Empowering children through narratives

Empowering children through narratives

A growing number of children’s books are changing their stories striking balance between realism and imagination through having a child development in telling stories that inspire them to be creative.

There are several benefits of reading a book to children and some of them include improved language skills, increased concentration, and discipline as well as improved imagination and creativity.

Harare author and content creator Costa Chayambuka wrote an astonishing book titled ‘Sloba and the Chameleonaire’ which is a children’s book about a chameleon who used to change clothes willingly.

WhatsApp-Image-2023-03-12-at-12.48.47-1024x400 Empowering children through narratives

Costa writes children’s books and produce 2D cartoons that include stories from the books he writes and one of his books is already in some book stores in Harare.

Costa has a diploma in chemical engineering and another one in Counselling.

The book ‘Sloba and the Chameleoinaire’ reviews Sloba’s flamboyant lifestyle and how the opulence landed him in trouble. Sloba is a series of books with different topics.

Costa said “The stories are originally created and explored in a way that’s different from other children’s books in a lot of ways for example I strike a balance between realism and imagination. Also, there are two main characters in every story Sloba being the chief protagonist and the other one that co-stars with Sloba; in the case of Sloba and the Chameleonaire it is Sloba the snail and Richard the Chameleon. Sloba is a voice of reason who resolves arguments and disputes, enlightens, or advises.”

The illustrations are well elaborated in colour and construct such that the reader gets the story in pictures even if they get lost in text. Going through the book the reader finds out that the illustrations play an important part for children of a younger age since they might find the vocabulary and phrases used throughout the story quite challenging.

The phrases, concepts and vocabulary used challenges the reader to search more about different aspects of life. All the stories have humanoid characters such as animals designed to look and act like humans. Some of the animal characters used exposes a child to a whole new world of animals that are rarely known. The stories are also particular with details like the correct names of creatures for example a gecko, an agama and an iguana are simply called lizard yet they have distinct names.

“This book is for children from 9-12 years though older or even slightly younger ones can read it. The style I use in writing these stories can captivate readers of all ages especially those who enjoy adventure and at the end of the day a book is just a book a reader just reads,” said Costa.

Currently, Costa is working on a second book that is about to be published in a few months’ time titled ‘Sloba and the Crocodile’s tears.’

Costa added that he targets producing a million hard copies of the book.

“As I promised on my NAMA speech that my team and I have a target of producing one million hard copies of this book so that at least most of the children might have access to a Sloba copy before year end. We are already printing right now so that we hit this quota or even exceed if possible. There are some copies already in United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia. We are going to send more and reach other countries. I’m also working on Mandarin, French, and Hindi versions of the book,” he said.

ACHIEVEMENTS: In November 2022, Costa won the Inaugural Phoenix Publishing Award for the best children’s book and in February 2023 he won the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) Outstanding Children’s Book.

The book can be found in bookshops in Harare at places such as Innov8 Bookshop at 23 George Silundika Avenue, The National Arts Gallery Bookshop at Robert Mugabe International Airport and for online orders they can order on Costa’s Facebook page ‘Costa Chayambuka.’

Charmaine Brown

Charmaine Brown is 27 years old, media personnel. She studied Media and Society Studies (2017-2020) at Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. Charmaine had an internship at The Herald and presently is the Editor for My Afrika Magazine. She currently lives in Harare.

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