Children’s books must move away from stereotypical depictions – Agyare

Elliot Agyare, President of the Ghana Book Publishers Association

President of the Ghana Book Publishers Association, Mr. Elliot Agyare has advised book writers, editors and publishers to desist from the stereotypical ‘village’ depictions of children’s books especially for reading purposes.

He said book illustrations have over a period barely reflected on the reality around us but rather imprisoned us to the past through these book depictions.

Agyare in an interview with Goldstreet Business said public libraries have not typically circulated many titles that represent the Ghanaian culture and history but rather those with diverse cultures and negativity.

“Children can form many of these kinds of biases from foreign reading sources and that can be worrying on their intellectual and educational development,” he cautioned.

He added that only a few books still circulate due to public demand, and most especially for research only, leaving children to rely on little or foreign reading materials.

“Weak distribution networks across borders of most African countries have also compounded the issue”, he explained.

Over a period, many publishers have also embraced digital/electronic publishing with 50 percent of their catalog available as e-publications, making delivery on a large scale to the schools’ market a challenge in the near term.

He said premium on importation of paper and other publishing materials have also compounded the ability to distribute books on a large scale to libraries and schools.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Ghana in 2017 imported US$524.2 million of paper and paperboard, articles of pulp, paper and board.

Mr. Agyare urged the Ghana Education Service, GES, librarians, writers, editors, publishers and educationists to apply ‘Made in Ghana’ book modules to children and students and also discuss the positives.

By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah