One hundred books by the age of five – this is the ambitious goal the German Embassy and Goethe-Institut Namibia want to support as part of their initiative ‘Book Sprint Namibia’.
To achieve this goal, four new children’s books were launched last week in the auditorium at the Goethe- Institut.
After a brief welcome by Detlef Pfeifer, librarian of the Institut, the authors, illustrators and designers of the four books presented their works and read them together with the eager audience of children, friends and relatives of the creators and interested guests.
At the same time, the colourful and lovingly designed illustrations were displayed on the wall for the audience to follow.
The four books: ‘Open your Eyes, Minda!’ by Nicole Abdinghoff, Romeo Sinkala and Silas Shiimbi; ‘Myra’s Friends’ by Charmaine //Gamxamûs, Belia Liebenberg and Benisa Nghiivali; ‘I want to be’ by Lucia Shali-Paulus, Mitchell Gatsi and Rauha Shagandjua, and ‘Who tickles Tula?’ by Laura-Jo Scriba, Silke van der Merve and Tutaleni Ilonga are about children and animals experiencing little adventures.
The stories convey messages about the importance of friendship and family, that it is okay to wear glasses or that boys and girls are free to decide who they want to be when they grow up.
The children in the audience eagerly followed the storytelling and were happy to have four exciting new storybooks for their bookcases.
The event was rounded off by the storyteller, Tangeni Nambinga, who fascinated both children and adults alike with an exciting story about the boy Penda and a lion.
“The books are there to encourage children to read more,” said Clarissa Judmann, the cultural officer at the German Embassy and supporter of the project.
“I hope the books will teach them that reading is not just for school but can be fun and take them to fantastic worlds.”
The idea to produce children’s books came up last year when Nicole Abdinghoff, one of the authors and project leader of the initiative, heard about the South African organisation, ‘Book Dash’.
This non-profit publisher holds one-day workshops with creative volunteers, who then develop their own children’s stories to significantly reduce the time and cost of creating such books.
They are then made freely available to bring the vision of hundred books for every child by the age of five a little closer.
The project idea convinced Abdinghoff, who then, with the help of the German Embassy and the Goethe-Institut, set up the first book creation event last October, during which the four children’s books were developed.
* The books are available for download and reproduction on the website of the Goethe-Institut Namibia: www.goethe.de/ins/na/en/kul/bib/booksprint-namibia.html