Let’s discover an audio book of African nursery rhymes and lullabies that celebrates the different cultures of this great continent.
How can we transmit to our young children the love of nursery rhymes and lullabies originating from an oral African culture? This is the question that Astou has tried to answer by completing her audiobook project that she has worked on for over three years: three years spent looking for the origin of these nursery rhymes that enriched her youth in the Ivory Coast. These rhymes originate from all over Africa and are recited by millions of children in homes and playgrounds. Astou first thought it would be easy but the process was a long detective job that became more and more interesting as she researched each one and found their origin. As several countries claim the paternity of some of these rhymes, she had to be very meticulous in her research.
In order to reach the largest number of readers, the beautiful rhymes are written and published in their original language and then translated into both French and English. An interested person can have a look at the Vijana Collections website and listen to an extract on YouTube (Dawda Sanneh, African nursery rhyme). By the way, Vijana means youth in Swahili.
A professional vocalist accepted to lend her voice to the project and the result is very warm and interesting with a high-quality sound. The illustrations are also very vibrant and representative of the culture of each country where the rhyme was born. It is written on the website that: “The songs have been lovingly selected to introduce children to the wonders of the African continent in order to encourage them to be interested in their origins or to open them up to other worlds.”
Astou confides that the parents who have purchased the book say they are very moved to be able to rediscover the nursery rhymes of their childhood and that they have enjoyed introducing them to their own children. Her own preschool children were her first audience and followed the creation of these manuscripts closely. The book, with its own audio support, allows children to go through the collection independently.
She is in the process of writing a second volume of these nursery rhymes and it is not much easier this time, but we are sure that the result will be just as interesting. We wish her good luck in this culturally significant and rewarding adventure.