Did you know that your chances of having twins is greatest if you hail from West Africa? I didn’t, until I checked out a delightful new book, A is for Àdìre! Igbo-Ora, a small town in West Africa has the proud designation as “The Land of the Twins.” And the word for twins in Yorùbá, a language native to West Africa, is Ibéjì. Wow!
African Americans have a rich history and culture that began long before we were separated from our homeland of Africa and brought on to American shores.
Yet, there have been few local resources that allow us to reconnect with our native land.
Well, sisters Claudette Ojo and Dr. Rose Ojo-Ajayi are working to change all of that.
“We want people to learn about the beauty and cultural diversity of Africa,” says Rose in an interview with BMWK.
So, in an effort to teach the joy of Yorùbá along with other languages of Africa, they have published two alphabet coloring books and one Yorùbá Cultural Dictionary through their company Ayo Books.
And it’s quite appropriate since Ayo, meaning “Joy,” is the feeling the sisters aim to bring to those new to the language.
“There are products that exist for parents who want their children to know about Africa and to remove the negative perpetuation of Africa that currently exists,” Rose explains.
Primarily native to West Africa and spoken by over 40 million Nigerians, these languages are also spoken in communities in other parts of Africa, Europe, and the Americas .
With these books, Yorùbá and Igbo can be taught in a fun and interesting way to children ages 3 and up, or even to those adults curious about the language.
And they aren’t stopping there. Their books and materials can be used by families and educators alike.
“Our mission is to cover the major areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and introduce its beauty to the world,” says Claudette.
In addition to the books already published, the sisters plan to introduce various other African languages and cultural practices through art activity packs and a calendar in 2016.
In fact, coming soon will be the Hausa Joy Pack. Like its Yorùbá and Igbo counterparts, it will include an alphabet book as well as an illustrated alphabet and number chart.
For more on Ayo Books or to purchase their products, you can visit their website at www.ayobooks.com.