If you have ever lost yourself in the magical world of children’s literature, you will admit, first of all, that children’s literature is a special kind of literary work. You will also wish that there were more Ghanaian writers who write dreams into realities for children and young adults.
It is tempting to think that children’s literature is easy work. After all, who couldn’t come up with stories to entertain impressionable little minds? However, the reality is that writing for children is real work that requires a lot of creativity and skill. We’ve put together a list of ten Ghanaian writers who have put their creativity and skill to work to create beautiful stories for children.
1. Meshack Asare– Meshack Asare was born in Ghana; he taught in Ghana for a while and currently resides in Germany. Meshack Asare’s works as a writer of children’s literature has received international acclaim. On 24th October, 2014, Meshack won the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature becoming the first African to receive the award. Some of his works include The Brassman’s Secret, Noma’s Sand: A Tale from Lesotho, Meliga’s Day Nana’s Son, Sosu’s Call and The Magic Goat.
2. Ruby Yayra Goka – Ruby is a dentist and a multiple award-winning Ghanaian writer. In the 2010 and 2011 competitions of the Burt Award for African Literature, two of her works The Mystery of the Haunted House, and The Lost Royal Treasure won the third and second prizes, respectively. Some of her books for children include The Step Monster, When The Shackles Fell, and A Gift for Fafa. Ruby doesn’t only write for children, but also for an adult readership. Her books, In the Middle of Nowhere and Disfigured, have been published by Kwadwoan Publishing in Accra.
3. Sami Gyekye – Is a United States based writer who was born in Ghana to a Muslim mother and a Christian father. His works reflect his exposure to different religious and cultural values. The premise for his first book, South: Halo’s Journey was drawn from having spent half his life in Africa and the other half in his current residence in the United States. Since then, he has published six other books including, Whatzis and the Beyond series. He tweets often using the handle, @RecklessWeasel.
4. Malaka Grant– Malaka Grant is a Ghanaian-American writer. She not only writes children’s literature, she writes fiction for adults as well as non-fiction. Some of Malaka’s works for children are Yaa Traps Death in a Basket, which was published in 2015 and Sally and The Butterfly. Sally and The Butterfly is a ‘choose your own adventure book’ where readers go on adventures through lands unknown, and are invited to be partners in saving their world.
5. Franka Maria Andoh – Franka was born in Accra in 1968. Her first short story was published in the Caine African Writers Anthology ‘Work in Progress and Other Stories’. In 2011 she published two children’s stories Koku the Cockerel and Dokono the Donkey. She was recently awarded a grant by the Ghana Denmark Cultural Fund to publish her collection of short stories I Have Time and Other Short Stories. Franka is the founder and Editor in Chief of an annual magazine for women entrepreneurs called AWE.
6. Elizabeth Irene Baitie – Elizabeth is Ghanaian and an acclaimed writer of literature for young adults. Elizabeth writes for preteens as well as older teenagers. She visits schools and has worked with organisations like the Young Educators Foundation to promote reading. Two of Elizabeth’s works has won the Burt Award twice; The Twelfth Heart in 2009 and The Dorm Challenge in 2012.
7. Roberta Turkson – Roberta Turkson writes under the pen name Robbie Ajjuah Fantini. Robbie released her debut collection of poems titled Talking Robbish in 2014. Her second book, The Children of Abuta Village is a folktale styled children’s reader. She has just completed another book for children, The Forbidden Fruit, which will be available on her website; robertaturkson.com in a few weeks. Robbie can be found on facebook and twitter at @talkingrobbish
8. Ama Ata Aidoo – With a writing career spanning over five decades, Ama Ata Aidoo is no new name to readers. What isn’t so well known is that aside her plays, novels and poetry, Ama Ata Aidoo has written stories for children. Her collection of stories for children, The Eagle and the Chickens and Other Stories, was originally published in 1986 by Tana Press. More recently Smartline Publishers released her children’s title, The Days, inspired by her poem which bears the same name.
9. Adwoa Badoe – Adwoa Badoe is a Ghanaian writer and storyteller, based in Guelph, Ontario. Adwoa writes children’s literature and literature for young adults. Some of her works include Crabs for Dinner which was published in 1995, The Queen’s New Shoes, The Pot of Wisdom and Aluta, a novel for young adults.
10. Mamle Wolo – Mamle Wolo is the pen name of Martina Odonkor, a writer of Ghanaian and German ancestry. She has also written stories for adults under the name Mamle Kabu. Mamle’s work for young adults, The Kaya Girl, won the Burt Award in 2011. The Burt Award recognises excellence in fiction for children and young adults.