"Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out." Harry S. Truman

Monday, November 3, 2008


As Amadi announced it yesterday, we're going to Nigeria, today. But first, you can find a review of Amadi's Snowman at My Readable Feast, where Anne-Marie, a busy professional blogger, brings "families together with children's books and a pinch of cooking."

And now, on to Igbo Land, and the Children's Center library, at the University of Nsukka, which is the first indigenous university in Nigeria. The Children's Center was founded in 1978. 

When I first wrote to Professor Virginia Dyke about the book and the blog tour, she responded enthusiastically and promised that she would do her utmost to have the children of Nsukka participate. 

We had to fight logistical difficulties like getting the book to travel all the way to Nigeria on time, but it finally did, as you can see below.
One of my goals, when I started thinking about this blog tour, was to involve as many children as possible, from as many places as possible, in a conversation about books and reading, and anything else they wanted to know about each other.

Thanks to the Internet, my idea was not so far-fetched.

When I visited a local school, here in Hyderabad, India, I asked the children to tell me what they would like to know about the children in Nigeria.

Here are the questions from the children at the Vidyaranya High School, in Hyderabad, India, (the post, this coming Thursday, will be dedicated to my visit there)  and the answers from the children of Nsukka, in Nigeria:

Do you have a winter in Nigeria? Is your winter so cold that you have to cover yourself up?

We have no winter in Nigeria. Nigeria is close to the Equator, which means there is no winter or summer. We have two seasons - the rainy season from about April to October, and the dry season, from about November to March. The temperature in Nsukka stays about the same all year round - between the high 60s and low 90s F, mostly in the 80s. Day and night are about the same 

The children listen to the story 
(above) and search the globe to 
locate the Equator (below).    
length, too. It gets dark between 6 and 7 p.m. throughout the year. The weather can be chilly (in the high 60s or 70s F.) some days in the rainy season and in early morning and at night during harmattan in the dry season. Then we may wear sweaters to cover up.

Do you know what snow is? If you know, have you actually seen snow?

No one in the group has seen snow, but we have learned about snow from books, pictures, and films. In fact, two books the children had at the story hour, one on polar bears, and one on bears, had pictures of snow.

What is the dry season? Do you feel really hot at times?

The dry season lasts from sometime in November to March or April. During that time there is hardly any rain. The plants turn brown, many trees lose their leaves, and everything gests very dusty. Sometimes, especially in the morning, dust haze fills the air and planes can't fly. The 

 Talking about snow (above) 
and drawing activity (below). 
temperature can get very hot, especially during the day, but it can be chilly at night and in the early morning. In both dry and rainy season we often feel very hot when the sun is shining.

Do you speak English in Nigeria?

Yes, English is an official language in Nigeria and is spoken by many people, especially in school and at work. There are many Nigerian languages, including Igbo, a major language and the language of our area. We speak Igbo more at home, at play, and when we go to our hometown in the village, and also during Igbo lessons in school.

What foods do you eat?

Fried plantains are a favourite. We also eat rice (white rice, jollof rice, coconut rice) with stew ; pounded yam or garry with soup (made from okwa, melon seed and other local ingredients with grapefruit, avocado, guava, udala (African apple), ube (local pear), jackfruit, imported apples.

What books do you read? What are your favorites?

We read many books. Some favorites are the Harry Potter books, Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, Famous Five and other stories by Enid Blyton, and for the younger ones, tortoise and Anansi stories, fairy tales like Cinderella, Snow White, etc, Curious George (read in story hour recently) and other picture books.

The children at the Nsukka Center Library also had questions for the children in India and in other countries, and I'll post them later on, during the tour.


"Next to acquiring good friends, the best acquisition is that of good books." Charles Caleb Colton.

I hope you enjoyed our visit with the children of Nsukka, today. Tomorrow, we go to Literary Safari, and we'll also have our first series of quizzes. See you then...

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