Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Are You Ready For Bookaroo?

It is that time of the year again - Bookaroo time! Bookaroo is on 28th and 29th November, 2015 at a new venue in Delhi.

Via Bookaroo

This year, we have moved to a new venue – Shankar’s Centre for Children, Children’s Book Trust and the British School in Chanakyapuri’s Dr Jose Rizal Marg .

As in past years, this time too we have a extremely distinguished lineup of speakers (see the full list here). They are all set to mesmerise you with a wonderful array of sessions from storytelling to craft to doodles to performances. We have a special surprise for you this year. Beginning this year, Bookaroo will focus on children’s literature from various regions of India. This year the focus is Bangla. We hope this will be the start of something really exciting.

From Patua to Suppandi, from Satyajit Ray to Lewis Carroll, from rock faces to kitchen gardens, from stories about sleuths to those about tricksters, from stitching to collage-making this year’s Bookaroo has all this and more.

See the entire schedule and plan your fun weekend!

Image Source : Bookaroo 

ILF Samanvay : The Indian Languages Festival

Folks in Delhi - Mark your calendars! ILF Samanvay is happening from 26th-29th November, 2015. ILF Samanvay is an annual Indian Languages Festival hosted by the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. This festival aims to create a vibrant space for various Indian languages and cultures to come together, without compromising their uniqueness. The theme for ILF Samanvay 2015 is Insider/Outsider: Writing India's Dreams and Realities. In this fifth edition, the festival attempts to address significant questions concerning who is an insider and who is an outsider with respect to our languages as well as those idioms beyond the verbal.

We are happy to announce that Pratham Books is the outreach partner for this year's festival. Pratham Books has taken the lead in promoting books and reading among children through creating an Outreach for children in many major literature festivals across the country. The purpose of this Outreach program organised by Pratham Books is to bring the joys of literature and language to the children of Delhi. We hope this interaction will spark off an interest in expressing ideas creatively and will open windows to new ways of seeing things.

For the outreach programme, we are partnering with 5 schools and the resource people who will bring these sessions alive are :
  • Ashok Vajpeyi  - Ashok Vajpeyi  is a Hindi poet-critic, translator, editor, culture-activist, and a former civil servant. He has served as the chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi; and authored thirteen books of poetry, seven of criticism in Hindi and three books on art in English. He has translated the works of four major poets of Poland, Czeslaw Milosz, W. Szymborska, Z. Herbert and T. Rozewicz into Hindi. He has been decorated by the President of Republic of Poland by the outstanding national award ‘The Officer’s Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland’, and the French Govt. by the award of ‘Officier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres’.
  • Dharmakirti Sumant - Dharmakirti Sumant is one of the foremost playwrights of the new Marathi experimental theatre. He has been awarded with the Sahitya Academy Youth Award for his book Pani, which includes two plays Pani and Charoo Aro Etyadi. He received the Jayvant Dalvi Award for his play Geli Ekvis Varshe. He was also the recipient of Vinod Doshi Fellowship for his writings in 2009. Some of his other major plays include Logging Out, Something Stupid Like I love You, Amhala Amche, Kholamba, Zade Lavnara Manoos and Natak Nako. Sumant has also written an eight part series Jadyabaddalchi Vyavcchedak Lakshne in the magazine Priya Rasik by Popular Publications.
  • Vijay Dhasmana  - Vijay Dhasmana works in the field of forest conservation and ecological gardening, with special emphasis on the flora of Aravali range. His role was pivotal in the rewilding of the Aravali Biodiversity Park, Gurgaon; and creating Wild flower trail in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttarkhand to showcase the wild flora of the sanctuary. He is also the Ecological Gardening Consultant to Friends for Change Programme of Walt Disney which plans to create 10 native plant gardens in NCR every year. He is also working for the restocking of wilderness areas in Delhi NCR with native flora species such as Boswellia serrata, Ehretia leavis, Butea monosperma, and others through Seed balls.
  • Subhro Bandopadhyay - Subhro Bandopadhyay is the author of four full-length poetry books and a biography of Pablo Neruda written in Bengali. He received the 2013 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar for his poetry collection Boudho Lekhomala o Onyanyo Shraman. He received the Antonio Machado Poetry Fellowship from the Government of Spain in 2008 and the Poetas de Otros Mundos award in 2014 from Fondo Poético Internacional. He has published several poetry collections in Spain and has been invited to distinguished poetry festivals including the Medellin International Poetry Festival, Colombia and Expoesía, Spain. He teaches Spanish at Instituto Cervantes, New Delhi.
  • Dolonchampa Chakraborty - Dolonchampa Chakraborty has been actively involved in the dissemination of Bengali language beyond the borders of Indian subcontinent as an active translator, editor and interpreter. She recently translated a short story titled Black Magic by Sahitya Academy awardee, Amar Mitra. Her poetry anthology, Eve, Ekti Daalimekheter Bigyapon was published during the 2015 Calcutta Book fair. She is currently the Executive Editor of online Bengali literary magazine, www.bookpocket.net which is trying to unite Bengali speaking diaspora of divided Bengal. Currently she is working on the writings of the Border poets from around the world.
  • Ameen Haque - A storyteller, story coach and consultant, Ameen Haque is also the founder of StoryWallahs, a company that trains people in the art of storytelling. Today’s world revolves around stories and Ameen has coached leaders, teachers and children alike to be powerful storytellers. Formerly a Vice President at Ogilvy & Mather, Ameen has over 20 years of experience in advertising, theatre & consulting. These stints have exposed him to stories, human behaviour, team dynamics and strategy; themes that have influenced and informed his storytelling.
Visit the ILF Samanvay website for more details about the festival.

