Thursday, February 25, 2010

Books Ghanaian Kids Love - Were you a Enid Blyton Kid or Agatha Christie Kid?


According to the supermorning show on Joy FM, Ghanaian kids aren't reading anymore. They can't be bothered.

This is quite a tragedy. I have the fondest memories of primary school (University Primary School, Legon) because of the books we read, and swapped, the library books we lost and had to replace and the friends I made because of our common interest in reading. It is one of those loves that never died. So from personal experience, I know that children who love to read continue into adulthood. At UPS, it was pure positive madness!
We even had a reading list that every kid wanted to complete. The higher you got, the smarter you felt. Some of my friends still brag today about reading everything Enid Blyton ever wrote.

Anyway, Joyfm has launched the read 100 project to encourage Ghanaian kids to read books by inviting them to read on radio. Reading about it got me excited and I thought...how cool would it be to find out what books Ghanaians absolutely loved when they were in primary school. Just for fun:) Were the kids at Morning Star reading the same books as those of us at UPS? And Soul Clinic, and Ridge Church? GIS? SOS? Tema Parents? Alsyd? Association International? North Ridge Lycium? St. Bernadette? Bishop Bowers? Christ the King?

We'll know by end of today.

So add your voice.

Who knows? If we find the same books popping up over and over again, we could recommend them to the Read 100 project.

I begin.

School: UPS, Legon ....graduated '97
Fave Authors: Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton
Fave Books: The BFG (big friendly giant) and The wishing chair series.

That was then.

Today, my favorite books are Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), Freakonomics (Levitt) and everything Malcom Gladwell.

What about you?

51 comments:

  1. I remember a lot of Sweet Valley and Babysitter's Club making the rounds at Morning Star. Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys were also popular. Of course, Blyton was an early favorite: Secret Seven, Famous Five... I loved The Faraway Tree series! And of course, the ones about the boarding schools, St. Clare's and Mallory Towers.

    These days, I try to read non-white female writers and I like Adichie, Danticat, and Lahiri. I am also choking down the Twilight series for masochistic reasons (in case it ever comes up in a conversation, but goodness this stuff is painful to read). The last good books I read were Danticat's "Brother I'm Dying" and Kathryn Stockett's "The Help".

    I will admit that my reading habit has been helped immensely by switching to e-books and acquiring an e-book reader. It helps me to focus in a way that paper never did. And besides, I can read pretty much anywhere and always have a book on me (preloaded on my phone as well) so that helps. People ARE reading less these days, though, and it's a pity. But perhaps what they lose in reading offline they gain by reading the internet? Obviously it's not as well-written, there is no narrative, and there are several instances of poor grammar... but it's just a matter of new media taking over the old. Books will have to adapt somehow, too.

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  2. I look forward to reading a few more comments on this post, being a Tintin book fan for many years, though I did read Enid Blyton. But then I really liked Agatha Christie, and Ian Fleming, having skipped rather quickly into somewhat more "adult" reading.

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  3. I never read much in my earlier years, with the exception of Tintin comics! That was the stuff! I did flip through Hardy Boys a lot, and would occasionally glance through a Nancy Drew novel. But I was loyal to Tintin, and read everything from "Tintin in America" to "Tintin and the Picaros." I was to learn later, though, that Tintin had a good bit of racial stereotypes in it.

    I did try reading some of the more recommended books at one point, among them Great Expectations. I must confess, though, that, at that time (and coming from a Tintin background, with vivid imagery and electrifying story lines), i found the "big books" awfully boring.

    Today, i'm also a fan of all things Gladwell. My favourite author would be Wilbur Smith, though; his books are addictive, with a masterful blend of electrifying story lines and well-written chapters (http://www.wilbursmithbooks.com/). Although his are fiction stories, they're grounded in mainstream historical fact (mostly African, albeit often told from a settler's), and are extremely engaging. I find myself even checking out how he uses colons and semi-colons when i'm reading his books, to enable me better understand how these symbols are used.

