Harnessing children’s morality through books

The noble act of shaping of good morals should start at an early stage of human development. Children are highly impressionable beings who unconsciously take to behavioral patterns through story telling. Unfortunately, the negative influence of social media has inflamed vices which are immanent in the society today. Millennial parents hardly spend quality time with their children owing to the fast-paced work environment. Whereas, this developmental process if well nurtured exposes children to handle issues and relate better with people. Children can become better citizens if they are exposed to good literatures early in life.

The literary understanding and interaction that is shown among young peers go a long way to reveal more about their personality and part of this can be traceable to the kind of books they read. American author, Kathy Brodsky and Oluwaseun Aina are shining examples in this regard.       These are two women involved in the act of helping children to become useful to society through books. Initially, Brodsky had given her newest book, High Wire Act to Aina but donated the rest after an engaging and exhilarating Skype session with children at the Magical Books Club. However, she also decided to donate the rest of her books to her program after an engaging and exhilarating Skype session with children at the Magical Books Club.

Kathy Brodsky is a licensed clinical social worker who writes and promotes quality books that are timely, visually exciting, entertaining, educational and fun. As a psychotherapist for over 40 years, she has been able to tap into universal emotions of people of all ages with themes that are evident in her books. Teachers have often used her messages to further social awareness in their students. So far, Kathy’s books include Moments in Our Lives, The Inside Story,Just Sniffing Around, Purrsnikitty, A Horse Named Special, Stover, The Winner Is and El cuento de, a Spanish rendering of A cat Fish tale.

She believes that can people understand other cultures through storytelling. ‘‘Nigeria has a rich history of storytelling that needs to be shared with the world.  In particular, more children’s stories need to come out of Nigeria.  There are thousands of verbal stories handed from down generation to generation that need to be captured in writing as the continent of Africa is unique to the world in so many ways’’.

Conversely, Aina runs a Magical Books Club in Nigeria and she has had to contend with myriads of challenges noticeable in some children’s book. They were either not interesting, error-prone or having poorly illustrated pictures. She would later attend the 2016 edition of the International Literacy Association Conference in Boston where she came in contact with American author, Kathy Brodsky.

Both women had a common cause and decided to pursue it. The books are written in a style that makes it easy for children to grasp the essence of having good morals and a suitable lifestyle that is purposeful to life.  Kathy bears her mind about her motivation for sharing her books with Aina. ‘‘This gesture was especially important, because it’s bringing something about literacy to a population that is ignored.  Also, reading is the basis for every type of learning, and if a person can read, “the sky is the limit” in terms of their knowledge.

Aina, who started Magical Books Club during her Masters’ degree programme, wants to improve children’s life through morality. The Magical Book Club is part of the ways Aina contributes to the society enhancingthe need for children to be respectful to their parents and loyal to their peers. With this, she believes that she can help children to conquer the challenge that they face in dealing with moral issues.

According to Aina, “Children need to be exposed to morality early enough to prepare them for adulthood. We want to build a society where there is trust and respect for people. Targeting this with the appropriate books involves taking them through progressive experience which plunges into good development. The Magical Books Club recognises this and Kathy Brodsky books are highly expository.”

Brodsky’s books have won multiple awards, including Book of the Year from Creative Child Magazine in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016.  She was also voted into the Top 10 in the International Literacy Association and Children’s Book Council’s Children’s Choice Reading List. Each year, 12,500 school children from throughout the United States read newly published children’s and young adult books and vote for their favorites — Brodsky was selected for this elite list in 2014.

Brodsky has great deal of experience with children albeit in a different way. Brodsky believes that “a lot of things culminate into writing children’s’ books and the goal is to ensure that they develop consciously and be able to ideally put together what it takes to have a good relationship with those around them. Having spent time with children for a long time, it gives me the edge to come up with books that target their moral development”.

The Magical Books Club has many members, children who have started to relieve a new way to development which reflects in their ethical life.They are able to relate with words easily and develop skills to become great writers and develop in the arts.The books are effective and are in synch with the Nigerian literary curriculum. The Magical Books Club creates an avenue for the children to be expressive and it raises their consciousness about their environment thus making the children be capable of handling the challenges even at a very young age.

Aina believes that exposing children to good books at the development phase prepares children sees them through life. Their literary acumen will be outstanding and well appreciated. Having a good character is important and once children are aware of that, they can have a great life.

Children who attend Magical Books Club are already enjoying Brodsky’s books. It has opened newer vistas of knowledge and experience to them. Aina stated that ‘‘Kathy’s books are very relevant to Nigerian schools and book clubs. Children who read her books learn more about themselves, and their environment. Her books also have questions at the end to help spur discussion between parents/teachers and children. These questions are thought provoking and are uniquely woven to help children get a deeper sense of themselves, and important issues we can relate with’’.

Ademola Tiamiyu, 11 years old, also reflects on High Wire Act.  ‘‘It teaches us the importance of traffic lights on busy streets and intersections. The Winner is… teaches us that we should try not to be like someone else. We should be happy with who we are.’’ Also, Zahra Adesina-Aderonmu, 12 affirms that ‘‘Stoveris about a fit pig that eats healthy and exercises daily. This teaches us to keep fit’’. Aina shares her success story: ‘‘I am always excited when parents give positive feedback on how the programme has impacted upon their children’s love for and attitude to reading, academic performance, entrepreneurial awareness and social skills.”

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