Thursday, August 17, 2017

Who is Ameena? Enter our illustration contest now!


Here’s your chance to illustrate a book for Pratham Books' StoryWeaver and get paid for it!

Some of us look at the word “tree” and doodle this:



And others conjure up something like this:





(Illustration by Archana Sreenivasan from 'Let's Go Seed Collecting')

or this:



(Illustration by Vinayak Varma from 'Jadav and the Tree Place')

If you belong to the second category, then this contest is right up your alley!

Who is Ameena?

We have got a fabulous story coming up - 'What is Ameena Upto?', written by Roopa Banerjee. It is a charming story about a girl called Ameena and the antics she gets up to when her family isn't looking. We know Ameena is a mischievous little girl with a big imagination. But what does she look like? What does her family and her home look like? All of that is up to you! This is your chance to illustrate a children’s book for Pratham Books StoryWeaver!

Here is an extract from the story ‘What is Ameena Upto?’

Everyone’s wondering what Ameena is up to on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. After all, where did the coconut shell, the paint, the buttons, and newspaper go?



What you have to do

We want you to draw Ameena! Upload your illustration on StoryWeaver by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page. Then send us a brief note at storyweaver@prathambooks.org telling us your vision and how you would illustrate this story. (You must send the vision note, otherwise your entry will not be considered valid.)

The contest will be judged by award-winning illustrator, art director, writer, editor and overall publishing rockstar, Vinayak Varma. If we like your Ameena and vision the most, you will be chosen to sign a contract with us. You will get two months to illustrate the whole book, which will be published by Pratham Books on StoryWeaver. And yes, it’s a paid contract.

This is a Level 1 story, which is for children who are eager to begin reading. This is how pages of level 1 books look:



(From 'What If?', written and illustrated by Hari Kumar Nair)

Contest Guidelines

  • The contest will run from August 9-23, 2017.
  • Please send your illustration notes to storyweaver@prathambooks.org.
  • Participants must be over the age of 17 to participate.
  • By submitting your original art work to 'Who is Ameena?' you are agreeing to a CC-BY license being applied to it (This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation). To know more about CC-BY, click here.
Format

  • Size of illustration: 11.17 inches (width) x 5.35 inches (height). This is the recommended size as it fits neatly into one of the templates on StoryWeaver. 
  • The illustrations should be high-res (150-300 dpi).
  • Format: JPEG
  • File size for each illustration: Between 2 to 4 MB; above 4 MB will slow down the upload process


For any queries, write to us at storyweaver@prathambooks.org!

Pratham Books is Hiring : Programme Manager

Pratham Books is a not-for-profit children's book publisher that was set up in 2004 to publish good quality, affordable books in many Indian languages. Our mission is to see ‘a book in every child’s hand’ and we have spread the joy of reading to millions of children in India. As a publisher serving every child in India, Pratham Books has always pushed the boundaries when it comes to exploring innovative ways in which to create access to joyful stories and have been fortunate in finding partners to collaborate with who share this vision.


The Role 
Pratham Books currently has multiple projects which are supported by various donors, for content development and dissemination. The role would involve project co-ordination, anchoring content dissemination, and support reporting and documentation. 

Programme Co ordination 
  • Co-ordination among teams for various projects 
  • Ensuring adherence of project modules to timelines
  • Ensuring project requirements for external resources such as interns or researchers are met in a timely manner 

Anchor content dissemination 
  • Anchor dissemination of content in print and digital formats for grant based commitments
  • For print books, streamline processes to identify beneficiaries of classroom libraries, aligned with the requirements of the donors. 
  • Co-ordinate with warehouse and CRM teams to ensure timely dispatch of the libraries. 
  • For digital books, ensure books are published on the online StoryWeaver platform within the timelines committed
Support documentation and reporting 
  • Streamline reporting processes and ensure deadlines are communicated to project team
  • Co-ordinating with teams to ensure timely submission of individual components of project reports
Market Research 
  • Oversee lead generation for the CSR and sales teams 
  • Work with CSR, sales and CRM teams to expand and update information related to analysis and research done 
This is a full-time position based in Bangalore, and would report to the CEO. 