    I also read the works of a good number of Pan African writers, too. I grew up 2 houses away from the great Atukwei Okai (Ghanaian poet), and was captivated by his sheer story-telling talent very early on. In fact, it was impossible to escape his story-telling; he was that good. I remember once, during his daughter's birthday party, all the neighbourhood kids had gathered at his house to watch Captain Planet. He came to the living room, turned off the TV, and gathered us around his chair to tell us a Ghanaian story. We were furious!! Yet, looking back, these early experiences made me appreciate our own stories and books better. Today, he's among my favourite poets, and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart is among my favourite books.

    To answer your question directly: i also went to UPS, but can't remember any of the recommended books that i read (Tintin wasn't on the list, haha) :)

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  4. Wow! I was also an Enid Blyton fan.. Found it difficult to return Secret Seven books to the library since i would read them over and over again.. Then there was the Sweet Valley and Nancy Drew series too.... And of course, there was the African Pacesetters series...

    And now, I read anything that has a capturing blurb. I'm also a huge fan of David Baldacci, John Grisham, James Patterson, Jackie Collins, Terry Mcmillan, Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon and don't laugh at this... I kinda fell in love with the Harry Potter and Twilight series..

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  5. Since I was in school, everyone has been complaining that people don't read. Not true - we were reading then, and we are reading now. And as to kids who don't want to read, fine. let them to what THEY want to do. I loved to read, but some of my friends who hated reading did ballet, or played sports (really well) or piano or did theater. Reading is not the most important hobby or the only hobby. If they don't want to read, find them something else. Get them to watch documentaries or movie adaptations of classics (mebbe motion and visual stuff appeals to them more). I get tired of people complaining about reading.

    My rant being done, as a child...lemme see: Roald Dahl, Enid blyton, Agatha Christie, Junior African Writers, Babysitters, Animorphs, Penguins children's classics, lots and lots of fantasy books, gabriel garcia marquez, nancy drew, hardy boys, all the harlequins i could get, christopher pike, r.l stine, Sharon Shinn, Tamora pierce, Ama Ata Aidoo, Camus

    Now, I still read books by Sharon Shinn, i sneak in the more-than-occasional harlequin, I enjoy fantasy still... but my favorite books tend to be apologetics: C.S Lewis, G. K Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers. Oh, and I am Ms. Adichie's newest biggest fan!

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  6. Since I was in school, everyone has been complaining that people don't read. Not true - we were reading then, and we are reading now. And as to kids who don't want to read, fine. let them to what THEY want to do. I loved to read, but some of my friends who hated reading did ballet, or played sports (really well) or piano or did theater. Reading is not the most important hobby or the only hobby. It is also not the only far-reaching way to engage with our world. If they don't want to read, find them something else. Engage them through art. Get them to watch documentaries or movie adaptations of classics (maybe motion and visual stuff appeals to them more). They'll end up knowing as much about the world as those of us who read, or even more. I get tired of people complaining about reading or lack thereof.

    My rant being done, as a child...lemme see: Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Junior African Writers, Babysitters, Animorphs, Penguins children's classics, lots and lots of fantasy books, gabriel garcia marquez, Nancy Drew, hardy boys, all the harlequins i could get, christopher pike, r.l stine, Sharon Shinn, Tamora pierce, Ama Ata Aidoo, Camus

    Now, I still read books by Sharon Shinn, i sneak in the more-than-occasional harlequin, I enjoy fantasy still... but my favorite books tend to be apologetics: C.S Lewis, G. K Chesterton, Dorothy Sayers. Oh, and I am Ms. Adichie's newest biggest fan!

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  7. i went to UPS Kumasi,i got into reading because my first class one report had a comment in it that read " must read more", and my mother took that comment to heart, so she was determined to make a great reader,
    i must say the UST bookshop got a lot of money from me.. my all time favorites: enid blyton, agatha christie,nancy drew, judy blume,babysitters club
    i read a lot of the african writers series books and later the sweet valley books
    i realized though that apart from Hardy Boys i wasn't really choosy about what i read..if it was a good book i would read it.

    now i am into john grisham, mary higgins-clark adn alexander mccall-smith

    i have a one year old now and i have already started stocking up on books for her.

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  8. Does anyone remember PlayPen? Or the magazine that had the comic Mungu Yaro in it?

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  9. Ya, PlayPen was a classic! Bibi was such a character. It's a pity they don't make them anymore, PlayPen magazines. 'Not finding the Mungu Yaro one in my memories, though.

