International Alum Publishes Children’s Books in Kenya

By | January 18, 2022

Daemen College alum Berttila Kithia ’21 recently published two children’s educational books in Kenya, her native country.

Bertilla Kithia

Her first book titled, Scouts Camp and Other Stories, includes four stories: The New Neighbors, The Birthday Party, The Scouts Camp, and The Cyberbully.

Kithia’s stories are educational for children on topics that include non-discrimination, family, the importance of first-aid and what to do in emergency situations, technology and cyber safety, sportsmanship and honesty, and environmental consciousness. These themes woven into the country’s new Competence Based Curriculum, a key educational initiative in Kenya. 

Overall, Kithia said her books feature universal themes that can benefit every child. 

“I have a passion for teaching children life skills and lessons I wish I knew as a young person,” she said. 

Shortly after graduating from Daemen, Kithia wrote two other stories that were published in the second book she co-authored, titled The Big Race and Other Stories

Kithia’s books are currently available in Kenyan bookstores and select supermarkets. 

Drawn to Daemen

Kithia’s penchant for writing began at a young age, and she was inspired to author her own children’s books by her mother, Pauline Kea, a well-established Kiswahili author.

Kithia was attracted to Daemen’s English program for its specialization in professional writing and rhetoric.

“The program was in line with where I wanted my career to progress,” she said. “It was a great experience for me. The professors are skilled in their field and devoted to teaching. Since graduation, I have maintained relationships with them.”

While in Amherst, she contributed short stories and poetry to the campus literary magazine, Iconoclast

“My advice for current Daemen students is to always believe in yourself and submit your stories to publications – with Iconoclast being a good place to start,” she said. “The editors are encouraging and willing to help.”

Kithia currently resides in New York City and works as a tutor for children. She will soon begin substitute teaching as well. 

“I love witnessing my students improve and grow. I hope the students who read my stories will learn from them and become better humans,” she said.

This fall, she plans to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in creative writing.

She added, “My heart is in writing. I have a couple of projects in the works, one being a book I plan to publish later this year.”

Kithia hopes her books will eventually be published in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.