Tween Talk with Eugenia: Books of Life…


Last Saturday, April 23rd, was World Book Day (yes, there’s a day for just about everything you can think of) and as you know, I’m all about ……yes…books! World Book Day is an annual event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to promote readingpublishing, and copyright. The first World Book Day was celebrated on 23 April in 1995 and continues to be recognised on the day.

The famous and very much adored Dr. Seuss {character} said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”.

Books transport us to many places, think about it. I have travelled to many countries and centuries reading books that are set in them.  For instance, when I was a pre-teen, I had read so many of the Famous Five series (by famed Enid Blyton) that I practically felt I lived in the rural parts of England, what is also known as the ‘countryside’.  There were smaller roads with abandoned tower houses and cottages, with rabbits and squirrels running abound, and obnoxious characters who almost always turned out to be criminals. My love for outdoor life was birthed with reading (or was that poring?) the lives of the Famous Five.

During my teens, I was introduced to African authors such as the incomparable Chinua Achebe, who wrote the greatest Classic of all time (in my opinion), Things Fall Apart. With this book, I travelled into colonial time in Nigeria and read about how the tribal Igbo community handled the intrusion of the White missionaries and colonial governments. It’s through this book that I fell in love with Igbo (Nigerian) proverbs; let me share a few;

“The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did”

“A child cannot pay for his mother’s milk”

“If a child washed his hands, he could eat with kings.”

Proverbs are a very roundabout (and very clever) way of not stating the obvious. Chew on that a little more.

I have countless books from my childhood till today and I tell you, my collection could rival any primary school’s library both based on volume and variety. Yes, I’m a bookworm and proudly so.  Books account for about one-third of my life experiences, and that counts for a lot!

So, Classics are books that are not new and can be reread many years after they were first published. It’s usually extolling certain values or debunking some practices basically. There are both Western and African Classics, and you must have read at least 10 of these in your lifetime, I’d say. The amount of exposure they’ll give you could never ever be quantified nor can it be dismissed.  You’re considered unlettered if you have not read any of the Classics; go out there and do yourself a world of good by getting your hands on any Classic out there to read. Start with my African favourite…you won’t regret it!

Long Weekend Love

Are you looking forward to this weekend as I am? Wondering why I’m asking?  Well, this weekend will have two extra days added to it because there are 2 national holidays added to it. From Saturday, April 30 to Tuesday May 3, Ghanaians will be on holidays; one of the days is the May Day holiday observance and the other marks the Eid-ul-Fitr. You know how we love our holidays – what do you intend to do with yours?  Please, do not tell me you’re staying indoors to watch TV…throughout! That defeats the purpose of a holiday; I consider holidays the equivalent of ‘cheat days’ for someone on a diet.

Wondering where you can go or what you can do differently over this long holiday?

  1. You can visit the Osu Castle (if you’re in Accra) and hear as much as you can about the slave trade. You will find out that the castle is not what you know a castle to be.
  2. Visit with your other family – grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunts. Ask about your family tree and your origins from your older relatives when you visit. You will be exposed to a part of your identity you may not have been aware of.
  3. Google to find any interesting landmarks in the region you live and get an adult to take you there.

Whatever you do this long holiday. Do not stay indoors throughout; go outdoors, even if it is just to go read a book.

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