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Tokmakova, Irina

Far - Nigeria. Signed and inscribed by the illustrator.

Far - Nigeria. Signed and inscribed by the illustrator.

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Boston Book Fair 2023 / Children books / Illustrated books
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Tokmakova, Irina. [Far - Nigeria: A poetic essays]. Daleko - Nigeriia: Poeticheskie ocherki.

Illustrated by L. Tokmakov.

Moskva, "Detskaia literatura", 1975.
8vo, 46, [2] pp., ill.

In original pictorial wrappers.
In good condition, wear to wrappers and spine fold, small stains to front cover and some page extremities.

Signed and inscribed by the illustrator to title page: “Miloi I slavnoi Galine Ivanovne /Kamzolovoi ot nastoiashchego afrikanskogo l'va / L. Tokmakov 1975” [To Galina Ivanovna Kamzolova, who is sweet and glorious, from the genuine African Lion. L. Tokmakov. 1975]. First and only edition.

This book focuses into the vibrant aspects of Nigeria, exploring its daily life, providing a brief historical overview, showcasing its capital Lagos and nature, and primarily focusing on children. It was written as a personal account of a real journey. The book concludes with three fairy tales about tricky tortoise, lion and peasant (were also published in the 'Koster' children's magazine in February 1975). This book places special emphasis on the education system in Nigeria, highlighting the unfortunate reality that many children did not have the opportunity to attend school due to the high costs involved. However, significant changes occurred in 1976 when General Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Head of State, introduced the Universal Basic Education Scheme across all 19 states of Nigeria. This initiative made education universally accessible and free throughout the country.
The author of this book, Irina Tokmakova (1929-2018), was a celebrated children's writer, poet, playwright, and renowned translator. Among her notable translations are Astrid Lindgren's 'Mio, My Son', Lewis Carroll's Alice, Tove Jansson's Moomin books, Selma Lagerlof's 'The Wonderful Adventures of Nils', etc.
The illustrations for this book were created by Lev Tokmakov (1928-2010), a prominent book artist and the husband of Irina. Lev studied at the Moscow Institute for the Decorative and Applied Arts (formerly Stroganov School for Technical Drawing) and later contributed to children's magazines like 'Murzika' and 'Veselie Kartinki'. The couple often collaborated on their projects. It is known that they embarked on journeys to Africa in 1969 and 1976, visiting countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as Senegal, Guinea, and Algeria. In 1972, Irina visited Nigeria and delivered lectures on children's literature to local writers. Most likely, this book emerged as a result of this travel.
Interestingly, the illustrator incorporated the word 'lev' (also his name) into his inscription, which means 'lion' in Russian.

OCLC locates one copy of this edition in the USA only: in the Amherst College Library. There are more two copies: in the Berlin State Library (Germany) and the Swiss Institute for Children's and Youth Media. 

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