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  10. I wasn't much of a "book" reader growing up. I enjoyed reading newspapers and magazines better- I always wanted to know what was happening around Ghana and the world. Maybe I got that from hanging with older folk... and my dad. He always had newspapers by his bedside when he took naps so I developed that habbit as well- it made me feel cool.

    My affinity towards magazines and newspapers could be the reason I was initially drawn to PlayPen. I liked the Mungu Yaro character (even if in a slightly condescending light). But it soon became a routine for me and I lost interest in PlayPen.

    As an aside:
    I often wonder how I managed to become fluent in English. Seriously. lol. At State Experimental School, I only spoke English in class and Twi everywhere else... I don't remember making a concerted effort to want to be fluent in English. Perhaps I should consider it one of life's mysteries...

    To this day, though, I still don't think I am a good writer and it makes me wonder if that is a result of my not reading "story books" as a child. This could be construed as an ignorant question but is there really a strong correlation between reading during one's childhood and the ability to write well? I might have answered my own question- but I wouldn't assume that. lol

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  11. I love this discussion! Hmm, for me growing up in the house of a journalist father, reading was a sine qua non. My dad tied every gift to how many books I read and how many new words (vocabs anyone?) I learnt. I must say that I did not find reading boring at all. In fact, I loved it. One of my life's favourite memories is that of me sitting down with my dad to discuss "Robinson Crusoe" and impressing him with analysis of plot, theme etc. Oh well now I digress.....my favourite author growing up was Franklin W. Dixon of Hardy Boys fame. Anybody remember the Mysterious Caravan or Clue In The Embers? I also liked Enid Blyton and Alfred Hitchcock. In my late teens, I became addicted to the African Writers Series and read about half of the books on it. It was then that I fell in love with Achebe and Ngugi. "Things Fall Apart" remained my favourite book for a long time and still is one of my favourites. In recent times my preference has been for more of philosophical/ideological writings vs pure literature. That's why Thomas Paine may just be my favourite writer now and "The Revolution: A Manifesto" by Ron Paul is the best work I've read in the last few years.

    This project is impressive and I wish it to be a big success. I can see that the habit of reading is dying. It is evident even among my younger siblings. My question though is: what is the cause? Is it the proliferation of TVs and various TV channels/shows? The internet?

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  12. O my goodness. Now I am nostalgic. ENID BLYTON all the way. those girls shaped my view of the world. Darrel Rivers, Gwendolyn,Carlotta the horserider,Alicia the astute one, Irene the scatter brain, and Darrel's sister Felicity. hahah!!! I still remember. I fantasized I was in North Tower with the rest of the characters. In fact i so loved Malory Towers, I passed them off to my younger sisters. Then came St. Clare's and the O'Sullivan twins. The midnight feasts.the canned sardines,(never mind that I woudln't touch sardines in Ghana) Oh how we were brainwashed. I wonder how my perception of the world would have been had I read Ghanaian and African authors exclusively? Hmm....something to think about. Then came Sweet Valley High. even the boys were going crazy over them. But I identified more with English writers than I ever did with Americans. Sweet Valley High was for me overly sophisticated. I just couldn't fathom any 16 year old driving a Porsche like Bruce Patman or a sports car like Lila Folwer. Or the split-level house Elizabeth and Jessica lived in. The wealthiest people at Ridge Church mpo did not display that kind of wealth. And then Nancy Drew.....and the summer for weddings.....am I right? Lol! i was also a lover of Charles Dickens. No wonder we were so brainwashed into believing everything 'white' was gold. Esi you took me back.

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  13. I read Enid Blytons the Famous five, Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. There was also the pacesetter series.

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  14. @Thomas, you do know that Franklin W. Dixon was a pseudonym for several writers, right? Of course I didn't know this at the time when we were reading the hardy boys series.

    @All
    Actually the read 100 project wants to support local writers and so they'll read more african writers. The only African book i can say i enjoyed (not just tolerated) when i was a kid was "Bediako the adventurer". It was also the only african book that was required reading in JSS. Maybe the class discussions and the communal reading is what made me enjoy it so much. I remember, when it was my turn to read aloud to the class, i didn't want to meet words like foyer, lest i mispronounce it, and garner a nickname for myself. haha.

    We read a little Shakespeare as well...the merchant of venice and the taming of the shrew.

