‘The Royal Visit’, the first in the series of Ranti Akintobi’s T & T Nubian adventure series for children ages five to 11, has been released.
The T&T Nubian Adventure stories centre on an African royal family living in a country called Lafiya. It is ruled by an ‘Obabirin’, a female king called Queen Lara.
‘The Royal Visit’ introduces the main characters of Lafiya and narrates the Queen’s visit to Rugare kingdom to visit her brother and his family.
During the visit, she uses her magical powers to enable the princesses to communicate with animals when they go on an adventure to the royal zoo.
The princesses have a wonderful experience listening to an African tale narrated by one of the animals.
Speaking about the first of five books, Akintobi, a finance manager who currently resides in the Netherlands, said she was inspired to write it as a prerequisite to animation series that can be watched mainstream.
She expressed sadness that several African children have no access to books and felt it was time for action. “I feel it’s such a shame that underprivileged children have limited or no access to books via their schools. Public (government) schools are known not even to have libraries. While we may argue that a child’s development is dependent on educational books, I feel it’s equally important that children have access to literature to develop their creativity, imagination, and vocabulary,” she said.
On her inspiration for the book, Akintobi said she feels children of African descendants worldwide should have the option of seeing mainstream animated characters that look like them. “It was also paramount to me that an African tell the story that Africans can connect with. My main aim is to ignite the African culture in children all over the world and bring the culture to them through stories.”
On what she intends to communicate to the reader with her depiction of human and animal communication, Akintobi explained: “There’s nothing, in particular, I’m trying to communicate to readers here about talking to animals. This is a children’s book that has an element of fantasy and encourages wild imagination just like any of the Disney/ Hollywood children’s animated series or movies that our kids love to watch.”
Asked if her depiction of female characters in the book deliberately challenged negative female stereotypes, Akintobi said it wasn’t her intention.
“I just thought having a female king like Queen Elizabeth will make the series more interesting. Especially with the fact that that was not the case in the history of Lafiya. I hope to publish a story about that someday. I also wanted to show that all descendants of the Lafiya royal family (whether male or female) were powerful and special. You will see that I described Queen Lara’s brother as very handsome and strong like a tiger who is a great warrior known in other kingdoms across Africa,” she said.