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Ghana Study 5: Children and Young Adult Literature

elchiang's picture

Since coming back from Ghana, in terms of children and young adult literature, I have found that more and more the importance is providing relevant literature to the lives of the children in Ghana. When we were at Titagya, I was reading the Highlights magazine with some of the students, and they stumbled upon a story called “Where is my goat?” The story was about a young African boy looking for his goat with his father, and the landscape was very similar to the landscape in Dalun. It was interesting to see the recognition register in the minds of the students, especially as most of the magazine had pictures that were very different from their lives.

            From researching the Burt Award as well as learning about the Gold Baobab Prize, I realize the impact of exposure to “people like you” on children and young adults through the media and education. This is a point where I can definitely relate to because I have never really had Asian American role models in my life through any forms of media. The first time any Asian American artist made the top ten Billboards was in 2010. Furthermore, I have never had a teacher of color in my whole educational career. Feeling the disempowerment of lacking role models makes me realize the importance of providing relevant reading material for Ghanaian children.

            Though the use of E-books seems mostly beneficial, I wonder if it will aid the ability to make available various African children’s texts. Throughout my research, I wondered whether Ghanaian young adults read books by Chimamanda Adichie who is Nigerian. Having met some adolescents from Ghana, the presence of adolescence for the high schoolers in Accra seems to be defined by their education. Though, I continue to wonder how has adolescence changed and shifted throughout Ghanaian history? How does that relate to the educational changes on a national level? 


alesnick's picture


The parallels you draw between your education (in school and via media) in relation to your identity and that of the Ghanaian students we met are strong.  How does your understanding shift as you re-see your education in terms of the gaps of resonance/parallels with your Asian American identity?

Would you say more about empowerment and disempowerment, and how they connect with this question of cultural relevance/connection?  

Exciting work.