Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Q&A with Ruby Yayra Goka

Ruby Yayra Goka is the author of the children's picture book Mama's Amazing Cover Cloth. Her many other books include Plain Yellow and Perfectly Imperfect. Also a dentist, she lives in Accra, Ghana.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Mama's Amazing Cover Cloth?

A: I had recently moved out of the capital, Accra, to a district hospital and I kept noticing that all the new mothers who came to the post-natal clinics with their babies, kept the babies out of sight by draping a cover cloth over their shoulders which completely covered the babies in their arms (that illustration isn’t in the book). I thought that was interesting but didn’t think much of it.

After a while I was able to tell which of my patients waiting in the reception had disfiguring tumours or abscesses because they kept their faces hidden by draping a cover cloth over their heads.

That set me to wondering what other uses the cover cloth could be put to. The book came out of those thoughts.

Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?

A: I hope first of all that kids enjoy the story and the illustrations and that they have fun acting out the different uses of the cloth. But more importantly, I hope children and young writers get to see that stories are all around us. Everyday things, ordinary things, daily things we use can tell stories.

Q: What do you think Edmund Opare's illustrations add to the book?

A: I love, love, love Mr. Opare’s illustrations. He absolutely brought the text to life. And I’m happy that kids who can’t read yet, can look at the pictures and know what is happening and tell their own stories. The illustrations are absolutely incredible.

Q: What are some of your favorite picture books?

A: I adore The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, the retelling of Fly, Eagle, Fly by Christopher Gregorowski, Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare, Grandma’s List by Portia Dery, all the Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child, and all the Jamela books by Niki Daly.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’ve just finished a picture book based on my 5-year-old nephew, titled Sela Gets a Haircut. I’m currently involved in a book series featuring three cousins who travel back in time to various parts of the continent in a magical trotro. It should be out for sale later this year.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Keep the child in you alive. You’re never too old to enjoy a children’s book.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Mama's Amazing Cover Cloth is a winner of the Children's Africana Book Awards

No comments:

Post a Comment