Chatting with Mansa - Bringing SDGs to Life Through Children's Stories

Chatting with Mansa - Bringing SDGs to Life Through Children's Stories

Last month, Booksie had a wonderful chat with Fui on the SDG changemaker series. This month, we are bringing to you, a sequel of the SDG changemaker series with Fui’s partner, Mansa.  We had the pleasure of speaking with Mansa, a writer and product manager with a passion for design and health technology. Mansa's journey into creating Ghanaian-themed activities and stories for children is both inspiring and insightful. Let's get into her experience writing stories on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for young readers.

Inspiration and Goals

Mansa was inspired to create Ghanaian-themed activities during her MPhil degree in English. Her journey took a significant turn when she, alongside author Fui Can-Tamakloe, was contracted by NNF Esquire Limited to rewrite comprehension passages for English textbooks. This collaboration led to Mansa being asked to lead the writing of SDG-themed stories for children.

The idea to publish books on the SDGs came from Mr. Frank Segbawu, the Managing Director of NNF Esquire Limited, after he was struck by the amount of plastic waste on a beach. Initially, the plan was to write ten stories, six of which needed rewriting. Mansa proposed adding thirteen more stories, bringing the total to nineteen, which was an ambitious but exciting project.

Story Development

Mansa approached story development with a journal filled with ideas and extensive research on each SDG. She wanted the first book in the series to be a playful introduction to the SDGs, leading to the creation of a colouring book titled "Going Green with Grandma Grace." This story explores the bond between a child and their grandparent, who is actively involved in community work.

Other stories, like "Where’s Zoozoo’s Cake?" and "Neira Returns to School," were inspired by Mansa's love for animals and her desire to highlight the importance of education, especially for girls. Each story was carefully researched and written with a playful yet educational tone, making the concepts accessible to children.

Character Development

Mansa drew inspiration for her characters from her own experiences growing up. She emphasized the importance of creating realistic backstories for each character, making them relatable and engaging for young readers. This approach ensures that children can see themselves in the stories and learn from the characters' experiences.


Challenges Faced

One of the major challenges Mansa faced was time constraints. Working on such a large project required her to find time to brainstorm, write, and revise. She took long evening walks to reimagine and refine her stories, which helped her overcome the pressure and stay creative.

Impact and Reception

The response to the SDG stories has been overwhelmingly positive. Educators, principals, and children have appreciated the colourful illustrations and the inclusion of diverse characters. The stories break down complex SDG concepts into simple, understandable elements, making them accessible to young readers. Mansa finds it heartwarming to see the positive impact her work has on children and educators alike.

Future Projects

Mansa has exciting plans for the future. She anticipates that the SDG books will be transformed into other forms of art, such as plays and animations. Additionally, she is working on a project called "Sutherland," a children's literature-based programme that integrates architecture, design, engineering, fashion, food, and photography. This project aims to provide a holistic and engaging learning experience for children and is set to launch by the end of the third quarter.

Advice for Aspiring Writers

Mansa encourages aspiring writers to read widely, write consistently, and follow their curiosity. She advises breaking free from rigid writing rules and experimenting with different styles and genres. Her approach to writing has been liberating, allowing her to create magic through her words and inspire young readers.

Mansa's journey in creating SDG-themed stories for children is a testament to the power of storytelling in educating and inspiring young minds. At Booksie, we are proud to share her story and look forward to the continued impact of her work.

To browse the SDG changemakers books collection, visit our website.
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