Image Source : ILF Samanvay

Monday, November 23, 2015

Win a Copy of 'Ammu's Puppy'

When we launched StoryWeaver, we collaborated with authors and illustrators to create a fews books to celebrate the launch of the platform. These books exist online on StorrWeaver, but we've decided to give YOU not one... but four chances to win some of the special books that were created for StoryWeaver.

Our first contest is all about dogs and books! How do you win a printed copy of 'Ammu's Puppy' by Sowmya Rajendran and Soumya Menon?

1. Read Ammu's Puppy to find out if Ammu really had a puppy.
2. Send a picture of your dog indulging in some reading to contest(at)prathambooks(dot)org.
3. Send your entry before 29th November, 11.59 pm

P.S : Like/ Follow StoryWeaver on Facebook or Twitter and keep track of when all the contests go live.

Make Print and Digital Books Affordable

At a recent conference, Baldeo Sharma (chariman, NBT) stressed on the importance of making both print and digital books available at affordable prices.

"Books should be made available to the public at affordable prices then there would be no decline in the interest of reading books. ...I have found that the enthusiasm among people to read and purchase books has not gone down," Chairman of National Book Trust (NBT) Baldeo Sharma said while addressing a conference organised by FICCI here.

Discussing that the digital revolution in the publishing sector was still at an inception stage in the country, he said the print publishing did not get completely replaced by digital books. In global trade, for book publishers, print still accounts for nearly 70 per cent of their sales revenue. 

"I think both technology and printing publications are complementing each other in Indian context. India's situation and the mindset of the people toward reading habits and books have kept alive the importance of printed books," said Sharma.

Urging the publishers present at the conference to make books readily available at affordable prices in the rural areas of the country, Sharma expressed need for discussion in this regard and also asked them to shift their focus from the urban areas and major cities to rural areas.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Meet Sonal & Sumit, the illustrators of Chunnu-Munnu

Meet Sonal Goyal and Sumit Sukhuja, the talented duo behind the vibrant illustrations of 'चुन्नु-मुन्नु का नहाना', which was the final (8th) story of our ‘Weave-a-Story’ campaign. Written by Rohini Nilekani, the story is about two children being bathed by their mother, and all the fun they're having together.

Sonal and Sumit have been active members of the Pratham Books community for a while now. Their illustrations in 'The Elephant Bird' and 'Goonight, Tinku!' were thoroughly enjoyed by all our readers. They also contributed towards the #6FrameStoryChallenge which we ran earlier this year. You can see their wonderful artwork here.

We had a little chat with them recently and here’s what they had to say about illustrating for children, finding inspiration and much more.

An illustration from 'Chunnu-Munnu ka nahaana'

You have been active members of the Pratham Books community. Tell us a little about what illustrating for children means to you and what has kept you motivated. 

I think all of us love going back to our childhood days... the fondness of childhood memories remain with us forever. And we consider ourselves fortunate to get this chance almost everyday - with each new story and scene, we relive those days. Who wants to grow up? Not us, for sure!

When you read a story, both of you might have different ideas for the illustrations. How do you decide the final approach for a story?

Most times we take bits from each others' ideas, so we get the best of 2 views and then one of us puts the thoughts to paper. Whoever is more comfortable in a particular style gets to work on it, no fighting unless it is a Pratham Books story!

Which is your favourite medium while illustrating and how do you decide the look of a story?

Both of us have a similar approach to drawing. We sketch on paper manually or sometimes digitally on the computer, and then colour the drawings on computer using different softwares. We love to experiment in different styles and most of the time, it is the story setting, theme that itself gives us clues to picking a particular style.

What do you do and where do you go when you desperately need inspiration to draw? Yes, we are asking you to spill your secrets.

We look for ways to relax. Generally, I (Sonal) read a book and Sumit plays games on his computer. We also play TT on our makeshift TT table in the office, it really helps us unwind. Better still, simply looking out the window helps too. 

'चुन्नु-मुन्नु का नहाना' is available in Hindi and Marathi currently. We want the story to reach more and more children in multiple languages so that they can read in a language of their choice. Translate this wonderfully rhythmic story into any language that you are fluent in and help Chunnu and Munnu make friends around the world. Here are some tips on translating on StoryWeaver

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Teaching Kids About Financial Literacy

Last month, we heard that CBSE was planning to introduce a project which would educate children on managing their finances independently and learning about the importance of investments and savings. Shivani Saxena shares more details about the 'School Bank Champs Project'.