Who should apply?
Candidates who:
  • Have at least 3-5 years experience
  • Can ideally start from 1st September,2017 onwards
  • Are committed and meet deadlines consistently 
  • Are self-starters, enthusiastic and have good people skills
  • Have basic computer skills – Word, XL, PPT 
  • Have a good working knowledge of English and Hindi. Knowledge of Kannada would be a bonus. 
Interested?
Please send your resume to careers@prathambooks.org with 'Programme Manager’ in the subject line of the email.

Illustration credit :  Thea Nicole de Klerk, from the book 'Springloaded' published by Book Dash on StoryWeaver.

Sign Up for StoryWeaver's Chennai Workshop

Pratham Books is conducting a special workshop on StoryWeaver - an open source, digital repository of multilingual children’s stories.


The workshop will be held in Chennai on 30th August, 2017. 

The workshop will cover the following
1. A detailed Demo of StoryWeaver – how to navigate and use the platform
2.Examples of how educators are using StoryWeaver effectively in their classrooms
3. Dedicated work time for participants to try their hands on StoryWeaver
4. An opportunity to meet people from similar field and make interesting conversations

So if you are:
a librarian or resource lead looking for curating stories
an educator in search of interesting ways to introduce concepts to your students
a storyteller or a reading champion
someone passionate about children's storybooks in Indian languages ...

Please note that​ the seats are limited and only confirmed participants will get a separate email confirming their participation, date of attendance and other logistical details. The workshop will be held between 11 a.m to 4 p.m. There is no charge to attend the workshop.

We look forward to seeing you! If there are any queries, please email them at khyati(at)prathambooks(dot)org

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The #PBChamps Programme is Back!

It is that time of the year again! The time when we start gearing up for the annual champions event. Last year 3000+ storytellers joined us to take 'The Elephant Bird' across India (and some other parts of the world!). How many champions will join us this year? We need you to spread the reading virus and we need you to get your friends and family to join the tribe of champions too.

The idea behind the campaign : The idea is to encourage children to fall in love with reading. This initiative is part of the Pratham Books' Champions program where we encourage our community of volunteers to use one book to conduct reading sessions. These sessions are conducted free of cost and mostly with children from under-served communities.





We continue to celebrate the joy of reading around International Literacy Day. This year's event is scheduled for 9th September, 2017 (as it is a Saturday and more people can join us to celebrate the joy of stories).

Season 6 of One Day, One Story


This year's chosen book is Kottavi Raja and his Sleepy Kingdom (written by Yasaswini Sampathkumar and illustrated by Henu). Kottavi Raja had trouble sleeping. Only at night. During the day, when his ministers discussed complex problems, he’d find himself nodding of f. He asked everyone for remedies. Nothing seemed to work. Until... Travel to Kottavi Raja’s land through this book and see what happened next. You could also turn it into a play and involve kids in your storytelling session. Or tweak it a little to do your version of the story with tons of different characters and avataars.

We want you to take this story and use it in creative ways with kids -read it, narrate it and enact it.

Sounds interesting? Available on 9th September, 2017 (psst : Read our FAQs below if you are not available on that day)? Join thousands of others and do your part to make reading contagious!


*Registrations to receive a hard copy of the book end on 31st August, 2017. You will however be able to sign up to receive an e-copy of the book.

So, how does this work? 
Fill in the form. A copy of the chosen book and a banner will be sent by the Pratham Books team. You are free to choose the place and time you want to conduct the session. You can also conduct other activities that you think may go with the theme of the book.

After the session, send us a short write-up or send us some photos from the event and we will feature it on the champions blog.

Note: (1) For logisitical reasons, we can't ship books to international destinations, but we will be able to share the PDF of the book with any international volunteers.
Note : (2) There are limited numbers of the books. If we run out of books by the time you register, we will send you an e-copy of the book.

If you have any queries, please mail champions(at)prathambooks(dot)org BEFORE filling in the form.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the book be sent for free or does the champion pay for it?
Answer : The book is sent to you for free (till stocks last)

2. Does the champion have to find the venue?
Answer : Yes. Identify places where you can conduct this event in your city - A government school, an NGO, a library, a bookstore, a park, a train, your building...any place with regular kids footfalls. Approach the organization and explain the concept to them. Most of them will be happy to host you.

