Friday, May 29, 2015

Pratham Books at Balranjan Kendra

Balranjan Kendra, Pune organised an event on 8th May, 2015 where Sandhya Taksale from Pratham Books  presented our work and our mission of getting 'a book in every child's hand.

Sandhya couldn't resist telling a story to the kids who had accompanied the parents and an impromptu storytelling session based on 'Anaya's Thumb' ensued. Sandhya also interacted with parents and shared her views on the importance of reading stories and the development of language. The parents also learnt about the different ways in which we are working towards our mission and seemed very interested in our upcoming story publishing platform and the various ways in which it can be used.

A few pictures from the event :



And to our delight, we also received pictures of this adorable young reader. This 11 month kiddo received a gift of books from her grandmum who attended the event. We wish this little one a happy reading journey :)


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meet the Author : Ken Spillman

Be it reviving ancient creatures like the elephant bird or creating endearing characters like Sringeri Srinivas, they have worked in tandem to produce books that have become popular. Featuring a series of interviews with our authors and illustrators:

Ken Spillman is one of Australia’s most versatile and prolific authors, editors and critics. He is the author of more than 35 books spanning many genres. An entertaining and inspiring speaker, Ken has presented sessions to many tens of thousands of schoolchildren in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines and Singapore.


Ken is the author of The Auto that Flew published by Pratham Books, and has also conducted storytelling sessions with Pratham books in India.

Your book starred an auto. In real life, do you enjoy traveling by autos? Was there a particular experience with one that inspired your tale?

Years ago, when I first visited India, I was hesitant to travel by auto. Traffic is far more dangerous in Australia because speeds are greater, and I needed to adjust my mindset so that I didn’t look at autos as a way of courting death. Once I started riding in autos, however, they soon became my preferred mode of transport. Riding in an auto I could feel truly part of street life, without any barrier to "the real world". The outside temperature, the changing sensations in the nostrils, the pedestrians squeezing past, passengers in other autos that stopped alongside, and so on. I also came to like auto drivers. As a foreigner I knew that they looked upon me as an opportunity to make some better money, and once I learned what a ride was really worth I didn’t mind giving them a bit more. I noticed that many of them had little "shrines" in their autos, not only the deities but also Bollywood stars. These gave me a glimpse of their fantasies and dreams, and may have somehow inspired The Auto That Flew.

Why did you decide to share this story with Pratham Books?

As a foreign author spending a lot of time in India I was very interested in what all the different publishers were doing. Over time I learned about Pratham Books and its objectives resonated with me. I’m really passionate about "A book in every child’s hand” too! That led me to make some book donations to Akshara Foundation and to run some sessions for Akshara on a couple of my visits to Bangalore. I had just written The Auto that Flew when I visited for that purpose and remember thinking - “It’s such an Indian story, and Pratham reaches out to more Indian kids in more languages than any publisher I know. Let’s see if they might want to publish it.”

What was your first reaction to the illustrations in the book?

My first reaction was this: Ajanta is brilliant. I had met Ajanta previously and knew her to be a true professional, but I also knew my auto story would challenge any illustrator. I was truly excited to see her illustrations and didn’t feel any inclination to have input into them. Hats off to her. I’m hoping Pratham Books will put us together again!

Do you have a favourite spread/page?

I love so many, particularly the aerial perspectives. The view down to India Gate and other landmarks is fantastic. Oddly, though, I like the title page best. Ajanta’s illustration of Arjun the auto from above, through the clouds, so that we only see the yellow canopy and a glimpse of his eyes, is pure genius. It very subtly awakens interest, whispering quietly to the reader: “Get on board for a flight of imagination.”


What are your favourite books by Pratham Books?

Bhabloo Bear’s Adventure is delightful, though I’m probably biased because I greatly admire Paro Anand and have worked with illustrator Suvidha Mistry. Paplu The Giant is by another writer I respect, Ramendra Kumar. Asian Spendour: Folk Tales from Asia is a fine book, and I’m happy to have it in my collection. There’s a new release I really look forward to getting my hands on, too - One Day in August by Bharati Jagannathan.