    OMG! speaking of required reading...who remembers

    krekete so ya
    my friend's little drum.

    what was that story? The hawk and the something. I think it was in the class 5 reader.

    What about Nchanga and Enoma...the sisters...one was fat and represented the rainy season. The other was skinny and represented the dry season. They were fighting over who was more important. oh lordy! that actually just made me laugh.

    Those were some good times, man.

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  15. I loved to read as a child as well. I was just wondering the other day where I can find Enid Blyton books for my kids. And as for the issue of kids not reading anymore, I don't think it's only in Ghana. It's everywhere. Kids spend their free time playing video games or on the internet. I believe the love of books and reading should be instilled in the womb even before a child is born.

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  16. @Esi: Yes, I do know that Dixon was a pseudonym for several writers and no, I didn't know that when I was reading the books. I only found this out at Uni.

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  17. krekete soya....my dear little drum..
    krekete soya.....because I am not well...
    krekete soya...I can't play and play and play..
    krekete soya....

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was about 5 years old.

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  18. In hindsight it have been more beneficial reading about Ghanaian and African culture as a whole and appreciating them, than i did reading the blyton's, sheldon's and ludlum's.Western books helped but at such a young age they shaped and distorted the prisms through which i viewed the world. Travelling has taught me better though.

    Reccomendation's

    Pacesetters series
    African writer's series
    Things Fall apart- (Achibe)
    No Longer at Ease- (Achibe)
    anything by, Ayi-Kwei Armah, Ousmane Sembe if they can find it translated or in French
    and Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun.

    We need to appreciate our writers

    My reccomendations

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  19. Man where was I ystday. Went to North Ridge Lyceum. I consumen books...read Malory Towers, O'sullivan twins (Enid Blytons)...FYI..I am male.Favorite books of Enid: 3 Golliwogs, wishing chair and Mr.Galliano's cirus. I loved Agatha Christie too.. read all! James Hardley Chase (only started that bk because of the women on the cover). Used to get kicked out of class for reading under my desk...then mid-teens I got lost in porn. When I came to, it was Nelson Demille, Phillip Margolin and Ludlum. Best book of all time Watership Down. These days I read the Kite Runner, Q and A. Nothing Grisham though (p.s. I'm a lawyer too)

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  20. haha nice going down memory lane. My reading interest was started by my mum she read me some Ga books -"Adote shilling kome", "Mojawe", before introducing me to "Potters Wheel" from there I never looked back...anything readable from Enid to Mills & Boon.
    Anything Macolm Gladwell? me too.. all including his newspaper articles go for me.

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  21. I read almost any thing Enid Blyton from UPS! The Famous five, Secret Seven, St Clares, Mallory Towers...Then there was Tintin. Later on I had to change schools and my new school did not have such a well euipped library so I switched to books my Dad had bought over the years to read himself! I started reading Dennis Wheatly when I was 12! Perry Mason, African Writers, Robert Louis Stevenson..really old books but really lovely to read with very rich English!! I have started my kids on the same trend early and my son (9 years) can't seem to get enough books to satisfy him!! I know he will grow to appreciate that.

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  22. I have read so many books in my life..It's difficult putting a finger on them..
    Enid Blyton was a past time. However Serwah:The saga of an African princess by Rita Akoto Coker caught my attention and is still my favourite book of all time. There's a handful of Chinua Achebe's I've fallen in love with and both of Chimamanda's books should be mentioned; Purple Hibiscus and Half a yellow Sun.

    Ama Ataa Aiddo's Changes is a memorable read. Krekete soya was about the hen and the hawk...been a long time. One more and then I stop. Harry Potter!!!! another..The beautiful ones are not yet born..a must read!
    Okay I'm done!

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  23. Hmm did i love to read!! i still do though when i can fit it into my crazy schedule...

    School: St Bernadette Soubirous School, Dansoman, Accra ....graduated '97

    Fave Authors/Books: sadly i can't remember all but definitely remember Enid Blyton, any form of the news, All the Sweet Valley High books, Mills & Boon (started in my mid-teens, only to grow up and realize that there's a great difference between fiction and reality...especially in the "testosterone" department....lol)

    Today, my favorite books are my "textbooks" :( any form of the news ,books by John Grisham, Ms Adichie, James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Sidney Sheldon

    I hope and pray the Joy FM program is successful!