3. This is the first time I am conducting an event. How should I prepare for it?
Answer : Read the book a few times. If you are reading to a younger age-group, see how you can tell the story without actually reading the book (to retain their attention). Think of activities that you can do after the storytelling to engage the children (example : can the story take on a skit form, can the story be a way to talk about an important issue, etc).

4. Can i conduct multiple events?
Answer : Definitely!!! The aim is to reach as many kids as possible. We've had champions who've conducted 2-3 sessions on the main day and then gone on to conduct sessions on other days too.

5. Should I document the event?
Answer : We expect all our Champions to send us some documentation about the event conducted by them. You can send us mini videos, pictures or a write-up on the event which will tell us [and the whole wide world] on the “real impact” made. 

6. I really want to conduct a session but I am not free on 9th September? What should I do?
Answer : The aim of this campaign is to spread the joy of stories. Most people conduct the session on the chosen date. But just in case you are unable to, you can still conduct it on a day close to the chosen date. Because kids getting to hear a story is more important than the date, no?

Sounds like something you want to do? Sign up here.

(P.S- all the images in this post are of actual storytelling sessions conducted by our awesome champions).

We are also fundraising for the One Day, One Story programme. If you want to contribute towards this campaign, you can donate books on Donate-a-Book.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Creating A New Visual Language

Rachel Lopez takes a look at some of the illustrators who are creating a new visual language in children's books in India. Two of our books (illustrated by Rajiv Eipe and Ruchi Shah) are also featured in her article.

Via Hindustan Times

Some of the work is almost cinematic - moody vampire landscapes, grandmas that swing up coconut trees. Others are clearly tongue in cheek - jokes about poo, gags sneaked in for parents. But each is a step towards a new visual language for kids, one where the rules are elastic - and a new adventure is just around the corner.

Rajiv Eipe : Ammachi’s Amazing Machines (authored by the illustrator); Pratham Books

“As a child, I was always drawn more to the pictures than the story,” says Eipe. He trained as an animation filmmaker and jumped at the chance to work on children’s books. “The publishers wanted physics-related content, but in a way that was fun, not preachy,” Eipe says. He dreamed up a grandmother who invented simple machines using household objects, to make coconut barfi with her grandson. “Grandparents are resourceful, they are from a DIY generation,” Eipe says. “I captured some of the spunk of my own grandparents, and details of their home, in the book.”


Ruchi Shah : The Cat In The Ghat (authored by Ambika Rao); Pratham Books

Inspired by a real-life expedition of explorer Sandesh Kadur, this story follows a photographer‘s attempts to document a little-known wild cat in the Western Ghats. Shah says the book was originally conceived to feature the photographer’s work. “But a children’s book is a lot more fun when it’s illustrated,” she says. Unlike most books, the drawingstake up only half the page, so she knew her work needed to stand out. “I had to select what could be highlighted in the pictures and I knew I wanted the feel of the rainy, lush, damp forests,” she says. “I wanted the colours to burst out of the page.” She worked with photo-inks and splotches and didn’t care about staying within the lines. “When kids draw they spill, yaar. Why shouldn’t you?”


Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Interested in a StoryWeaver Workshop? Tell Us!

With our mission of ‘a book in every child’s hand’, it is our constant endeavour to take more books and stories to more children. A key stakeholder in this mission are organisations and educators who help seed and cultivate the joy of reading in children. Along with reading, books also make great instruments of engagement in classrooms which is key to effective learning in classrooms.

With StoryWeaver, our open-source, multilingual digital repository of children’s stories, access to good quality reading material has become much easier. Children and educators can read 4200+ stories in 81 languages and educators can also develop their own resources for their classrooms. Stories can be downloaded to be read offline or printed. New stories can be created using the image bank of over 6,500 illustrations! Users can also translate or re-adapt existing stories with simple tools embedded on the platform. 

