An interview with Zambian author Bwalya Penza

Zambian author Bwalya Penza with her book “Kasuba’s Inner Safari Quest”.
Zambian author Bwalya Penza with her book “Kasuba’s Inner Safari Quest”.

Born in Lusaka, Zambia and educated in England, Bwalya is a certified Adventures in Wisdom Coach and author. She helps children to overcome their fears and be true to themselves through coaching and story, so that they can feel more confident and thrive. Children’s potential and ability to learn has been underestimated. Using story-based coaching, Bwalya gives them the tools to show them their own power by helping them trust and be guided by their inner compass, find direction and create a life they are really excited about. 

In this interview, The Book Bus asks Bwalya why reading is important for children, and how parents can introduce children to the experience of reading. This is what Bwalya had to say:

Why is reading important for children?

Reading opens up a whole new world for children. It’s a way of seeking out information, or different points of view without physically going to look for it. As a child, I would read and completely immerse myself in the wonders of the story. Reading can also help children understand other people as most stories in one way or another are based on real people. When you read you can find yourself identifying with certain characters in the story or identifying people you know with the characters in the story, and you get to understand life from their point of view. Reading triggers your imagination and takes your mind on all kinds of adventures.

How can parents actively introduce their children to the experience of reading? 

My love for reading was nurtured by my mother. She was always buying books for herself and for me and my brothers. I followed the tradition when I had my daughter. I would read with her, read to her and she would read to me. Whenever she was curious about something that couldn’t help her with, I would look for books or articles about whatever it was and share them with her, and she would end up ‘schooling’ me on the topic.

If parents want to nurture reading in their children, then the parents should lead by example. Children develop habits from what they see repeated in their lives. Families could have book clubs, selecting an age-appropriate book, and setting reading targets and discussion sessions around the book. Kasuba’s Inner Safari Quest is perfect for this because at the end of each chapter there is a reflection section that ties up the chapter and gets the reader to think about how the book relates to what’s going on in their lives or previous experiences they’ve had.

The Book Bus strives to share the joy of reading with children in Zambia, providing books, storytelling materials and libraries for children and teachers. If you would like to support The Book Bus’ mission to provide opportunities through literacy, you can gift a quality book by authors like Bwalya.