You visit India quite often. How do you like the country and your experiences here? Have you based any other stories on them?

I love India and miss it greatly if I am away for too long. From the time of my first visit I felt somehow "connected", and I have wondered whether that is because I had some Anglo-Indian teachers in primary school. I remember them speaking of India with such love, and perhaps I absorbed some of that. When people ask what I love most, I never hesitate: the people. I have deep friendships with many people in India and find that I can communicate easily with almost anyone there — even those who speak little English. I have visited schools in many countries but Indian schools are my favourites, by far — the children are great listeners but are ever ready to get excited and have fun, which is the perfect combination in my opinion.

As for basing stories on my Indian experiences, that was never my intention: it "just happened". The first was a little novel titled Advaita The Writer which is now recommended reading on the CBSE syllabus. There are quite a number of others now, including Rahul and the Dream Bat and the Daydreamer Dev series. Another book, Radhika Takes the Plunge, is about an Indian girl who has moved to Australia.

Your association with Pratham Books has grown from being a part of Bookaroo in the City, being a #PBChamp and sharing stories with kiddos at Akshara Foundation. You've recently also put us in touch with One for One Books in Malaysia. What made you connect the dots between their work and ours?

One for One Books (Magicbird Publishing) in Malaysia does wonderful work with underserved and marginalised children, including those in the poorest villages and refugees. Just as I do sessions with non-profit organisations in India, I also work with various foundations in other countries, and one of them is Magicbird. Rights and licensing costs are often a barrier to the distribution of high quality creative content to children, and Pratham’s publishing model with its embrace of Creative Commons breaks that barrier down. I saw an opportunity for Malaysia’s children to benefit from this, and it really delights me that Magicbird and Pratham Books have been able to make this happen.

What do you love most about writing?

That’s easy: the freedom to explore ideas and imagine other worlds. It’s fun, a world in which boredom cannot exist. The people I create are absolutely real to me. I know them as well, or better, than the flesh and blood people in my world. I also like the freedom to work anytime and anywhere, as well as the opportunities it gives me to take stories and ideas to the kids I meet through my school sessions and visits to libraries.

I read that you loved The Little Prince. What are your favorite parts of the story as a child and as an author?

The Little Prince can be read and enjoyed at any age — that’s one of its attractions, and I’ve tried to achieve that with a couple of books, including my recent book The Circle. Most of all I adore the flower, loved in spite of all its vanities, delusions and vulnerabilities, all so very human.

What, according to you, makes a good story?

Readers want and need to be taken on a little journey — even if that’s a journey by auto! Almost all of the time, being pulled into a story means being convinced by (and caring about what happens to) a character. When I teach and mentor writers, I emphasise the need to know characters well, to be able to see and hear them and understand their private thoughts and reactions to the things around them. If you get character right, you will see settings clearly and maintain point of view more easily. All this adds up to good stories.

Is it easier/harder to write for children than it is for adults? How so?

No good writing is easy. It takes time, whether that time is in eking out a first draft or in all the redrafts. Writing for adults, teenagers, older children and younger children — the difference is that all require a different mindset or "wellspring". As adults, writers carry within them deep experience of childhood and adolescence. Some people can tap into those wellsprings, yet some very good writers find it immensely difficult. Fortunately, I’m one of the former.

Who/ what most influenced your career as an author?

I remember being read to a lot by my mother, and I give her credit for that — I believe I was able to internalise story structures and voices at a very young age. Later, when I was eight, I had a teacher who made creative writing fun, and I realised then that I could get as involved in my own stories as I did with reading. Then, as a teenager, I went through a painfully shy phase and found that I could take refuge in writing. At that time, I had a teacher who told me that I should never stop writing — and I haven’t!

As a prominent writer and critic, is there a particular trend you’ve noticed in children’s books these days?