    Cheers and have a great weekend!

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  24. I'm glad they will read books by Ghanaian writers. Thank God!

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  25. Didn't anyone ever read Blue Jeans?
    Like so many have mentioned, I too was Enid Blyton crazy,Asterix and Obelix,Sidney Sheldon,Jeffrey Archer,I read Mills and Boon and thought all was fair in love and war.. NOT!. I found Danielle Steel boring.
    Miss Adichie is amazing, all three books - the third is a compilation of short stories-"The thing around your neck".
    Favourites right now: James Patterson- "Cross Country" is a must read, John Grisham,Mary Higgins Clarke,Stephen Canell's "King Con", Amu Djoleto's "The strange Man", Elechi Amadi's "The Concubine".

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  26. Great projects...much respect to Joyfm!

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  27. This blog post and its comments make me sooo happy!!! Esi you are the bomb! As is this Joy FM initiative!

    Graduated from North Ridge Lyceum. LOVED:

    1. Enid Blyton of course: Famous Five, Secret Seven and all dem stories with pixies and fairies etc. My fave was St. Clare's and Mallory towers.

    2. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys etc. (When I was young my deepest desire was to be an amateur detective. When anything went wrong in my home I would declare it a mystery and set out to look for clues!)

    3. Trixie Belden? (This stuff was the shizznit but wasn’t too common. Did anybody read it?)

    4. Sweet Valley series, Harlequin, Historical Romances etc. (Sweet Valley will be banned from my future home. What does it teach: rubbish. Loved them though, lol. The historical romances on the other hand, gave me a very solid grasp of world history, you learn a lot from all those handsome blond Vikings and rugged western cowboys, lol.)

    5. Christian Romance: Francine Rivers, Lori Wick! (OMG I LOVE these women writers)!!

    6. Anne of Green Gables series. NOW THIS IS A MUST READ FOR EVERY YOUNG GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!! A character in a book has never been so alive as this Anne girl.

    Reading and Loving Now:
    - I'm listening to audio books of all the classics I never read. Jane Austen is a new favorite. You can listen to audio books free if you go to librivox.org. It's free & legal.

    - African writers, so: Achebe, Ngugi, Buchi Emecheta, Coetzee, Sefi Atta, Binyavanga, Pettina Gappah, Bessie Head. Fave African book of all time: Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah!!!!

    Did I say I LOVED this blog post? You have taken me back to a good place Esi.

    And all those excited about children reading African literature should definitely check out: The Baobab Prize
    (http://baobabprize.googlepages.com/)

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  28. Never heard of Enid Blyton, yikes:) But my favorite pastime composed of series like the Babysitter's club, Sweet Valley, American Girl, and books by Virginia Hamilton (can you tell I was raised in the States?) But I would never forget when my 10th grade Pre-IB English course listed Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart as a class selection. My dad casually said, "Oh. Tings (misspelled for obvious reasons) Fall Apart. I read that in secondary school." What!?? There are books by Africans??? I had no freaking idea. In fact, the idea never crossed my mind. I felt betrayed by my family. They knew I loved to read but they never introduced me to the idea of African lit! So my taste for African Lit turned into a desperate hunger and now, I can only thoroughly enjoy contemporary world lit, with a special affixiation for African authors.... I think I'm turning to Christian fic a bit and surprising non-fiction books on therapy, psychology, etc...
    Esi, I felt in love with Anna Karenina in Uni. I would never forget how I started crying during lecture.....
    Love this blog!

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  29. Didn't read through all the comments so forgive if this has come up: Judy Blume. That her book, "Forever", spoil me kwraaa. I still remember some key parts of the book...

