AN Augustine Heights mother of two hopes to encourage young people to explore ways of life different from their own with a fun, new children’s book.
First-time author Chi Kalu was inspired to write Africa Day by events at a cultural festival.
It tells the story of a young boy named Emeka and his mother, as they explore African culture – including food, fashion and music – at a festival.
“It’s an original story. It’s my story, it’s something that actually happened,” Ms Kalu said.
“I took my two boys, who are 13 and 11 now, to the Africa Day Festival in Brisbane a couple of years ago and they were really taken by it.
“It kind of touched me in regards to not just their excitement but I guess our responsibility as individuals or parents or even a community to expose children to different things, different people, different ways of living.
“From the questions they asked I could see that they learnt a lot from the day.
“By extension, my thought was that I want them to learn not just about Africa but about their friends and I would like their friends to learn about them.”
Ms Kalu said she hoped the book would be a gateway for parents to encourage their children to be curious and learn more about the world.
“The idea is for young children of any background to discover things, in this case about Africa, but it’s not just about Africa really, it could be St Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, Diwali Festival – just having that interest and exploring different things and enjoying them,” she said.
“I think it’s important because it really helps us to understand people, not just their names, but also what they like, the kind of meals they eat, the kind of clothes they like to wear – that all defines culture.”
Ms Kalu said Africa Day offered an authentic look at various aspects of African culture through words and illustrations.
“I want children who read the book to learn new words, new things and hopefully they ask questions to learn more about these things,” she said.
Ms Kalu works as a family lawyer and has extensive experience with domestic violence, family law and child protection issues.
She said her career as well as a lifelong relationship with reading meant she was a strong advocate for improving children’s literacy.
“If you have a habit of reading you become self motivated, at some point you get hooked on it and you just read anything and everything,” she said.
“Reading also helps you to learn how to communicate better, write better and it helps you think better because you are exposed to the world and a variety of knowledge.”
Africa Day will be officially launched with a community celebration at Redbank Plains Community Centre on 7 September from 1pm to 5pm with drumming, crafts, music, colouring-in and other activities on offer.
Registration to attend the launch is not necessary but would be appreciated for catering purposes. Email: [email protected]
More information about the book, including how to buy a copy, is available here.