Open Hearts Big Dreams (OHBD) and Etan Comics, the company behind the first Ethiopian superhero Jember, are beginning a special partnership.
The collaboration expands the audience for Jember’s children’s book by making it accessible in numerous new languages and formats.
Jember’s author and creator, Beserat Debebe, grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Beserat developed a passion for graphic novels as a result of growing up seeing animated stories on television and in movies.
He was unable to locate any tales with Ethiopian protagonists, and he also observed that the majority of tales about Africa tended to reinforce derogatory notions and preconceptions about Africans.
In 2018, he established Etan Comics, a Pan-African entertainment business known for publishing graphic novels and African comics written and illustrated by African authors. These aesthetically appealing tales help Black children connect with their African ancestry.
Jember was made available by Etan as a graphic novel and a hardcover, bilingual children’s book in Amharic and English. The African Speculative Fiction Society nominated the graphic novel for a Nommo Award for “Best Comic or Graphic Novel.”
In commemoration of Black History Month, OHBD collaborated with Etan to produce the children’s book in new paperback and eBook forms in eleven more languages.
Together with special gifts and prizes for this event, OHBD will also provide.
“We have already seen how important it has been for our fans to be able to access our books in Amharic, Beserat said in response to the significance of the collaboration. They have used it to improve their reading abilities, connect with their heritage, and gain self-confidence in addition to learning the language. As there are so few uplifting stories in the Ethiopian and African communities, we see this as part of our social obligation. This is why the partnership with OHBD is so significant. I adore the work OHBD has been doing for the past five years to raise reading levels in Ethiopia. Children ages 0 to 14 make up more than 40% of the Ethiopian population. Students should have access to high-quality literature that inspire them to dream larger and provide them the tools to do so.”
Yonatan is an illustrator and graphic designer from Ethiopia. Nigerian illustrator and backdrop artist Michael Okoroagha creates images.