Since 2015, EduSpots has distributed over 90,000 books to community libraries and schools in Ghana. As part of its global partnership projects between Ghanaian and UK pupils, the organization endeavoured to publish a book for early year readers that focused on enabling beginners see themselves and their communities in print, thereby capturing the interest of beginner readers and allowing them to relate more with the texts they read whilst enabling students in the global context to be part of a response to the issue of western dominated literacy resources.
The stories, which will form a series, are set in EduSpots’ communities, including Tease, Abofour, Akumadan, and Kalpohin, Sakasaka, among others. The first book in set in Tease, in the remote Afram Plains area of the Eastern Region. We believe it is the first storybook that represents the Tease community.
To create the stories, the EduLit service group in Sevenoaks School asked pupils in Ghana about their everyday life, school and culture. Their responses then informed simple stories capturing some of the information they provided in a fun and engaging plot alongside drawings, working with the Tease librarian and EduSpots’ Ghanaian Head of Literacy in the process. Popular Ghanaian illustrator, Fleance Forkuo, then illustrated the first series of the book after which they were printed.
Kwame’s Adventures is set at Tease where Kwame the bird, the protagonist travelling to communities and interacting with animal and human characters, helps a child to find his missing Science book. Thanks to the support of the Fonthill Foundation and student fundraising at Sevenoaks School, 1,000 copies of the book have been printed for delivery to all EduSpots communities, with options for schools and parents to buy them for their wards.
This publication follows after early-year literacy development training in five communities covering six topics. The books are part of literacy resources that will enable communities to teach pupils how to read and guide them to read books that reflect their environment and culture, a practice found to speed up the acquisition of reading skills. EduSpots have so far raised funds to print limited copies for 12 communities, and we hope to extend this to the rest of our 42 partner communities.
Copies of the book can be purchased at Accra or Techiman in Ghana or Sevenoaks School in the UK. You can also buy the book online here at the Book Nook, our partner Ghanaian publisher, and have it delivered to you anywhere in the world. All proceeds from the books will go directly into expanding our literacy programme and printing free copies to reach more pupils in EduSpots partner communities. You can also donate to support further copies of this book, and others, being printed here.
Speaking about the book, some volunteers, pupils, and project leaders have these to say:
One of the first children to read the book commented that “I love the book because it talks about my community and this is the first time I am reading a storybook that mentions my community’s name.”
Richmond, a local teacher observed that: “ When the pupils were told that the story was staged at Tease, their own community, the excitement and readiness of the pupils to read Kwame‘s adventures was amazing! Teachers too were eager to read and were surprised and happy to see Miss Alice feature in the story”.
“I like that the book is colourful and attractive to young readers, and the use of both human and animal characters gets pupils imagining. The readers here will be highly engaged and excited to read.” – Volunteer at Akumadan
“If we want to encourage pupils to read then we need to give them books that mirror their world and capture their interest, this is what the book does and I believe more of such initiatives need spreading.” –(Project Leader, Kalpohin Spot)
“Speaking from personal experience, being Asian, I had never seen representation of my race in the media, let alone in the film industry, other than your ‘token Asian’ characters. That is until a film called “Crazy Rich Asians” was released in 2018, presenting an all-Asian cast with deep and complex characters. This film touched me deeply and automatically became one of my favourites, simply due to the way that I was able to connect with the Asian characters and familiar ‘homely’ setting. Experiencing this was monumental and in fact, even quite emotional for me. In the hope to be able to give just a handful of students the same experience, the Kwame book is greatly valuable to me, and I hope that people are able to see why this book and others of its kind are so important. I dearly hope that the students enjoy reading the book and are excited to follow Kwame on many more of his adventures that are yet to come!” – (Elena, Sevenoaks school)
“The process of creating the Kwame book series has been an incredibly rewarding experience and it is something that I have a great affinity to and take great pride in. Not only do I hope to be able to positively impact many with the series, but I too, have gained so much from the experience, for which I am hugely grateful for. I hope that the book is a step in the right direction to combatting the issue of white dominancy in literary resources. The book further aims to encourage reading and engagement among students by providing them with a story that they are able to individually connect to, by recognising pieces of their own lives in both the content and beautiful illustrations” – EduLit team member, Sevenoaks school
The publication of other titles in this series will cover stories set in Abofour, Akumadan, Kalpohin and other communities. This publication is alongside an annual creative writing magazine telling stories of communities. Kwame’s Adventures is in line with the organisation’s goal of amplifying the voice and culture of Ghanaians in educational resources available to them.
Special thanks to the amazing people behind this publication, especially to the team at Sevenoaks and Ghana who worked on this project. For more information, including purchases visit BookNook Store, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call/WhatsApp +233203090568.