Bringing African history to life

BY Justine Sousa, Krishen Persad and Rohit Rana

Oakville author releases new children’s book.

Idia of the Benin Kingdom is a new children’s book by Ekiuwa Aire, a Nigerian-Canadian author from Oakville. Her illustrative retelling of an ancient story brings African history to life.

Aire is a first-generation Canadian with two daughters. They enjoy reading stories together, but she felt the need for a children’s book that celebrates her African culture.

Aire moved from Benin City in Nigeria to Oakville in 2007. She has been working as a data analyst before branching out to become an author. This book is the first of many children’s books for Aire.

Photo by Our Ancestories

Idia of the Benin Kingdom is a children’s book based on a historic African princess warrior who ruled the Benin Kingdom 500 years ago. She is widely adored for her leadership, strength and poise.

This story depicts African culture and traditions in a way that is informative and visually appealing to children. The Cinderella story is not the only story that Ekiuwa wants her children to read. She wants her children to know where they come from and what they can achieve.

Aire started her own publishing house prior to the release, Our Ancestories which engages people in African culture with stories, merchandise and articles.

Idia of the Benin Kingdom is now available for pre-order. The book will be released on December 7.

Aire is already working on her next project, titled Queen of Nzinga of Ndongo. It is a story about a princess from the kingdom of Ndongo, modern-day Angola.

Aire will be doing an online reading of her new book, on November 27 at 6PM as part of the Black Friday: Children’s Virtual Book Fair Online Event.

African-American history books for children

Here is a list of other popular children’s books that tell stories of African-American history, including authors such as Barack Obama and Neil Degrasse Tyson.