From left: Library Director Monique Alberts and Public Relations Officer Maryland Powell receiving copies of the book series “Childhood Cultures: Bouba & Zaza” from St. Maarten National Commission for UNESCO Secretary-General Marcellia Henry.
PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Secretary-General Marcellia Henry presented Philipsburg Jubilee Library Director Monique Alberts and Children’s Librarian and Public Relations Officer Maryland Powell with twelve books from the book series Childhood Cultures: Bouba & Zaza to circulate to the community at large.
These books were donated to the Library in connection with United Nations Universal Children’s Day, which is observed November 20. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1959. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal, describe Childhood Cultures as “an intergenerational African series of children’s books.”
Through the experiences of the main characters Bouba and Zaza, the series seeks to develop among children life and socialisation skills outside the family context. It is also aimed at parents, teachers, caretakers and mentors.
The lessons and concepts include various topics, such as the issue of water resources and environmental protection, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, saying “no” to sexual advances, and moral values.
The series is designed to assist communities and their children to discuss and find proper solutions for these problems. Addressing these spoken and unspoken topics is to help the community and children to better adapt to their environment. The books assist with the improvement of children’s communication skills, their sense of responsibility and their ideas of justice.
The 12 books received from UNESCO representative Henry cover concepts and themes that are universal, not specific only to an African setting.
“These topics are affecting lives worldwide, in the nearby Caribbean and, of course, St. Maarten,” Henry stated. “As our cultures are entwined we can relate to some, if not all these issues that the series Childhood Cultures discusses.”
Henry said the series bridges the gap between schools, family and the local environment. “The experiences encourage dialogue and discussion of current topics that are important, but sensitive.”
The series is now available to the public at the Library.