Atinuke was born in Nigeria and spent her childhood in both Africa and the UK. She is the author of the bestselling Anna Hibiscus and No. 1 Car Spotter series, as well as Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country.
Atinuke_ Credit Paul Musso

What was your favourite childhood book and why?

As a child I loved books that allowed me to have experiences that I was longing for in my own life. So first l loved “Milly, Molly, Mandy” who got to live with her extended family and go on errands on her own. Then I loved Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series – those girls had so much fun together! And I loved Astrid Lingren’s “Karlsson on the Roof” series. Karlsson’s naughtiness and could-not-care-less attitude was mesmerising to an obedient Nigerian girl like me!

A book I wish I had read as a child is Astrid Lingren’s “The Brother’s Lionheart” – its’ so full of wisdom and courage!

Which of your own books is your favourite and why?

Oh I can’t pick!

“The No.1 Car Spotter and the Car Thieves” is a great adventure. And “Baby Goes To Market” is great fun. It took 10 years to perfect so I am super proud of it! But I’m mostly proud of my books that explore hard issues whilst keeping grounded firmly in joy. “You’re Amazing Anna Hibiscus” explores bullying and grief. “The No.1 Car Spotter Fights the Factory” explores corruption and pollution and greed. “Too Small Tola Gets Tough” explores child labour, and poverty.

So many children experience these realities. I want to remind the world of this. And remind those children that they are not alone!

Why do you choose to read?

I read to relax, to have adventures, for comfort, to learn, to explore and to broaden my horizons. In a book I can travel anywhere, do anything, experience everything! Picture books are still teaching me about love.