In many markets, there’s an increasing number of picture books aimed at older readers. Many are extremely thought-provoking, with my own book The Circle and the work of my Australian friend Shaun Tan being example of this genre. There are also significant trends in middle-grade reading. The most obvious is that there is more and more white space on every page — a story might be quite short, yet the book might run to hundreds of pages. I believe this is related to the rise of the digital, because children like to have the sense of moving quickly through text, almost "swiping" it. In writing for older children and teens, fantasy has dominated in recent times but I believe we are now seeing the return of realism and magical realism.

If you could live in the world of a book, which would you choose?

As a child, I would certainly have chosen The Adventures of Robin Hood. I could see myself living in the forest, an outsider yet part of a group committed to righting wrongs and helping the poor. The idealism, adventure and romance that were all part of that world excited me no end. As an adult, I could see myself living in one of Vikram Seth’s books, probably An Equal Music (oh, how I’d love to play an instrument so well) but maybe A Suitable Boy (though I’m probably unsuitable).

What drives you?

I’m driven by a love of stories and a belief that people have always needed stories — not just for entertainment but to develop a deeper understanding of people and the world generally. The classic story structure has a "problem-resolution" pattern we can absorb while very young — if reinforced as children grow, this makes them more resilient.

I’m also driven by the belief that we can all help in making the world a kinder place, and that giving is part of what makes us healthy. I try to spend as much time and money as I can assisting and interacting with people (particularly children) who are marginalised in some way.

Buy the book

(This interview was conducted by our intern Vedhika Anoora. Vedhika is from Coimbatore and is currently studying Media & Communication, Literature and Psychology at Christ University. She volunteers to teach children in an after-school program organized by the Centre for Social Action, Christ University. Even though she has been able to navigate her way around a basketball court, she is still unable to find her way to the Pratham Books office without getting lost at least once a week!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dedicating a Book on Thumbsucking


Natasha Sharma, author of the book Anaya's Thumb, asks 'To whom do you dedicate a book on thumb sucking?'

Every dedication that I put in, means a lot to me. I like to connect the content of the book, to the person I am dedicating it to … well, in most cases other than in my first book, Icky, Yucky, Mucky!. The dedication, to Sidhant, Antara and Sunish is for their encouragement to my writing and their tolerance for hearing the same story over and over again, in its many forms. It wasn’t inspired by them (just making sure we are quite clear, given the content of the story).

However, what does one do when a story such as Anaya’s Thumb is indeed inspired by one of my offspring? It becomes a rather delicate matter. Do I say, ‘For ______ for inspiring me with your lip sucking? May you stop soon!’ or ‘For _________. I’ve tried everything! I’ve even written a book on it! NOW STOP!’?

Find out on Natasha's blog. And then follow it up by reading the book in English/ Hindi/ Kannada/ Marathi/ Telugu or Urdu.  Also, you can get your own copies to gift to the little thumbsuckers in your life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

जीवन और सृजन

Poonam Girdhani writes about the Urdu Authors' Workshop help by Pratham Books in April.


उस रोज़ मैं सुब्ह 5 बजे उठी, जो मेरा रोज़ का मामूल न था। सूरज अभी निकला नहीं था पर सुब्ह होने का अहसास चारों तरफ़ फैला हुआ था, हवा अलसाई हुई थी और जिस्म को ऐसे छू रही थी मानो उसके करवट लेने के बीच मैं आ गयी हूं। और मैं भी किसी ढीठ बच्चे की तरह उसकी हर करवट में आड़े आ रही थी, लेकिन मुझसे ज़्यादा ढीठ तो वो नीम का दरख़्त निकला जो न सिर्फ़ हवा से अठखेलियां कर रहा था बल्कि उसे छेड़ने के बाद मंद-मंद मुस्कुरा भी रहा था। हवा और पेड़ की ये अठखेलियां माहौल में एक रक़्स पैदा कर रही थी। झूमते-झामते दरख़्तों का नृत्य, हवा की लय और पंछियों का कलरव और पीछे से हल्का नारंगी रंग लिये उगते सूरज की रोशनी, स्टेज पूरी तरह सेट था। एक ग़ैर मामूली दिन की शुरूआत शायद यूं ही होती है।