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  30. for the commenter who wanted to know where to get enid blyton books for her children..the CRA book store at asylum down sells them

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  31. Africa's DaughterMarch 04, 2010 4:00 AM

    @ Miss Ahenkorah: i thought i was the only one to read Trixie Belden series......i luv her...she was da best...she & Jimmy...omg, i soo want to go online rite now and buy the whole series......for me, it was wayyy better than nancy drew

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  32. Africa's DaughterMarch 04, 2010 4:06 AM

    @ Miss Ahenkorah again: i love francine rivers, lori wick and a host of other christion fictional writers......u need to come down to the caribbean, so we can swap libraries.....i've read countless books. the local librarians in my town used to be amazed when i would borrow 3 books (the limit) and return dem the next day completely reading dem.

    my library in the usa town i was schooling in used to be amazed that i would borrow up to 15books and bring them back in a couple days. my whole summers were spent from shelf to shelf in the library till i outread every fictional book of interest on there. i was the #one book worm and a speed reader :) te amo los libros

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  33. @ Africa's daughter: OMG now you know we need to get in touch and spend endless hours talking about this love for books! I can't believe you also loved Trixie Belden!!!!! But let's not monopolize this space lest Esi calls us out. My email is dahenkorah@gmail.com. Pls get in touch.

    ps: I just found out that there is a facebook group for Trixie Belden. JOINED! lol.

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  34. am a lifelong reader...enid blyton and most of the books talked about are such unimaginative fare for most kids. mostly written in WWII era, they don't stand a prayer competing against what kids have to deal with these days. There are lots of fantastic kids books, my five year old son is reading an Obama biography that is fabulous. I read with him through his babyhood and still do. We enjoy the hell out of it. He also loves computer games, but the trick, I guess, is to balance it all out. The whole idea to me is stimulate his creativity. He might actually get to enjoy reading more from having to read about the little critters he plays with, or by looking up facts about rabbits because he has a couple that he's raising as pets. It's all good. I would definitely love to start a reading group with real books for kids... I'd love to go into the worst schools in Accra and try to engage some of these kids. Our country depends on it.

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  35. I have read so many books; all the above mentioned one and then some. Yes i remember Judy Blume; Forever (I cried), Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret etc. Pacesetter series, Ananse short stories. I discovered my love for reading when my first term report card from class 3 read that i need to improve my vocabulary. During that vacation, a friend's sister decided to take her to the Ghana Library; i tuck along and the rest, they say, is history. I read every book in the Children's Library, i had library cards to take two books, i read all the books for the library book club and that was not enough. Therefore in JSS 2, i got 'promoted' to the adult's library(Wow). Most of the book sellers in Accra High Street, to this day, remember my name. I buy books almost every other week and visited the library twice a week. Now, i have ebooks but still purchase paper books. I am more into sci-fi, inspiration books and anything that catches my fancy. Oh, did i say this; i love reading. Kudos Joy FM, lets have everyone reading, not just the kids.

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  36. My crave was drawn towards the Spiderman, Tintin and the famous Asterix & Obelix comics, trying hard to remember some of the books i read but i really loved Roald Dahl's Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I read that over and over but as I got much older, newspapers and magazines crept in but im glad with the influx of more young African writers coming into the scenes and hope we all take part diligently in this project and resurrect our READING CRAVE such that we long for its addiction always.

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  37. As i was growing up, i had a friend who i use to visit frequently. She was always reading and i never understood where she was acquiring her vocabulary from, until one day i realised that everytime she read a book, she had a notebook by her side jotting down the words she didnt understand, only to look them up in the dictionary later. Her vocabulary and grammar are excellent. So, i do believe reading forms the framework of every child. It is essential that children read books to increase their vocabulary! Growing up i loved to read Roald Dahl, sweet valley series, enid blyton and the babysitters club. I never really liked reading african books because i didnt like the cover page of the books and so it never caught my eye. I did read some chinua achebe books like, things fall apart and no longer at ease and that did interest me a lot. Today, i read a lot of sidney sheldon novels. I attended CTK! Must say this is a really good project!

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  38. Before I even started Christ the King (graduated 1997), my father brought me a new book every Tuesday from the Ghana Library board. Let's just say, he knew what he was doing!

    I loved Famous Fives, Secret Sevens, Hardy Boys and read a few Nancy Drews. I read a few Sweet Valleys but they weren't exactly me.

    I would rather read Amimal Farm, any Charles Dickens and any of the Bronte sisters.

    With E-books and audiobooks available, I am not limited to scientific papers. I can plug in for an hour before bed. Now reading Blink, What the Dog Saw, 1984 and Three Cups of Tea,I cant wait for better weather.

    If I had to recommend a must-read, at least for girls, it would have to be LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Not just this one but all nine in the series. When a kid finishes this, reward them with the unabridged film. There are several versions. It's epic!

