Did you know only 10% of children’s books are published by African/African American authors in a 1.9 Billion dollar market. We suspect that the number of African authors is less than 2 percent. 77% of publishing staff across the U.S are white. Thus, it is challenging for black authors to get literacy agents, which is what is needed to get your book picked up by a publishing company. Having a publishing company means your book will have marketing dollars behind it and access to a wider audience.
On the other hand, when you do find books about African culture and experiences, the majority are written by non-Africans. These stories focus on spreading the narrative of a continent in utter despair and in need of saving.
Just like team Fyen, many African authors self-publish their books after being rejected by agents as our stories don’t “speak to them”. Agents are predominantly white women, this subjective attitude has left African authors and our important stories in draft, saved on many computers. As you look for books for your children to read this summer, support #childrensbooksbyafricanauthors. The best way to support self-publishers is to directly order books from their websites as Amazon takes 60% royalty from self-publishers. Yep, you read that right! So, while Amazon is convenient please take the extra few minutes to order directly from African authors.
As education and literacy activists, storytelling is one of the most important traditions humans possess to influence, shape beliefs and behaviors. We could not exist without the values, the wisdom and the courage shared from past generations through the art of storytelling.
Here at Fyen, our mission is to not only bring you the best we have to offer but also, the best across our continent. We believe in the collective effort to bring Africa to the forefront and educate readers, that Africa is a continent full of rich history, and not the misconceived idea that Africa is a country. We want readers to find an escape into Africa’s vast richness, love, culture, history and its people. Most importantly, we want to empower young minds with knowledge that will peak their interest to one-day jump on a plane and make the journey to Ghana, or Nigeria or any country in Africa!
Here are some great children’s books by African authors to read to your little ones tonight, and everyday.
Book Description: An African Cinderella Story, No slippers but a calabash. Every culture has its own Cinderella story, and every storyteller his or her version. This classic West African folklore from Senegambia has similarities to both The little red riding hood and Cinderella in a completely unique way that teaches children the same important moral lessons and many more astwo halfsisters take a similar adventure through an enchanted forest. Only one of them becomes a princess “linguere”. Who will it be and what does it take?
Country: The Gambia
Book Description: This beautifully illustrated collection of stories follows Bella and her parents as they embark on an unforgettable journey across Africa. While Bella explores the countries they visit, her parents examine the ruins of ancient kingdoms. From a thrilling Safari adventure to an exciting treasure hunt, Bella discovers that the continent of Africa is bursting with new experiences. It is a collection of nine short stories based in eight different African countries. Join Bella and her parents in Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Book Description: What would you do if you woke up one night to find the shadow of a giant chicken passing your bedroom door? Go and investigate, of course! When Anyaugo follows a giant chicken into her kitchen one warm night in Nigeria, she embarks on a fun-filled adventure where nothing is quite as it seems. Is the mischievous giant chicken a friend or a foe? More importantly, will Anyaugo be able to save the food for the New Yam Festival the next day?
Book Description: When Baby and Mama go to the market, Baby is so adorable that the banana seller gives him six bananas. Baby eats one and puts five in the basket, but Mama doesn’t notice. As Mama and Baby wend their way through the stalls, cheeky Baby collects five oranges, four biscuits, three ears of sweet corn, two pieces of coconut . . . until Mama notices that her basket is getting very heavy! Poor Baby, she thinks, he must be very hungry by now! Rhythmic language, visual humor, and a bounty of delectable food make this a tale that is sure to whet little appetites for story time.
Book Description: Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.