Welcome to Nigeria

Welcome to Nigeria

Submitter: This book is from a junior non-fiction series clearly designed for research projects. It was probably ok when it was published — 15 years ago. But culture has moved on and many new things could be added, which is why books like this need to be eliminated in favour of more detailed and current information in databases. This book was not only in a library with great internet access (in a city with widespread access), there is a significant Nigerian population [here]. I would be embarrassed if my Nigerian neighbours saw one of my kids getting lame, out of date information from this book. There is a sort of wishful naive thinking with a lot of the writing on colonialism in particular, using an “objective” tone to present facts without the contexts of racism or mentioning economic exploitation. The artist and writer section is woefully out of date – how are you going to write a book on Nigeria without including who the Man Booker committee called “the father of modern African writing” Chinua Achebe? The section on how unskilled everyone is in Nigeria is positively cringe-worthy. There is a dominant narrative of Nigerians as simple, backwards people that does not belong in a public library in 2017.

Holly: It’s funny how the older you get, the more recent dates seem that were actually 15 years ago. That’s right, folks, 2002 was 15 loooong years ago. Country books have a shorter shelf life than you may realize. Cultural terms used to describe the people, significant national events, statistics cited – even the fashion depicted by the people pictured – all date these books pretty quickly. Submitter points out some other reasons that this particular book needs to be replaced with something more recent and with a different tone. Submitter’s town has a large Nigerian population, which means that children will want to learn about that culture. Nigerian children should have access to materials about their heritage, and other children should learn about their Nigerian friends and neighbors from sources that are accurate.

Trade and Christianity

The first Europeans

Colonization and Independence





  1. Yet for some reason the book does not delve into the plentiful, prosperous, generous princes we all hear so much of via email.

    1. I don’t know why they are all supposedly Nigerian. Advance fee frauds come from many places. Last I heard Romania was more notorious for them than Nigeria.

  2. Oh boy. Been fighting The Battle of Bad Country Books for three years in the library of a private school. When public libraries regularly discard these books when they are only 1-2 yrs old due to lack of circulation, they can be snagged on the cheap from sites like ebay.com. Currency is a big problem in resources like this, but replacing outdated copies (for students required to use books) need not be a budget-busting exercise.

  3. I think the book’s text might actually be older than 15 years. Flora Nwapa, who is listed as (1931 – ) died in 1993…

  4. Oh, how I envy the English-language book world and its opportunities to update categories like this one! Books about countries for children have become vanishingly rare in Swedish in the last decade. There’s no market for it, since, as you say, it needs to be updated so frequently. So instead we’re supposed to find everything online, but information about countries online in Swedish is rarely accessible to young children either… and so we’re left with outdated books and/or too difficult texts. /whining

    1. I hadn’t even thought about collection development challenges for non-English grade schools.

      1. It can be challenging! For instance, here are all the nonfiction Swedish-language books for children about African countries, currently being sold in one of the major online bookstores (and as you can see, two of them are quite old): http://www.bokus.com/cgi-bin/product_search.cgi?browsing=subjects&language=Svenska&subject=1.2.12%2C101.3

        But I shouldn’t complain too much – Swedish still has a pretty decent output of books compared to most languages!

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