It was a gathering of A lists authors, book aficionados, and captains of industries at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos to launch two books written by 10-year old Munachi Mbonu.
The books, Concealed and Chidubem: A child of destiny were products of leisurely exercises by the Year Six pupil of Grande Oakbridge Montessori School, Osapa London, Lekki, which she wrote to entertain her cousins until her mother, Ifeoma, urged her to seek a wider audience.
Munachi said Concealed, centered on a group of young friends in school learning what is valuable and love, was inspired by TV drama series, Friends; while Chidubem, which features a boy adapting to city life after relocating from the village, was influenced by her interactions with her cousins who had similar experience.
“When the house is noisy, my Mummy tells us to go to our rooms and read and do book reviews. She doesn’t like us watching the TV for long periods. I started writing stories and giving them to my cousin’s to read.
“The first book was from TV drama shows; the second book was inspired by my cousins who moved from the village to Lagos. They did not like some things we liked here but were willing to learn new things and adapt,” she said.
Munachi’s Mum said the girl started writing at seven.
“She’s been writing from seven. I got her first laptop at five. So she would sketch some things and write about them. At age seven, she started writing. During the holidays I buy a lot of books and tell her to do a book review. She has written about five or six books.
Ms Mbonu said she thought the books were ripe for publishing because she enjoyed reading them as an adult.
“When I read Chidumbem, it was really funny. I was laughing. I told her that older people needed to read her books, not just her cousins. She was scared at first but I encouraged her. We met with an editor who saw the manuscript and she was impressed,” said Ms Mbonu.
Advising other parents, Ms Mbonu urged parents to invest in their wards.
“I will advise parents to invest in their children first before investing for their children. Expose a child to multiple activities and through that you know what the child likes,” she said.
Guest of honour at the launch, Tony Kan, popular writer and poet, who started writing at 11, urged Munachi’s parents to support her.
He shared how he ended up studying English at the University of Jos after three failures to get in for Medicine. He also said his love for writing had taken him all over the world.
“I wanted to study Medicine at the University of Jos. I was admitted for Chemistry, the first time, then Biochemistry, then Microbiology. My uncle then asked what I wanted to do, and I opted for English. In the first year, we had a reading list of 48 books. I had read 47 of them.
I want to say to Mum and Dad, this girl is doing something great; encourage her. I have traveled all over the world but I have never bought a ticket in my life. I get invitations from people because of my books,” he said.