must story to life.
Miss McLaren, Assistant Achievement Director, Harris Academy Chafford Hundred said: “What a great way to encourage Keona to celebrate her heritage and give an insight into an important cultural occasion. It’s always great to know more about the exciting projects our students complete outside of school. Thank you for sharing as I now have a new book to recommend.”
Keona decided to write the book after she noticed a huge lack of stories about African culture in the books that at her school and local library.
She says: “It was my Uncle’s wedding in Nigeria, and he’s very special to us all. I thought it would be good to share this special moment with other children around my age so they can learn a bit more about African culture.”
Mother and co-author Uju Maduforo said: “I’d always been very passionate about the importance of passing on our culture and language to our children as well as sharing with others as a way of increasing diversity. It was wonderful seeing my culture through her eyes and bringing it to life in this book.”
On her illustrations, Keona said: “Doing the illustrations gave me a chance to practise drawing which is something I enjoy. I have continued to practise, and have grown in confidence and ability.
She continues: “My drawings are even much better now (everyone keeps telling me), and I’ve started doing commissions where people pay me to draw their portraits.”
The book is receiving fantastic accolades on Amazon. Florence a recent purchaser said: “I give the book 5 stars because it helps both children and adults the opportunity to participate in a West African wedding and to gain knowledge and understanding of what they’re like. KC narrates the story brilliantly, expressing the right emotions and feelings in each situation. This makes the book an engaging read.”
Adding to this, Uju says: “The book has been received positively, with educators and parents alike telling me how their children enjoyed learning either about their own or new cultures. It’s a quick and appealing read, and one that supports the view that culture and representation matters.”