Children's Literature - Beverly KobrinNigerian children of the same general age find themselves in an Ogbo, Sharing Life in an African Village. An ogbo (or-BO) contributes to the community's well being as its members learn to appreciate their position in the village hierarchy and to respect the roles and wisdom of others. Author/photographer Ifeoma Onyefulu focuses on six-year-old Obioma who describes her family and each of their ogbos. Obioma's father, for instance, belongs to one called Igwebike-"together is strength"-whose members built the first nursery school in the village. Her mother's ogbo, Obinwanne- "the kind heart of a sister or brother"-helps keep the main stream clean and cares for the ill. By the time she is ten years old, Obioma will come to know the other members of her ogbo, and together they will assume responsibility for some aspect of village life. Belonging to an ogbo, she concludes, is like belonging to one big family.
Children's Literature - Susie WildeSummer can be a wonderful time for exploring, not just outside in the world, but with books. When it's hot and humid outside, consider discovering history. It's a wonderful escape and there have been a number of new books that make for great portals, not just to the past, but to family discussion. Ifeoma Onyefulu's third book uses vivid photographs and the voice of a young Nigerian girl to explain the age-old African tradition of Ogbo, which creates a community of children born within a five year period and together all Ogbo support their village.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 1-5-Onyefulu's vibrant full-color photography and clear, direct language communicate images of African village life that are aesthetically appealing and also real. She focuses on the role of "age sets" in an Igbo village as six-year-old Obioma explains that "no one is born alone" among her people. The child goes on to tell about the activities of her age group or ogbo and those to which the various members of her family belong. As each group is shown working and playing together, readers get a firsthand look at customs that are too often portrayed as simply exotic. Ogbo is unique in showing children the actual human dynamics of a culture different from their own. An author's note and parenthetical pronunciation guides will be helpful to adults introducing the book. Appealing across a wide age range, this superb title shows one of the ways in which an African culture raises youngsters, by assuring that every individual belongs and grows with its group into progressive levels of community responsibility.-Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD
Hazel RochmanA welcome change from the generic African stories set in the picturesque past, this photo-essay describes daily life in eastern Nigeria by focusing on social relationships. A child explains that everyone born within a five-year period belongs to an "ogbo", or age group, and the members have a lifelong responsibility for each other and for working together in the community. Some stay active, and some leave (like author Onyefulu, who visits from her home in London), but they remain part of their "ogbo" throughout their lives. Bright, framed color photos show the child's father with his "ogbo" building a nursery school and voting on how to provide electricity for the village. Her mother's "ogbo" is working on people's farms and performing at special events. Her uncle works in the city and brings home new ideas. The child's narrative voice is occasionally cute and exclamatory, and a few pictures appear stiffly posed, but, in general, this is an unforced way of talking about work, play, customs, art, and beliefs in a contemporary community.
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