8 Classic Books Every Nigerian Child From The 90’s Definitely Read
(Pre)Resumption week is here for both pupils and students of the primary and secondary school so let’s throw it back to that time between the late 90’s and the early 2000s when reading a book was really a thing of delight for the Nigerian child.
These books had a general sweep in the country; no way were you a child in Nigeria at that time and missed any of these, nope! Those of us who are good “keepers” still have our good ol’ books neatly stashed somewhere in the house, gathering dust or not.
We have made a compilation of some of the books that will always be a memorable part of our childhood:
1. Chike and the River: written by Chinua Achebe, I think this book was written with us mischievous ones in mind because it was used to caution us at school. It follows a young Chike who left his mother in the village to go to the city to study, his goal to cross the bridge to Asaba, how he missed the ferry and landed in a bus with thieves and how he now went and joined bad gang.
2. Sugar Girl: the story of the poor sweet adorable village girl Ralia who spent all day taking care of her sick parents instead of going to school because abject poverty but still won’t be left in peace by that wicked witch, Ayawa.
I mean, hello, sugar girl already had enough troubles in her life. Why must you go and kidnap her again? Na wa o.
Expectedly, sweet Ralia won the sympathy of your darling little heart and Ayawa, your curses.
The book kept you on toes because you kept anticipating what would happen next.
3. Eze Goes To School: there’s no way you didn’t have this as a primary school leaver and/or an entry student in the secondary school. A fine tale of how Eze left home to attend school.
4. Macmillan Primary English: Unarguably the best class textbook at the time. I don’t know what texts they use these days but these, these had the finest, and most engaging stories that we all could relate with, alongside its exercises.
From Ali and Simbi and Mr and Mrs Salami to Edet who lived in Calabar to Agbo who lived in the town of Lagun and Mr Nwosu with the two fat hens for Christmas, remembering these textbooks sure bring back nostalgic feelings.
(Sorry, we haven’t got an image for this but just picture a woman half-hidden behind a door, shoving a young frightened boy who is holding a thousand and one plates in both hands, the plate crashing to the floor)
5. Adereti and the Wicked Stepmother: The story of poor helpless Aderiti whose only crime was to have a stepmother. Wicked stepmothers in today’s books ain’t got nothing on this woman. Mehn, she was as mean as they came and tormented the poor soul.
But in the typical way grass to grace stories end, Adereti finally got an opportunity to bounce out of that house, forever away from the claws of his wicked stepmother.
6. Supa Strikas: Now this comic was as trendy as today’s iPhone is. Telling the stories of a team of footballers and their star player Shegz, these paperbacks won the hearts of every kid back then.
Everyone in class literally had a copy. If you didn’t, you’d gladly kneel, roll over, run errands, fan and crown an owner King just to have a read of the latest edition of what Shegz and his teammates where up to.
The boys in class took up a hobby of sketching imitation of Shegz and his pals while we girls fawned over Shegz. At least, I did 😀
7. The Archie comic: A foreign comic book series, the accident-prone freckled-face Riverdale citizen Archie Andrews and his romantic interests, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper were always a reading delight for the 90’s kid. They’re still in print and now on e-books.
8. The Ghanaian “story books”: I know I know. I mean, how can these “books” stand where they are mentioning books but we can’t ignore the fact that these “books” springing up from our neighbors swept through the county like wild fire. Laced with frightening grammar, horrific sentences and nightmarish titles like “Laila, The Snake Girl” that really gave us bad dreams, the 50NGN books were widely read by the Nigerian children.
Thankfully, we do not have any images for these atrocities.
Hopefully, we no longer have them in the market. Amen.
Now this is what we have for today’s throwback Thursday. Which of these were your favourite(s) back then?
Is there any we didn’t include there that you feel deserved to be included? Let us know in the comments section!
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