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“Culturally Conscious ‘Easy Reader’ Book for Cameroon Primary Schools: One Author’s Journey”Talk with Vivian Yenika-Agbaw

When Feb 08, 2017
from 12:30 PM to 02:00 PM
Where 216 Willard Building
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Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, Professor of Literature and Literacy, PIC:  English Language Arts Education (ELA)


Vivian Yenika-AgbawIt is no secret that textbooks drive school literacies in Africa.  Whenever storybooks are part of the curriculum as supplementary readings at some primary schools, they often tell stories about cultures with which the children are unfamiliar.   This presentation will chronicle one author’s journey writing what is often referred within western children’s literature tradition as an Easy Reader, for primary school pupils in Cameroon. Generally, Easy Reader books employ controlled vocabulary, simple sentences with events that occur in familiar settings. The presentation discusses why it is important for Africans to write culturally-conscious stories for African children. I share my creative process, including some of the decisions  I considered to ensure that the book is actually read by the targeted audience. 

Dr. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is professor of Education (Literature and Literacy) in the department of Curriculum and Instruction where she teaches children’s and adolescent literature.  She has authored or co-edited several books including, African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture:  Identity Quest, (with Lindah Mhando); African and African American Children’s Literature in the Classroom:  A Critical Guide, (with Mary Napoli).  Representing Africa in Children’s literature:  Old and New Ways of Knowing.  She has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences and has reviewed manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals such as Sankofa:  Journal of African Children’s and Young Adult Literature, and Children’s Literature in Education.  She also currently the person-in-charge of English Language Arts Education program in the C&I department.