Children’s book fete initiated in Norton

Children’s literature awareness will surely be boosted by the fun-filled Norton Children’s Books Festival and Business Expo, a book fiesta initiated by writer Aleck Kaposa and scheduled for October 31, 2018, at the Katanga Shops open space in Norton.

The festival, running under the theme “Connecting Books with Kids, Connecting Business with Customers”, is chiefly targeting children, parents, students, teachers and business people from Norton community and beyond.

How good it feels to now have the first children’s book festival being launched somewhere barely a few months after an installment by Bookshelf titled “We Need a Children’s Literature Festival”!

The one-day Norton festival is expected to have a wide range of fun-filled and educative activities for children and adults such as drawing and colouring, reading, story telling, poetry performances, book launches and competitions.

In a statement released to the public last week, Kaposa said the festival’s mission is to ignite in children a love for reading books, develop skills in performance poetry, storytelling, creative writing, drawing and colouring as a possible career path as well as to give businesses an opportunity to showcase and sell their products directly to the market.

He has dubbed the business side of the festival “Norton is Open for Business”, thus echoing President Mnangagwa’s call for economic investment, “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”.

Tinashe Muchuri

Kaposa, a teacher and published children’s book author, said the festival will inspire students as they will have a chance to interact with authors of some of their set-books, and an opportunity to celebrate their own artistic talents with a wider audience.

“Today’s kids need to seriously start loving reading books for their mental and academic development. Reading is development,” he said.

Bringing together writers, readers, business people and their customers, is indeed a brilliant idea which hopefully will find support from the local business community.

In a latest update released to Bookshelf, musician Caroline “Caychi” Chirowodza and her Afro Jive Band, writers Tinashe Muchuri and Edwin Msipa will provide entertainment at the festival.

As a platform mainly designed for children, Kaposa said most presentations shall be made by children themselves and some by several new writers.

However, one day seems too short a time to accommodate the comprehensive series of literary and business activities which the festival organisers have planned.

Wouldn’t it be throttling children’s fun to dismiss them after the event without the hope that they will come back the next day to learn more? Should resources permit in the future, a week long children’s literature festival during the schools holidays could certainly make it more enjoyable. Kaposa must be commended for starting small.

Asked what measures have been put in place for the control of the now-declining cholera outbreak which saw government calling for suspension of all public gatherings, the two-time Nama Awards nominee said they are also monitoring the situation and working with relevant authorities.

“We continue to monitor the situation, we will approach town council and the police to seek final go-ahead on October 25. We will act according to their advice,” said Kaposa.

Meanwhile, some writers’ organisations which had scheduled their public events for September joined the nation in taking caution against the disease by postponing their events until further notice.

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair which was supposed to take place this week was deferred and will now be held on dates to be announced officially soon.

ZIBF interim chairperson Jasper L Maenzanise said they will stand guided by further developments and announcements by the responsible authorities who are monitoring and evaluating the situation.

The Zimbabwe Academic and Nonfiction Authors (Zana) also shelved their Harare Writers Workshop to a later date. The workshop had been set for September 22, 2018.

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