By Henry Akubuiro
The Unique Prize-Giving Day, Tofunmi Akinyemi, Jochebed Publishing House, Akure, 2019, pp. 56
In today’s world, the Internet, social media and television are adversely affecting children. The unfettered freedom children enjoy today wasn’t the same in the past, with many parents now spending more time outside the home to make ends meet. Added to peer pressure, today’s children have become endangered species.
One of the ways Tofunmi Akinyemi has chosen to reverse this trend is by deploying religious precepts in her book, The Unique Prize-Giving Day, the fifth in the “Living Bread Book” series. The author believes that, if you raise children in a Christian way, they will grow up to shun antisocial vices detrimental to their wellbeing and that of the larger society.
The title of the book might suggest a work of fiction, but it is not. It is a nonfiction in which the author uses pedagogy to impart useful, moral, religious lessons, drawing strength from the Bible.
Being an evangelist herself, the author uses The Unique Prize-Giving Day as a vehicle to preach the second coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, children are familiar with prize-giving day as a special day where the talented and most intelligent are rewarded.
In the “Living Bread Books” series, the author is sold to assisting children in their formative years to find Christ, become fully rooted in Him, be instruments of helping others to achieve the same result, as well as make heaven at last.
The Unique Prize-Giving Day is a book in four chapters-— “A School Prize-Giving Ceremony”, “The Unique Prize-Giving Day”, “Preparations for the D-Day!”, and God Loves You.”
The author, in the first chapter, defines what a school prize-giving day denotes and the rewards that go with it, which are aimed at challenging students and pupils to work harder in their studies. “This is to help them achieve excellent performance,” she notes.
The author recalls a memorable prize-giving ceremony she attended where a boy named David put up an outstanding performance that earned him many prizes. The chapter also contains lessons to be drawn from David’s success in the hope that the child reader reading the book would take a cue. She also leaves the reader with a word of encouragement, an assignment to embark on and key words to assimilate.
In the second chapter, the author explains the meaning of a unique prize-giving day, which is meant for everybody, regardless of age, sex or status. The author alerts the reader that this particular prize “is when Jesus Christ will come to give rewards to people based on their work on earth.” This unique prize-giving day, she adds, will take place at the end of one’s life. So we have to be careful about the kind of life we live on earth, because there is no second chance after the unique prize-giving day.
The author informs the reader that every second of his or her life is being recorded, upon which rewards, positive or negative, are to be unfurled. Among others, the reward will be based on whether you are truly born again, how well you have worked for God after being born again and whether you have lived in obedience to God till the end of your life. Prizes, such as crown for soul-winning, righteousness and glory, are part of the mouthwatering rewards.
The third chapter prepares the mind of the audience on D-Day. Here, the book seeks to inculcate in the young mind that the greatest preparation for the D-Day is to be truly born again. They have to live a holy life and win souls for Christ. How do you react when you are insulted or persecuted for preaching the gospel? This is contained on pages 35-36. From the definition of keywords at the end of the book, the author makes more effort to broaden the word base of the young reader.
Besides, the book reassures the target audience that God loves them. It is this love that made Him send His son, Jesus, to die for our sins. This chapter stresses the fact that salvation is by grace. If offers hints on steps to be taken to be saved. There is an affirmation that you are now God’s child once you have taken all the steps recorded in the book.
One of the bonuses in the offering is the author’s simple prescriptions to the young minds on how to grow in Christ, including reading the Bible regularly.
Catch them young: this echoes throughout the book. It’s not just a book that emphasises on exemplary Christian living from a gender age; it teaches why it’s important and how to achieve this purpose seamlessly. I would like to recommend this title to pupils and students.