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Publishers challenged to publish children’s books

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Publishers and writers have been urged to publish more children’s books as one way of promoting reading culture.

The call comes in timely as, on March 3, the world commemorated World Book Day under the theme ‘You Are A Reader’, with a continued commitment to promote reading for pleasure and offer every child a book of their own.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the World Book Day.

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World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to promote reading, publishing and copyright.

The government, through the Ministry of Education, says book publishers in the country need to strive to publish quality books for children as a way of inculcating a reading culture among children in the country.

Speaking during the launch of a one-week long training for publishers, illustrators and aspiring writers, Director of Administration in the Ministry of Education James Manyetera said publishers and writers needed to focus more on children’s books.

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“We have noticed that publishers are focusing more on where they think they will make money. However, for us to establish and grow a reading culture, we need quality books for the young generation,” Manyetera said.

He said the government was trying to enforce measures that would promote publishers’ interests in the country.

“We want to ensure that we purchase books from publishers and stock them in our libraries for accessibility. Again, we have imposed penalties on those that try to import books from outside,” Manyetera said.

Book Publishers Association of Malawi (Bpam) President Maureen Masamba said the publishing industry needs government support in capacity building and policy formulation which will encourage book publishing activities thereby inculcating and promoting reading culture among children.

“The training for children’s books development has come at an appropriate time for our publishing industry in the country because, as an industry (publishers and writers), we have been lacking skills for developing children’s story books.

This is the reason why we do not have a lot of children’s books and, more especially, in local languages,” Masamba said.

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