A 17-year-old author, Miss Ijeoma Nwaogu, has appealed to governments at all levels and corporate organisations to establish more book clubs in schools and communities to promote reading culture from tender ages in Nigeria.
Nwaogu said this at the launch of her three new books at the St Jude Catholic Church, Mafoluku, Lagos. The books are Dear Diary, A Twiddle in Kismet, and Note from my Heart.
She said that the establishment of more book clubs had become necessary as many children were not developing an interest in reading.
According to the teenager, who wrote her first book at age five, actions must be taken to redress the trend.
”There is an urgent need to create an enabling environment to revive and promote reading culture from tender ages. I believe that there should be more book clubs both in schools and in the communities.
“Children need books to engage themselves and gain knowledge. Governments should sponsor programmes associated with book affairs.
“Such platforms will be avenue for children to come together, share thoughts and promote writing ambitions; it is a way of encouragement,” she added.
Nwaogu, who said her dream is to become a psychiatric doctor, has written five books to promote reading culture among children.
The author, who graduated from the Dominican College, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos, said that she had a passion for writing although she was determined to be a psychiatrist.
“I just graduated from secondary school and hope to study medicine to become a psychiatric doctor because I have this passion to take care of people that are insane.
“From my early years, I loved listening to stories, reading and putting down ideas, and that passion continued until I was able to write my first book at age five. It is entitled: ‘The Lost Girl.’
“The idea is to create awareness that one can achieve a lot through reading, picking on things happening around us and writing, just like I have done,” she added.
According to the young author, ‘Note From My Heart’, is poetry, while Dear Dairy is a collection of stories, and Twiddle in Kismet is about children’s faults and roles played by parents.
Nwaogu expressed gratitude to her parents for encouragement and support, noting that the funding for the books was from them.
“My mother has been an inspiration to me,” Nwaogu said. Nwaogu also advised children interested in writing to keep their dreams alive.
She added, ”They should keep striving in the quest to develop their talents, while they remain focused in their academics.”
The mother of the author, Dr Mary Nwaogu, said she was happy at the achievements of her daughter who started exhibiting writing skills at a tender age.
The mother said that she was surprised at the daughter’s achievements at 17 years.
”Ijeoma has been coping excellently in her academics as she came out with one of the best results in her WAEC.”
One of the book reviewers, Mrs Iquo DianaAbasi, said she was very impressed with the book, describing it as ”thoughtful and inspiring.