I’m thrilled to welcome Ayo Wilson to my blog today! Ayo and I first met at church, she was an incredible volunteer teaching sweet preschoolers and I knew immediately that she was wonderful with children. We hadn’t connected for a few years, then my sister-in-law posted about this incredible new water-bottle designed for little ones to help them learn the alphabet. I was delighted to see it was designed by Ayo! I was so impressed with her creation, the Ayolly. And now, a wonderful new book, Meet my Africa. Read below what inspired her to write this book, and pick up a copy. It’s so beautifully done, I love the heart behind it – guiding us to always be learning from each other. Congrats Ayo, on your wonderful endeavours! 

Guest post by Ayo Wilson…

Africa is a continent that piques the curiosity of many people, especially children. Originally from Nigeria, my family and I moved to Canada in 2016. Here in the Niagara region, I have the privilege of working as an Early Childhood Educator. While my primary focus is teaching kindergarteners, I have also worked with elementary students in various settings. My unique accent often draws the attention of the children, leading them to ask many questions about Africa. I’ve incorporated lessons, activities, and even school-wide events like International Day to share African culture with them.

My students’ curiosity about Africa was boundless. They were fascinated by everything, from the rhythmic beats of African drums to the vibrant colors of traditional attire. They asked about the daily routines of African families, the flavors of African cuisine, the different languages spoken across the continent, and even the architectural styles of African homes. One particularly curious student once asked me with wide-eyed wonder, “Do lions really roam freely in Africa?” These questions were a testament to their thirst for knowledge about the world around them.

Just as my students were inquisitive about Africa, I found myself equally intrigued by Canada, my new home away from home. Its beauty, the peaceful coexistence of diverse cultures, numerous lakes, the passion for hockey, and even the omnipresence of Tim Hortons have all contributed to my understanding. I remember a kindergartener kindly correcting my pronunciation of the letter “Z,” explaining, “You know, here in Canada, we only say Zed, not Zee.” This experience illustrated the mutual learning process we all engage in, highlighting how curiosity helps us understand the world.

My book, Meet My Africa, was motivated by my students’ eagerness to learn about Africa and my passion for teaching. The aim is to educate young readers about the continent’s diverse cultures and challenge prevailing stereotypes. Through its pages, readers will journey across Africa, meet people from different backgrounds, explore iconic landmarks, and uncover fascinating facts that set Africa apart.

At the heart of Meet My Africa lies a profound message of interconnectedness. Despite the apparent differences in appearance, clothing, cuisine, and customs, we are all bound by our shared humanity. We pave the way for a more enlightened and inclusive society by celebrating these similarities and embracing our differences. Through education and exploration, we empower the next generation to embrace diversity and foster mutual respect and understanding.

Thank you Ayo for sharing with us! Click here to learn more about Ayo, and Meet my Africa.