Urdu authors workshop के पहले दिन मुझे हर तरफ़ कहानियां तैरती हुई दिखाई दी, चाय की केतली में से निकलती भाप, मानो बता रही हो कि उसके पेट में कुछ कहानियां पक रही हैं, उसे जो खोला तो खौलते हुए पानी की आवाज़, वाक़ई कोई कहानी बयान कर रही थी, (हालांकि अभी तक मैं उसे decode नहीं कर पाई हूं)

प्रथम बुक्स और दिल्ली उर्दू अकादेमी की जानिब से हो रही इस वर्कशॉप में मिले जुले चेहरे थे, जिनमें से कुछ कई सालों से बच्चों के लिए लिख रहे थे तो कई नौजवान लेखक थे। कुछ नज़्में लिखते थे, तो कुछ मज़मून, पर ज़्यादातर उर्दू रिसालों के लिए कहानियां लिख रहे थे। प्रथम बुक्स की तरफ़ से हमारी एडिटोरियल टीम से मनीषा चौधरी, बैंगलूरू से माला कुमार और दिल्ली से राजेश खर, फैय्याज़ और मैं वहां मौजूद थे। और दिल्ली उर्दू अकादेमी की नुमांयदगी कर रहे थे जनाब अनीस आज़मी जिनके साथ के बग़ैर ये वर्कशॉप मुमकिन न थी।

चूंकि Workshop से हमारी मुराद ये नहीं थी कि हम ठोक-पीट कर ये बतायें कि बच्चों के लिए कैसे लिखा जाना चाहिए, बल्कि हमारी कोशिश ये थी कि उर्दू में लिखने वालों के साथ एक संवाद क़ायम किया जाये। कुछ अपनी कहें कुछ तुम्हारी सुनें की तर्ज़ पर इस वर्कशॉप को डिज़ायन किया गया था। जो बेहद कारगर साबित हुई। प्रथम बुक्स की बुनियाद कैसे रखी गयी, किस तरह की किताबें हम छापते हैं, और कैसे हर बच्चे के हाथ में किताब देखने की हमारी कोशिशें पिछले दस साल से चल रही हैं, मनीषा चौधरी ने इस बारे में तफ़्सील से बात की, “बच्चा आज़ाद ख़्याली से किताब पढ़ सके, ख़ुद-ब-ख़ुद उसे अपनी पसंद की किताब पढ़ने की ख़्वाहिश पैदा हो, ऐसा तभी मुमकिन होगा जब छोटी उम्र से ही उसके पास पढ़ने को किताबें हों। और बाज़ार में texts books का अम्बार पड़ा है। किताबों को या तो ज्ञान बांटने का ज़रिया बनाया गया है या फिर एक business opportunity की तरह पेश किया गया है या फिर नौकरी पाने के ज़रिए की तरह। फिर रही सही कसर उसे दीन से जोड़ कर पूरी की गयी है। सिर्फ़ मज़े के लिए या कहें कि pleasure reading material और वो भी बच्चे की मादरी ज़बान लिखी गयी किताब बाज़ार से ग़ैरमौजूद है। इन्हीं के मद्देनज़र प्रथम बुक्स ने लेवल रिडिंग मैटेरियल, क्वालिटी रिडिंग मैटेरियल छापना शुरू किया”

माला कुमार ने इस बात पर ज़ोर दिया कि आप उम्र या अनुभव में कितने ही बड़े क्यों न हो जायें, ज़रूरी है कि आप दिल से बच्चे बने रहें। “कहानियों को समय,देश, काल से परे होना चाहिए। उसे किसी सीमा में नहीं बांधना चाहिए। Alice in wonderland कहानी को डेढ़ सौ साल हो गये हैं लेकिन आज भी ये उतनी ही लोक-प्रिय है जितनी की तब थी, क्योंकि इसे बेहद ख़ूबसूरती के साथ लिखा गया है।बच्चों को ज्ञान मत दीजिए, उन्हें ये क़ुव्वत दिजिए कि वो ख़ुद अच्छे-बुरे की पहचान कर सकें।”

