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14 publishers participate in 2021 book fair

The best publisher’s children’s books are to be awarded while closing an ongoing book fair in which 14   publishers participate are participating.

The book fair started on Monday September 27 and will run up to October 1 this year at Kigali’s Public Library located in Kacyiru sector, Kigali city.

The publishers in the exhibition include Bakame Editions, Furaha Publishers, Espace, Literaire Soma, Kibondo Editions, We4kids Publishers, Perdua Publishers,Cactus Publishers,School Books Distributors ,Arise Education, Highland Publishers,Mudacumura Publishers and Rise and Shine Publishers.

Isae Micomyiza, the Head of Rwanda Children’s Books Organization said that it is an opportunity for publishers to even exhibit newly published children’s books.

“We are working together to ensure publishers issue quality books and help them get the market for them. The collaboration with libraries will help to enhance the culture of reading and writing among children,” he said.

He said that the best published children’s books are set to be awarded.

These include the best children’s book with the outstanding, the book with outstanding illustration, the book with outstanding design and inclusive children’s book.

He said that the publishers are still facing challenges to get to market due to low reading culture and parents’ poor mindset.

“The reading culture is still very low. Today the main challenge is that books are published but there are very few sellers of books and most are based in Kigali. Normally publishers should not be the ones to sell books. There must be sellers of books as another chain,” he said.

He added that the book fair both benefits publishers, children and their parents as well as people who are interested in book selling.

Sylvain Mudahinyuka, the Acting Managing Director of Kigali’s Public Library said that the library is offering space for book fairs so as to stimulate the culture of writing and reading.

He said that the library houses over 56,000 books that are physically accessible and about 800 digital books.

“We have also allowed digital books in other libraries including international libraries as a way of collaboration,” he said

He said that exhibiting books and giving them space in libraries will also attract buyers and those who seek to invest in book selling.

“We have to prepare our kids very early to stimulate their interest in reading. This will address challenges where publishers’ books are not accessing the market. We are going to dedicate a space for more children’s books publishers at the library so that those who come to read can also be interested in buying the books,” he said.

Only nine per cent of parents read a story to a child, according to data by Save the Children, and three per cent of the children have at least read a Kinyarwanda storybook.

75 per cent of the parents point to the scarcity of children storybooks as one of the major challenges

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