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  39. Before I even started Christ the King(graduated 1997), my father brought me a new book every Tuesday from the Ghana Library Board. Let's just say, he knew what he was doing!

    Growing up, I loved Famous Fives, Secret Sevens, Hardy Boys and read a few Nancy Drews. I read a few Sweet Valleys but they weren't exactly me.

    I would rather read Amimal Farm, Charles Dickens and any of the Bronte sisters.

    With E-books and audiobooks available, I am not limited to scientific papers. I can plug in for an hour before bed. Now reading Blink, What the Dog Saw, 1984 and Three Cups of Tea,I cant wait for better weather.

    If I had to recommend a must-read, at least for girls, it would have to be LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Not just this one but all nine in the series. When a kid finishes this, reward them with the unabridged film. There are several versions. It's epic!

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  40. Yay!!

    School: Ridge Church School, Accra '99
    Fave Books and authors during my childhood: Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Five Find Outers, books by Judy Blume, books in the African Writers Series (my Dad had a lot of them), books by Roald Dahl and almost every good book I could find at the library we used to visit on Saturdays.

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  41. oh i was definitely an Enid blyton kid! i remember taking my mother's old dress one day and telling her i was going to cut it up to make an amelia jane doll. funny enough i used to pronuonce it "Ame-lea" like the hausa name. LOL. i graduated to sweet valley and the hardy boys and even read some nancy drews before moving to the grown up stuff. it was a sort of competition in SOS. books would turn up missing and at beak time we were all huddled into different groups talking about the latest adventure we'd read. i remember an argument between the boys and the girls about who was more fun; the hardy boys or nancy drew. LOL. but you're right, kids these days don't read anymore. we should change that...

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  42. I have read so many books but I am surprised nobody mentioned Hans Anderson Fairy Tales the Library Board had/have a whole week of celebration for him. Also I read a lot of Shakespeare growing up. What about Mills and Boon, Barbara Cartland, Harlequin Romance. I even read Roots as a kid it was big but I enjoyed so it much I couldn't put it down. Someone advised that you go back and read some of your favorite books which I did and it made more sense I could picture a lot of the places since now I am familiar with them and some of the terminologies have more meaning.
    If reading had a correlation with writing as people claim then I should be a good writer but I hate writing which my job requires so may be I am the exception.

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  43. i've been secretly reading your blogs,and i think they're awesome..you're awesome!!!...
    this particular one is something dear to my heart.i was a reading machine!! i started reading at age three..and i have loved it ever since, though admittedly i did more of it when i was younger. My first love were the Fairy Tales:from cinderella to hansel and gretel, then came my Enid Blyton (all time favourite!) phase...mallory towers and st. clare's were my ideal boarding schools(boy, was i deluded..lol). i also loved the Sweet Valley Series,Babysitter's Club,Nancy Drew,Goosebumps, Roald Dahl ( Matilda was awesome),Judy Blume,Hardy Boys...i think i read stuff from almost popular every children's writer..then came my obsession with the Classics (Little Women)and Harlequin...Basically i loved to read. And i think kids of today should be encouraged to read more, even if it means revisiting the old...they are called Classics for a reason!

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  44. @Anonymous...aww. Thanks! Happy to hear u dig. I have a bookshelf bursting at the seams with Classics. Do you live in Ghana? There should be a way for Ghanaians to exchange books. Something like netflix but for books. Sigh.

    I think the joyfm crew are now reading a book on Nkrumah. A great idea!

    Come and chill with us more often. With so many people posting anonymously though, it's tough to build community and keep track of who is who.

    So sad that I won't be able to recognise you the next time you post. Maybe you can give yourselves online names like anonymousbooklover. This way, we get some sense of who anonymous booklover is.

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  45. if you dont mention PACESETTERS then definately you not an 80s child, You probably grew up as a teenager in the 90s rather. Every 80s primary school or teenager knows about PACESETTERS if you dont google it - there is even a strong demand for it now.

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  46. here is a list of pacesetters books
    http://myafricanmoviereviews.blogspot.com/search/label/pacesetter%20novels

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  47. I read Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease when I was in JSS in a town called Suhum. I read more when I was in Secondary School. My parents were not in academia, my mum was a nurse and my dad was a farmer, yet I read and read and more especially during my secondary school days. I read Sidney Sheldon, and many other books whose authors I cannot remember. I didn't like pacesetters then because my reading clique thought it to be too basic.