अनीस आज़मी ने उर्दू के बड़े बड़े अदीबों का हवाला देते हुए कहा कि “हाली से लेकर ख़्वाजा अहमद अब्बास, ज़ाकिर हुसैन और बड़े बड़े नामचीन लेखकों ने बच्चों के लिए लिखा, क्योंकि उनका मानना था कि ये सबसे अहम काम है। इस रवायत को और संजीदगी से आगे बढ़ाने की ज़रूरत है।” 

राजेश खर ने बताया कि कैसे हम ज़बानें खो रहे हैं, और ऐसा हुआ तो बेहद अफ़सोस की बात होगी।

“क्या हम चाहते हैं कि उर्दू ज़बान ख़त्म हो जाये ? अगर नहीं, तो फिर हमें बच्चों के अदब पर ध्यान देने की बेहद ज़रूरत है, क्योंकि बच्चे हमारे मआशरे का सबसे अहम-तरीन हिस्सा है। लोग समझते हैं कि बच्चों के लिए लिखना आसान काम है, अगर ऐसा है तो फिर हम ये आसान काम क्यों नहीं कर रहे”

फैय्याज़ जो प्रथम बुक्स के साथ बहैसियत उर्दू एडिटर जुड़े हुए हैं और प्रथम के साथ प्राइमरी एजुकेशन को लेकर काम कर रहे हैं, उन्होंने अपने काम का ज़िक्र करते हुए कहा कि “मेरा तजुर्बा ये रहा है कि प्रायमेरी स्कूल का बच्चा चाहे आसाम का हो या हिमाचल प्रदेश का, सबको लिखने-पढ़ने में बेहद मुश्किल आ रही है। उसकी वजह है कि बच्चों की उम्र और हर्फ़ पहचानने की क़ुव्वत को अनदेखा कर किताबें बन रही हैं। हर उम्र में बच्चे की नफ़सियात और उनका रद्दो-अमल करने की क्षमता अलग-अलग होती है।हर बच्चा अलग अलग तरीक़ो का इस्तेमाल कर लफ़्ज़ या जुमले पहचानते हैं, जैसे Chunk coding , Psycho linguistic approach, guessing वग़ैरह।”

बाप रे बाप!! वो कौन पहुंचे हुए लोग हैं जिन्हें लगता है कि बच्चों के लिए लिखना बचकानी बात है? :) 


वहां आये तमाम लोगों को ये जानकर फ़ख़्र महसूस हुआ, कि इतना काम और इतनी रिसर्च बच्चों के अदब को लेकर हो रही है उसका नतीजा ये निकला कि बहुत से लोग जो अब तक बच्चों के लिए नहीं लिख रहे थे, उन्होंने भी इस वर्कशॉप में नई नई कहानियां लिखीं। और ये जानकर शायद आपको ताज्जुब हो कि उनमें से कुछ लोगों ने बेहद शानदार कहानियां लिखीं। 

कहानियां स्कूल के बस्ते, पैंसिल, टिफ़िन बॉक्स की, जिनमें वो बच्चों से भी ज़्यादा चंचल, ज़िन्दादिल और चहकते, मुस्कुराते दिखे। पंखे और ट्यूबलाइट की नोक-झोंक भी थी, टूथब्रश बनने के सफ़र का भी लुत्फ़ उठाया तो नज़्मों ने भी इन सबके बीच अपनी मौजूदगी दर्ज की।

मैं ये दावा तो नहीं कर सकती कि इस दो दिन की वर्कशॉप से कोई क्रान्तिकारी परिवर्तन हम ला पाये, पर इस बात पर ज़रूर यक़ीन है कि इस दो रोज़ा वर्कशॉप ने एक बीज तो बो दिया है, लिखने वालों में एक प्यास तो जगा दी है कि वो पहले से और बेहतर लिखें और लिखने से ज़्यादा दूसरों का लिखा पढ़ें ताकि ये अंदाज़ा रहे कि दुनिया के अलग-अलग हिस्सों में क्या क्या लिखा जा चुका है और क्या लिखा जा रहा है।

