Why A French Bookstore?

Someone asked me.. Is it only French books you sell? Like ONLY French? I replied him, ‘yes’. He was puzzled 😅

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People ask me, why did you choose to start Ma Petite France. I say, I wanted to make French learning fun for kids. Why? Because so many kids find it boring, difficult and not necessary. I felt the same way for a long time... till 2015.

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So I was in my third year and couldn’t wait to be done with the language course I was studying (French) so I could go on with my dream of becoming a broadcast journalist. I decided to take a 4 months immersive program in France after my 6 months program at the Nigerian French Language Village.

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Let’s just say that experience was eye opening. I saw that learning a language wasn’t actually difficult (You’d understand if you studied this in the university). We had more time for oral classes, listening exercises and French grammar wasn’t all that bad.

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One day, as I was touring the centre ville, i saw a bookstore and went in. Guys!! The books I saw, the toys, games, books. I didn’t want to leave. As I kept walking aisle to aisle. I saw children’s books, grammar books (we used photocopies in school 🤣- terrible for someone like me who prefers reading solid hard copy books). I then said to myself. I wish others could have this opportunity. To read books other than la conjugaison (photocopy), difficultés expliquées du Français(photocopy🤣) and grow their vocabulary.

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Plus I’ve always had this weird relationship with books. I had a library when I was younger because my I loved to read -scratch that.. my dad forced me to read a book, threatening to whip me if I hadn’t finished it by the time he got back from work. <Little Red Riding Hood> was the title. I cried that day😂. Another time, I stuffed my school bag with my daddy’s big books. As I was about heading out the door I was stopped by both my parents who wondered why my bag looked extraordinarily heavy. When they opened it, they saw heaps of books I couldn’t even read 😂. I’m not telling you what my explanation was. Lol.

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Back to my story. I wanted to buy books and take them back to Nigeria to sell to my classmates (there really was no major place to buy quality language learning materials).I also fell in love with the children’s books and felt if I had been exposed to them while growing up. It would have helped me greatly. You see, I had a French tutor growing up (lesson teacher). My dad had always wanted me and my brother to learn a foreign language and play a musical instrument. Lol to that because I lost interest in the latter and conjugations and boring teachers in Secondary school frustrated the work my primary school tutor had done. So I said to myself.. let’s make it better for children of this generation. I’ll help them love learning French. If they can learn it properly right from early primary to late Secondary school. We can really raise bilingual kids. I even reached out to my uncle who owned a school and discussed the idea with him.

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Well, December 23rd 2015, I left France and forgot about that dream. I graduated and went on to serve and later work at Channels Television as an associate presenter and reporter. Everything was well and good till January 2018. I walked into a bookstore in Allen, Ikeja and the feeling came back to me. I asked if they had French books for kids to which the shop attendant responded in the negative. Immediately I knew what I had to do. I wrote a very long email to my dad (my day 1😘) more like a proposal, explaining to him what I wanted to do and the problems it’ll solve. I had to add (Daddy, it’s just something by the side o. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep my job. 😂)

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He agreed immediately and then work began...

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