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  48. I obviously found this post late. But this is definitely a read that gives much nostalgia.

    Chapel Hill, Takoradi. 1998.
    Okay, i read almost a little bit of every series. Enid Blyton, Famous five, Nancy Drew , Hardy Boys, Pacesseters and the like. Favorites were famous five, the detective kid series(Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys). Read sweet valley too , Mills and Boons and several others.

    Reading a lot as a kid definitely impacts English speaking and writing skills. For kids that read a lot, i would say that the influence comes from educated parents who probably were school teachers or at least had some good tertiary education. For schools that reading was the cool thing, other kids not in this category were also drawn into it. The sad aspect of kids not reading these days is that they are at the mercy of TV influence and internet. Not too good in my opinion.

    The commendable thing about the Joy FM program ( i dont if its still ongoing since this is a late comment)is the promotion of African writers. Hopefully it would have multiple effects. Kids would grow up well aware of Ghanaian culture than the Western kid-lifestyle we were made to believe as perfect. The other thing is promoting African writers works makes their profession more profitable and thus encourages other good brains to join that discipline.
    That being said, it was a nice trip down memory lane. Thanks Esi

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  49. Hi Everyone, It's great to hear that many of you read a lot while growing up. I have read many of the books mentioned but I didn't see anyone talk about Bertha M. Clay books (which saw me through my boarding time days) and a series on Angelique who lived during the time of Louis the 14th.
    Reading encouraged me to write books on Africa 'cos if you check through all that people talked about on this blog, how many are from African writers? I have 2 published books in Ghana "Boarding Time" and "Serwah: The Saga of an African Princess" but I wonder how many of you have read them? Granted, by the time they were published you were probably out of school but I want to assure you that we African writers are discouraged 'cos our books aren't highly patronized. I thank God that my books mentioned above were approved by the Ministry of Education as supplementary readers for some schools in 2007. I'm now living in the States and have no idea whether they are still being recommended for our youth.
    Another problem we have is that it takes a long time for our books to be published; at times it takes 5 years. As at now, I still have a manuscript with a publisher in Ghana since 2008 which is yet to be published because the government only encourages text books! I have many manuscripts ready for publication but the attitude of publishers in Ghana have forced me to leave them on the shelf for my children and future grandchildren to enjoy.Unfortunately in the country I live now, they are not interested in books with African backgrounds. I believe that if anyone of the foreign authors you have read had not been encouraged, I'm sure Enid Blyton's books and those of Agatha Christie's would never have seen the light of day.
    I hope Joy FM is still promoting the reading of African writers on air. Hopefully, this will encourage our children and the youth to read more.
    I know many parents out there want their children to read 'cos after my book "Boarding Time" came out, I did a programme on GBC 2 about encouraging reading among our youth and I received so many calls during the program, emails after the programme and letters from parents who wanted tips on how to encourage their children to read. It proved to me that our people need more books from African writers but alas...To know more about my background, you may google me.

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  50. I think we all have similar reading habits and tastes across English speaking West Africa. I grew up in Nigeria and now live in Ghana. As a young boy, I read the Enid Blyton books (Secret Seven and Famous Five) and watched the series too! We had some local authors and books which I enjoyed (Chike and the River, Johhny Ojo's School Days"), then who could miss the Pacesetters series...everything from Evbu My Love to the Black Temple, to Christmas in the City.

    At some point, I started reading James Hadley Chase Novels when I found a copy with a non-judgmental cover. Thats when I realized that you really should not judge a book by its cover and I proceeded to read as many of the JHC books I could lay my hands on.

    Then who can forget Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon and many of the contemporary authors we have all come to love. African writers are making a comeback so Chimamanda Adichie has my vote as does Ben Okri, Elechi Amadi, Myne Whitman, Sefi Atta, Segun Afolabi and many others whose books I pick up everytime I walk into a bookstore.

    I must also confess that I have become a Kindle addict and now make a lot of purchases that way. I also think that e-books is a great way for African authors to gain outreach beyond the countries they write from! Anyway, Just my two pesewas!

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