One of the ways in which we engage directly with organisations and educators is by conducting StoryWeaver workshops with them. The day-long session focuses on why reading is important and explores the platform in detail. Participants also get dedicated time to try the platform on their own and engage with the Pratham Books team and network with other participants. The workshops participation is free of cost, but on a first come first serve basis.

You can read more about our previous workshops in Hyderabad here and Delhi here

We are planning two workshops in August & September. One is Chennai and the other one in Kolkata or Bhubaneswar. If you are an organisation that works with under-served children wanting to bring more stories to them and engage with StoryWeaver, please fill the form here and we’ll contact you with further details.

Interested organisations based in and around Chennai, please sign up here.



Interested organisations based in and around Kolkata or Bhubaneswar, please sign up here

If you want to know more about our efforts to engage with organisations or have anything else to say, please write to Khyati at  khyati(at)prathambooks(dot)org .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When They Heard Those Stories…

On one Sunday last month, we woke up super early and headed to Cubbon Park. Why? Amrita Tripathy tells us more ...

What is a usual Sunday morning about? Sleep for long hours, have an elaborate brunch and so on! Over all a lazy day? The last Sunday of June was an exception for us at Cubbon Park.

Situated in the central part of Bangalore, Cubbon Park is one of the city’s green lungs. Tall trees, verdant canopies, whistling cuckoos, chirping birds, Cubbon Park is home to urban wildlife. Amidst all these, an early morning visit to such a place can be rejuvenating.

In association with The Hindu, we celebrated Cycle Day at the park on June 25, 2017. The red-canopied reading zones set up by The Hindu team could not be missed and neither were the sessions like yoga and zumba. The already charged-up crowd wanted a relaxing session and there we were! Our storytelling session was just right for all age groups.


When Mohammad Mustafa, the anchor announced the storytelling session, the kids were enthusiastic. Along with kids, we saw parents and adults gathering around the stage to hear our storytellers— Shruthi Rao and Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi.


Bhavana started with her illustrated book ‘A Cloud of Trash’. As she narrated how sad, grumpy and troubled Cheekoo was, she unfolded the reasons of her frustration too. With a foul-smelling trash cloud hanging over her head, Cheekoo was the unhappiest girl in the world. The cloud made of banana peels, biscuit and chocolate wrappers and hovering flies was troubling Cheekoo and the others around her. But one day, things changed and she managed to get rid of the trash cloud and became happy again.


The crowd was smitten by Bhavana’s narration. A powerful story about garbage and what one could do to handle it. From waste segregation to waste management through 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), Bhavana spoke about the simple steps and day-to- day changes that each one of us can incorporate towards making a clean, green and safe planet.  She took her illustrated story to the next level by talking about how composting and how organic manure help in plant growth anda greener environment -thus setting the context for Shruthi's story.



Shruthi, the author of ‘Avani and the Pea Plant’, is a well-known storyteller. Avani’s story is about the journey of a pea seed from Avani’s mom’s kitchen to the backyard garden. One fine day while playing in the garden, little Avani notices a new plant and mother identifies it as a pea plant. Neither of them knew how a pea plant got a place in their garden. Doesn’t it sound intriguing? Shruthi also encouraged the younger ones to try a small experiment of germinating seeds at home.


After the storytelling session, we had a half an hour interactive activity session where Bhavana taught kids to create a ‘tree of life’ from waste like dry leaves, tetrapak sheets, cereal packets, rope, straws, and water colors. Nearly 45 children participated in this activity session and thoroughly enjoyed the craft work.





The kids were also given tomato seeds with instructions of ‘how to grow your own tomatoes’ and take part in the upcoming contest at Pratham Books. We will post the details of the contest in a separate post soon. So, stay tuned!

The activities designed around these two books was an attempt to generate awareness about trees and nature, sensitize children about their environment, and waste management in general. The joy, curiosity, and happiness of the children and enthusiasm of the crowd was worth seeing. Wish every Sunday morning could be like this – in a park, among trees, with children and endless stories!

