This essay argues for the potential of children’s literature in Nigeria as a genre serving as a means of building nationhood in the minds of children growing up in the country. It posits that because of the greed of the ruling elites, the potential in terms of both human and natural resources was frittered away after independence, thereby vitiating the function of children’s literature in helping reinforce Nigeria’s presence in the comity of nations. It is still possible to retrace our steps as a country by progressively deploying such literature, through its themes and character delineation, to inculcating in children a sense of nationhood and patriotism so they can relate across both ethnic and religious divisions to espouse ideals as a people with a common destiny. The literature that is the focus here is that written in English as the language of interaction among the different ethnic groups in the country, and as the language of instruction in our schools.
E.B. Ikhigbonoareme“Writing and Publishing Children’s Literature: Problems and Prospects,” in Children and Literature in Africa(1992) ed. Chidi Ikonné Emelia Oko & Peter Onwudinjo (Ibadan: Heinemann 1992): 62–63.
N.R. Okafor“Technical and Economic Problems of Writing and Publishing Children’s Literature in Africa with Particular Reference to Nigeria,” in Children and Literature in Africaed. Chidi Ikonné Emelia Oko & Peter Onwudinjo (Ibadan: Heinemann 1992): 54.