By Oluwadamilola Osota
I stepped out of the morning breeze into the airy Scripture Union auditorium, the green and brown hues on the walls catching my attention immediately. A to
“Amen.” Chorused the students seated. I looked up and realized that the graceful hostess of the Joyous Innovations Sixty-Seven Book Fair, Dr. Mrs. Oladeji Adenike, had just finished saying the opening prayers for the second day of the book fair that was now in its fourth year.
After that, the event moved at breakneck speed as the audience was taken through a sequence of activities, the first of which was the book reading of intriguing books like Acres of Diamond and Moromoke. Grace Ogboro of Oroki Middle School impressed with her fluency of reading. Almost immediately after that, the eminent Mrs. Aremu Paulina Aderonke mounted the podium, and the audience was held spellbound by her captivating stage presence. Outfitted in a beautiful, light green embroidered traditional gown, she spoke eloquently on a couple of issues, chief of which were the popular use of slangs amongst the youths, the use of worldly slangs with spiritual interpretation, the importance of reviving the Yoruba culture, etc. Mrs. Aremu slashed the prices of her books to celebrate the fair, and the excited audience took the chance to get titles like Perfected Friendship, Akojopo Ewi Fun Alakobere, etc at half of their prices.
A short break took place during which the invited students mingled and checked out the books on display. I took the chance to talk to some of the students and find out about how they felt concerning books, and the general consensus was that of a palpable love for books and the knowledge base they carried.
After the break, there was a review of the book ‘The Mystery of Fatherhood’, written by Olufemi Oderina. The book was reviewed with the aid of the book trailer by an eminent publisher, Mrs. Olutoyin Oladele. She asked who a father was/what a father did, and several answers, ranging from ‘Breadwinner of the family’ to ‘Payment of school fees’ rung out from the audience. She exposited on the place of a father in the family, and how important his role was, not just as a provider, but also as one who births visions and prays for his family. Her presentation was concise, well worded and very informative.
Regrettably, the book fair ended by some minutes after one after a short competition involving representatives from the invited schools as they were asked to read the first two chapters of a book titled ‘Bread Eaten in Secret’ in under two minutes and answer questions based on what they had read.
I walked out of the hall, feeling a quiet admiration for the entire setup and the idea behind the book fair. The quest to Bring Back Our Books is well and truly on!