**********
What happened to Cheekoo? How did she get rid of her cloud of trash? Read the entire story here.

How did the pea seed become a plant? Did Avani or her mother play a role? Read the entire story here/ get your own copy of the book here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Schools That Care Conference

Are you going for the Schools That Care conference? Our editor, Mala Kumar, will be speaking about the 'Joys of Reading' on Day 3 of conference.


In July 2017, The Teacher Foundation brings to you a conference with a national presence and an international perspective. It’s Schools that Care (STC 2017), celebrating 15 years of dedicated work in making schools enabling environments for students. The conference will also present the findings of TTF’s 5 years of research aimed at developing a framework of Standards for Social and Emotional Learning (SSEL) for Indian schools. 
Pastoral care and its elements of empathy, sensitivity, positive regard for the child are often given short shrift in the race by schools and parents for rote-based academic achievement and marks. In the long run what gets sacrificed are students’ human capacities for compassion, courage, joy, generosity, grit, resilience and relationships. The repercussions of this are already evident in an increasingly intolerant, angry & divided world. 
Schools have a moral imperative for providing an education that prepares all students to handle life’s challenges with a sense of personal and collective integrity. 
Schools that Care (STC) 2017 is a conference with a difference. Since schools exist for young people, this conference includes them as prominent and powerful voices! STC 2017 promises to be a confluence of minds, hearts and hands – both young & old. It’s an opportunity for discussion, dialogue and debate amongst school leaders, teachers, researchers and students.
Find more details about the conference here. The conference is from 13 to 15 July, 2017 at the JN Tata Auditorium, Bangalore.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Meet the Finalists of This Year's Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest!

The result for Pratham Books’ Retell, Remix and Rejoice contest 2017 is finally here! A big thank you to all the participants for taking part, and being super patient with us as the judges read through each of your wonderful stories.


This year, Retell, Remix and Rejoice was in a slightly different avatar as we asked our community to weave level 1 and 2 stories around certain themes. We received 66 entries: 39 in English, 26 in Hindi and 1 Tamil story. This was the most number of Hindi stories we ever received for the contest.

Drum roll please

And now, on to the results! This year, we have 3 winning finalists:







Each finalist will receive a gift hamper of books from Pratham Books and will get one hour with a Pratham Books editor, who will share their editorial feedback on the story. One final story will then be chosen for re-illustration.

Meet the judges



Rajesh Khar is a senior editor at Pratham Books. Through these years, he has not only edited and translated books but also coordinated lit fests like Bookaroo, JLF, Samanvay, New Delhi World Book Fairs and joined hands with organisations like Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, CBSE, NEOR by NCERT and a host of non-profits. He has been supervising books in many Northern & Eastern Indian languages and also have had opportunity to be a part of the Adikahaani Series and the Urdu programme. His interests are music, classical performing arts, casual writing, theater and film making. He loves spending time with children and young people and basically has a lot of fun in whatever he does.

This is what Rajesh had to say about the entries this year: “I enjoyed reading all the stories very much and while reading the thoughts that came into my mind were a mixed lot - sometimes those of pleasure, at times a little sadness. Why sadness? Well, in some of the stories I wished that the authors had sustained that creative energy till the last word. Animal Symphony was a lovely story that highlighted the need to provide children ample opportunities to bond with nature alone. My Grandma Has a Tail and Toot'ta Tara both displayed out-of-the-box thinking and creativity. Joy, happiness and love together make every childhood memorable and create individual secure little universes. This subconsciously builds the foundations for a happy and healthy future life. I was happily reminded of this while reading A Special Journey.”


Our second judge, Kanchan Banerjee is a Managing Trustee of Akshara Foundation where she develops strategy and designs learning material. She founded Jyoshika, an NGO which works for the enrichments of children's learning in their eearly years. She enjoys writing for children.Under a UNICEF projects she developed graded readers in Kannada for children in Karnataka and in Hindi for children in Chattisgarh. She had this to say about the entries received this year: “It was delightful to read a variety of imaginative entries. Truly, writers can fire the creativity of young children and move them to a different space away from moralizing.”

Congratulations to the winners. You’ll be hearing from us shortly about your one on one session with a Pratham Books editor.

Read all the Retell, Remix and Rejoice entries.