Imagine the clinking of champagne glasses mingling with the excited chatter of children, laughter woven with intellectual musings, and the air thick with the scent of fragrant jollof rice and the promise of shared stories. This was the magic of the HEREL Play after-party, a vibrant soirée celebrating the launch of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s debut children’s book, “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf.”
Mama’s Sleeping Scarf is a tender tale that follows Chino, a little girl whose love for her mother’s scarf blossoms into a portal of imagination. Through the familiar folds of silk, Chino and her toy bunny embark on fantastical adventures, peeking into the lives of her family as they go about their day. Joelle Avelino’s stunning illustrations bring Chino’s world to life, celebrating the magic of family and the cherished objects that remind us of those we love.
This launch wasn’t just any party; this was a convergence of literature, philanthropy, and the infectious glow of the holiday spirit. VFD Group, Narrative Landscape Press, and GLG Communications collaborated to host this memorable after-party for Chimamanda’s latest work. The event, held at the refined HEREL Play in Lagos, transcended the typical book launch, weaving together intellectual engagement, heartwarming inclusivity, and a genuine commitment to fostering literacy.
Beyond the celebratory atmosphere, the evening held a deeper significance. VFD Group, recognizing the transformative power of literature, sponsored copies of “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” for one hundred children from underprivileged backgrounds. This gesture ensured that Adichie’s poignant tale of love and family would reach those who needed it most, enriching their lives with its message of hope and connection.
These children, immersed in various engaging activities and a captivating book reading session with Adichie herself, experienced the joy of shared stories firsthand. Each departed with a signed copy of the book and a sense of wonder, their spirits buoyed by the immersive experience. These lucky kids were then whisked away to the party itself, where a wonderland of activities awaited. Think vibrant storytelling sessions, imaginative games, and enough merriment to fill Santa’s sack. And when the last story was read and the last game was played, each child carried home a treasure trove—a signed copy of the book and a goodie bag brimming with Santa’s blessings.
Fashion designer Mai Atafo, the evening’s anchor, navigated the night with grace and style, ensuring esteemed guests and VFD Group’s management, led by GMD Nonso Okpala, felt right at home. But the real stars of the night were the guests. Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party, mingled with former Nigerian Bar Association president Olumide Akpata, while business leader and Harvard don Hakeem Belo-Osagie added a touch of academic heft to the mix. It was a gathering of brilliant minds, brought together by the gravitational pull of Chimamanda’s artistry.
Adeniyi Adenubi, co-founder and executive director at VFD Group, set the tone for the evening with heartfelt remarks. He expressed profound gratitude to Adichie for enriching the world with her stories, acknowledging the powerful impact of literature on bridging cultural divides and fostering intergenerational understanding. He spoke of his own experience as a father, the quiet intimacy of reading to his child, and the value of that shared experience.
Adichie, taking the stage, captivated the room with her characteristic eloquence. Ever the storyteller, she weaved a spell with her mother tongue, instantly creating an intimate connection with the audience. Her words, laced with sincerity and showered with blessings, emphasized the importance of shared moments, of laughter echoing across cultures, and the joy of finding solace in stories.
The HEREL Play after-party, in essence, transcended the exciting launch of a book; it was a celebration of the human spirit. It was a potent reminder that even the simplest of stories, like “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf,” can resonate across cultures, spark imaginations, and leave a lasting imprint on our hearts.
Beyond the joyful echoes of the evening, one important message lingers: a story, shared, has the power to transform lives, foster inclusivity, and connect us all. We can never overestimate the power of literature to elevate and unite. Remember that stories, like Mama’s Sleeping Scarf, have the power to bridge divides, spark imaginations, and weave a magic that lingers long after the last page is turned.