हर शाम जब मैं घर लौटती तो ऐसा लगता मानो पेड़ों की शाखें मेरे पीछे-पीछे चली आ रही हों, उन छोटे-छोटे बच्चों के हूजूम की मानिन्द, जो गली में आये जादूगर के पिटारे के खुलने का इंतज़ार करता है। अब वो मेरी कहानी के महज़ किरदार न थे, बल्कि ख्वाहिशमंद थे उन कहानियों को सुनने के जो मैं बुनना चाह रही हूं।


You can also read an account of the workshop that featured in The Hindu.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Biodiversity Reads

Twitter is definitely a place for us to find out about so many things and we love being on it! One of the things we found out today was that it was #BiodiversityDay! Coincidentally, the book we wanted to share for #PBSummerReads today also had a lot to do with biodiversity in a city pond. Here are three free stories for you to read, share and celebrate the magic of nature amidst us :

Author : Ashish Kothari, Illustrator : Sangeetha Kadur
Wetlands in any city are seen mostly as wasteland, waiting to be built over. It takes a tireless environmentalist to show us what city ponds really are - magically rich ecosystems worth preserving. Based on a real-life experience, here is a story that introduces us to the delightful flora and fauna in the urban landscape.
Read 'Wildlife in a City Pond' in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu and Urdu


Author : Madhav Gadgil, Illustrator : Maya Ramaswamy
Bears, bees and blossoms are three enchanting building blocks of our natural world. The Indian rock bee is called a giant bee because it is one of the biggest honeybees in the world. Rock bees forage by moonlight. Scientists have been working with forest dwellers to safeguard rock bees, a precious natural heritage. In this informative tale, Muchkund and his bright gang of ghosts have a clever way of dealing with the burning issue of forest offenders!
Read 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu 


Author : Ambika Rao, Illustrator : Ruchi Shah
This is a book that takes you deep into the jungles of the Western Ghats. A wildlife photographer sets out to find an elusive wild cat and meets a menagerie of fascinating creatures. Quirky illustrations pepper a funny narrative inspired by a real-life adventure.
Read 'The Cat in the Ghat' in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Bengali, Urdu, Tamil and Odia

Monday, May 18, 2015

#PBSummerReads : Growing Up Week


We've been having so much fun with the #PBSummerReads campaign. What is most fun is to see the awesome activity ideas all of you have been sharing with us through the Read to Play contest. Last week we were celebrating books about the growing years - from tackling thumb sucking to getting the kiddos to sleep, from learning about your body to welcoming a new sibling. 

Here are the books we shared during the week. If you missed reading the books, click on the title names below to read the books in several languages.

Anaya's Thumb (Author : Natasha Sharma, Illustrator : Ruchi Shah)
Anaya loves her thumb. When she visits the zoo, she finds out what baby animals seem to like.

Listen to My Body (Author : Noni, Illustrator : Angie and Upesh)
We all have a wonderful body. It is fun to 'listen' to our bodies.

Aunty Jui's Baby (Author and Illustrator : Madhuri Purandare)
Anu and her mother visit Aunty Jui to see her new baby. Aai and Aunty fuss over her but Anu thinks the baby is really silly.

No Smiles Today (Author : Cheryl Rao, Illustrator : Saurabh Pandey)

Shanti was a happy girl. No one had seen her sad or quiet. Then one day she went very quiet.What had happened to Shanti?

Goodnight Tinku (Author : Preethi Nambiar, Illustrator : Sonal Goyal & Sumit Sakhuja)
Tinku, a little pup at Manugu's farm is not sleepy at all. He decides to step out into the night and meets many interesting animals.

My Car (Author and Illustrator : Phidi Pulu)
Khaidi has a very special car that takes him to many places. Droomm... he drives wherever he wants to to go. Come, join him on a drive around the world.

Under My Bed ( Author : Anupa Lal, Illustrator : Suvidha Mistry)
Sometimes strange things lurk under my bed. Would you like to know what I found the other night?


We've also got a special pack of all the books from this list - available at a discounted rate* of Rs.199 only. Get your copies!

