Children's literature as an image-forming force: case study of Ezekiel Alembi's books
Weche, Michael Oyoo
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The main objective of this study is to find out the kind of influence Alembi's children's storybooks have on children who read them. Underlying the study are two main assumptions: that the writer's works have a great influence on the Kenyan child's moral and social development, and that through the books, he, consciously or unconsciously influences the young Kenyan reader's world view. Primary sources consist of the use of interview questions in our discussion with the respondents in order to elicit their response. Secondary sources consist mainly of library research on critical works on children's literature, aimed at finding out the relationship between criticism and Alembi's works. The primary data has been collected from four Kenyan Primary Schools. The theoretical assumptions have been proven true by the data gathered both from the field and in our analysis of the books. The findings elicited from our respondents show that Kenyan children expect books not only to entertain them but also to inform them. This finding is revealed in their overt rejection of vices such as stealing and selfishness. The readers' immediate responses to Alembi's works show that the books may have an influence on them. They reinforce their social and moral development. The responses to the books are culturally conceptualized. Thus the books enhance what the children get from education, Christianity and cultural set up. The findings are significant in understanding the potential influence that children's literature in general has on children and also the possible influence that Alembi's books in particular have on the Kenyan child reader. Understanding the influence that the books may have on the young reader should help writers and patrons of children's literature to make suitable books to Kenyan children.