Thursday 5 June 2014

Africa Day Celebrations in deValera Library, Ennis

The deValera Public Library, Ennis, took on an African theme on the morning of the 28th of May when the children’s reading well was colourfully decorated with flags of African countries and a giant map of the African Continent. A group of children, with their teachers from the Holy Family Junior School in Ennis, visited to hear stories, poems and African rhymes delivered by library staff and a very good friend of the library, Shola Kogbodoku.

Shola, who is living in Ennis for the past seventeen years, is originally from Nigeria. During the hour, Shola shared stories of African family life, traditions and customs with a most interested group of first class children. She told them the words for African animals in her native Yoruba dialect and was surprised and delighted to hear them given back to her in a fun quiz at the end. She kindly donated gifts for the happy group as they left the library.

The children were thrilled to dress up in native African clothes and to join in Shola’s rhymes using ishaka instruments provided by the library. These instruments are made from natural red-dyed gourds hung with dried seeds. Shaken from side to side by the Holy Family schoolchildren they provided a soft rattling backdrop sounds to Shola’s African tales. The hour long session inspired many exciting ideas for next year’s Africa celebrations.

The picture books shared with the children were Emeka’s Gift: An African Counting Story by Ifeoma Onyefulu and The Animal Boogie by Debbie Harter. Other books about Africa recommended by library staff for sharing with young children include The Gift of the Sun: A Tale from South Africa by Dianne Stewart and Growing Up in Africa’s Elephant Kingdom: the Story of Little Bull by Ellen Foley James.

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