To keep track of the books we are sharing for #PBSummerReads, head to this page to see new books every day. You can also participate in the Read to Play contest.

*for a limited period only

Friday, May 15, 2015

Using Our Books for Speech Therapy

My colleague Sandhya Taksale told us about speech therapist Sawani Godbole and how she is using our books in therapy. Swani lives in a little town Pen (पेण) near Mumbai. She and her husband have made a conscious decision to move to a smaller place and start their own practice there. Sawani reads a lot and has a small library at her place which kids can access. She is fond of Pratham Books and uses our books in her therapy sessions..

This is what she has to say- 

As a speech language therapist I deal with kids who have deficient linguistic skills. Although the prime focus is speech (i.e. oral language) written language too is very important especially in school age children. 

Moreover there are several concepts which I would like to build on in the child’s repertoire. But sitting within the 4 walls of the therapy room this is difficult. It is at this point that I realize the importance that Pratham Books has in my therapy aids. Not only is the book colourful and attractive but it has a definite storyline. There is one picture per event which is very useful for me because initially all auditory language should be pictorially reinforced. I am spared the colossal task of picturising all the events and experiences the child is exposed to, because I get fairly relevant illustrations. The stories too are novel, culturally familiar, and thankfully not the ‘moral ’stories which the kids get bored with, very soon.

My only regret is that the availability in rural areas is lacking. The parents cannot buy the books and I am forced to keep a good stock of the books and lend them periodically.



If you want to donate books to Sawani's little library, please mail us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

We also hope that our books soon travel to places where every child has access to them. If you want to learn how you can help our mission of getting 'a book in every child's hand', click here OR send us your ideas.

Reminder of How Creative Commons Licenses Give Our Books Wings

Vidya Balasubramanyam shares a list of ten free online read alouds in Indian languages. We are delighted to see that 5 of the books on the list are our books - in different avataars and remixes. A great reminder of how Creative Commons licenses allow our books to travel. Listen/watch the books and don't forget to try your hand at the activities Vidya has suggested too.

Via The Alternative

Takloo, The Little Salt Seller



A story that is rich in descriptions, this audio experience also has visual and tactile elements to engage the mind of younger readers- born out of their own imaginations st imulated by the words and the nuances of voice-modulated narration. It is written by Radhika Bapat and narrated by Radio Mirchi. 

Follow-up Activity: Make your own little lemonade stand to earn some money to fill up your piggy bank.

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Samira’s Awful Lunch









This audiobook is a creative take on the “be grateful for what you have” life lesson. Authored by Bharati Jagannathan and narrated by Radio Mirchi, this is a very relatable story for kids who complain about their lunches. The story also takes them through interesting conversations with other animals about the lunches that they eat.

Follow-up activity: Ask your child to observe what else in nature is lunch for insects, birds, and small animals.
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Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth


Listen to the story in Hindi on the Dadi Nani podcast.

What do bears, bees and blossoms have to do with a little boy’s craving for sweets? Listen to this fun story by Madhav Gadgil about Muchkund and his interaction with the building blocks of the natural world.

Follow-up activity: Pick any one scene from the story, and draw it out on paper.

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Vayu, the Wind





This simple story written by Madhuri Pai and narrated by Shilpa B. Desai is a lesson to appreciate the things that are not in the spotlight, but which are important nevertheless.

Follow-up Activity: Encourage your tiny tot to come up with other examples of unseen and unsung heroes. Find a way to thank these people by making colourful greeting cards so that they feel appreciated.

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Too Much Noise





This is the story of Sringeri Srinivas who is irritated by all the noise on the highway on the way of the cattle fair. Written by Noni and narrated by Radio Mirchi, this story is about how he finds a way to cope with all the loud noise.

Follow-up activity: Bring about a discussion about the difference between sound and noise. Help them come up with a list of things they hear everyday and determine what is noise and what is sound.

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Find the entire list here.

A big shout out to Mirchi Cares (Radio Mirchi), BookBox and the Dadi Nani podcast for the lovely remixes of our books.

Also, Pratham Books has released MANY books under Creative Commons licenses. Free to read, share and download