The 2017 International Children’s Book Day Celebration (ICBD), has been held in Accra with a call on parents to invest in their wards by buying them books to read.
Mr Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, the Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo Constituency who made the call also urged parents to go beyond paying fees and do a little than the normal for their wards.
”As parents, I will urge you to do a little than the normal way for your children by inculcating the reading culture in them as reading boost confidence,” he said.
Mr Vanderpuye however tasked pupils and children to take pride in reading than spending time on things that were not good for their development.
“I will ask you, I beg of you my children to read, do not stop reading, read anything at all you pick but not pornographic materials,” he advised.
Mr Guy Amarteifio, the Greater Accra Regional Librarian, said it was a fact that the reading culture among children had accelerated.
He said that in 2015, a total of 4,784 pupil participated in a French class being organised by the Library and the Ministry of Education.
He observed that the number of children who visited the library in 2016 were 12,988 as compared to 11,502 in 2015 while the adult patronage also realised an appreciable number of 31,005 and the mobile library patronage also amounted to 5,766 in the same year.
“The Greater Accra Region and the Accra Metropolis in particular undertake many reading related activities to promote and encourage reading such as the readers’ club, story hour, spelling bee, quiz and learning and reading of French,” he said.
He said the Library had also introduced a service known as the door-to-door service where mobile library was used to render library services to schools far from the library.
Throwing more light on the ICBD, Mr Amarteifo, said it was a project of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and was celebrated annually in commemoration of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday on April 2.
He noted that Andersen was a prolific writer of children’s books and famous for his fairy tales which were not meant merely for children but for adults as well.
According to Mr Amarteifo, each year, a different national section of IBBY had the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD.
The Ghana Library Authority (GhLA), which represented IBBY Ghana, celebrates the ICBD annually by organising competitions among junior high, upper primary and pre-schools in the form of quiz, spelling bee, essay writing, reading, drama, poetry recital, cultural dance and singing, throughout the country.
Mr Amarteifio, therefore, appealed to the public and benevolent organisations to support GhLA since government could not do it alone.
He urged Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies and opinion leaders to see the public libraries as an integral part of the community and support the mobile library service to reach out to the un-served and under-served communities.
He said the media should also collaborate with the GhLA to publicise its activities to attract more users and sponsors.
Speaking on the theme: “Let us Grow with the Book”, Mrs Matilda Amissah Arthur, the Former Second Lady, noted that the theme was timely as children developing the spirit of growing with books early would impact their lives positively.
She said: “Reading is not just fun, it very rewarding, adds to vocabulary with one’s grammar being rich.”
Mrs Amissah Arthur therefore admonished young ones to read extensively adding that “Read everything, vernacular, English….all of it, you have to read it all.
“Rely on books for them to groom you, grow in grammar and your sentence formation,” she advised.
The Former Second Lady challenged organisers of the annual event to infuse a segment in their celebration where pupils would narrate the books they had read over the years for recognition.
Numo Blafo III, the Public Relations Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), indicated that reading developed the brain and advised the pupils to patronise both their schools and community libraries to adopt one book, read, memorise and grow with it.
Dr Mrs Evelyn Markwei, a Lecturer at the Department of Information of the University of Ghana, urged children to make reading a passion as it would enhance their horizon.
As part of activities marking this year’s ICBD was an awards presentation ceremony.
In all 15 schools contested in the various quiz, spelling bee, poetry recital and reading competitions with awards and certificates given to the various schools.
This year’s ICBD was sponsored by the GhLA and AMA.