In the initial stage, all CBSE affiliated schools have been asked to choose a bank nearby so that students get in the habit of daily interaction with bank authorities and enhance their financial knowledge by learning about net-banking and other options. 

Speaking to TOI, vice principal of Doon International school, Dinesh Bartwal, said, "I think it is a great initiative by CBSE to ensure students have sound knowledge of financial topics right from the school level. We have many banks on our school's panel and would be tying up soon with one bank to provide students the chance to learn more about finances." 

The project also drew enthusiastic response from parents. Vidhushi Chandra, a parent, said, "The project is a great initiative by CBSE and will definitely give exposure to students in strengthening their finance related knowledge right from the school level. It must, however, be initiated for classes beyond IX and X as well."

For those of you who want to introduce the world of finance and money to your kids, look no further!  The Rupaiya-Paisa series by Mala Kumar and Deepa Balsavar is what you are looking for. This series on financial literacy introduces children to the concept of money and its usage. Playful illustrations make it easy understand the concepts of saving, earning, budgeting, banks, self-help groups etc. We saw these books vanish from our shelves at the recent Bangalore Book Fair. You can order the series in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu and Urdu.
The books are interestingly written, scattered with stories and real-life examples to help the reader understand complex ideas in the context of their immediate, everyday lives.
- From Chintan Girish Modi's review of the series 

You can also also read reviews of the series here and here.


Since these books are also under Creative Commons licenses, Ashna Ruia and volunteers used details from the book to create a short series to help you understand useful facts about money. The first hour videos in the series are : What is Money, How to Save Money, How to Spend Money, How to be Prepared.

पुस्तक समीक्षा : 'गोकुल के सपने' और 'शहरी ताल का जादू'

हमारी पुस्तकें 'गोकुल के सपने' और 'शहरी ताल का जादू' की समीक्षा हरिभूमि बालभूमि में हुई ।  

पुस्तक खरीदें :  'गोकुल के सपने' और 'शहरी ताल का जादू

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Literacy Initiative to Promote Daily Reading

NYC Reads 365 is a challenge that encourages New Yorkers to read daily. What a fabulous idea!

On November 2, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and children’s author Jon Scieszka visited P.S. 133 in Brooklyn to announce the kick-off NYC Reads 365, a citywide, multi-year literacy initiative to promote daily reading. 

Via NYC Reads 365, all pre-K-12 schools in the city will receive materials and resources to promote daily reading both in and outside of school that include age-appropriate reading lists, posters, bookmarks, and support and training sessions for school staff and parents. Students and their families can access those materials online as well, at a dedicated NYC Reads 365 website.

“Reading opens doors and expands opportunities for our children, in and out of the classroom,” Fariña said in a statement. “For me, reading Spanish fairy tales with my father as a young girl inspired a love of books and a love of learning, and ultimately inspired me to become a teacher. As we give New York City students and families resources to make daily reading a reality in their lives, I know that we are going to be a better city for it.”

In addition to creating enthusiasm for reading, NYC Reads 365 will help bolster the work of reading coaches that will be assigned to all elementary schools by fall 2018. Coaches will be identified and trained by the NYC Department of Education beginning this spring, and the first coaches will be assigned to high-needs schools starting next fall.

Flash Cards And Guides to Get Kids Interested in Birding

The Nature Conservation Foundation has introduced a series of flash cards and a pocket guide on Indian bird species to get children interested in birding.

Can you identify the White throated Kingfisher or the Greater Coucal, or the Indian Robin for that matter? It’s time to start learning about India’s abundant bird species with your children through “What’s That Bird?”, a set of flashcards on birds of India, featuring about 40 common species.

Made for kids, the postcard-size, laminated cards are designed for rough use. They have a photo of the bird on one side and some information on the other, with pictorial representations and less text. The cards also come with a set of trivia questions, which form a game. Information includes where the bird is found, what its call sounds like, its behaviour, followed by a “fun facts” section.

The flashcards are only one of several projects at Early Bird, a learning programme on birds and nature designed and developed by the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), a non-profit trust that works in research and conservation of India’s natural heritage, and in education and public engagement. “Our motivation is to encourage and facilitate a deeper connection with nature, through birds”, says Garima Bhatia, project manager of Early Bird. They are targeting the six to 14 age group.

Monday, November 16, 2015

CROCUS 2015 is Here

Saffron Tree's online book festival, CROCUS: Celebrating Reading Of Culturally Unique Stories, is here! This year's theme is Comics and Graphic Novels.

Saffron Tree tells us a little more about this year's theme :
Although, many people love comics, there an equal or more number of folks who think comics are silly and for children only. It is far from truth and we at Saffron Tree would like to present you with many interesting comics and graphic novels that we have come across and enjoyed. In the coming days, we will review various graphic novels/comics. Hope you enjoy them.
Head to their blog from 14th-17th November to find book recommendations, interviews and more. Have fun at the CROCUS Carnival!

Image credit : Lavanya Karthik, Saffron Tree

The Write India Contest

The Write India contest invites you to unleash the writer in you.

Via The Times of India

11 Writers! 11 Stories! 11 Winners!

Have you been waiting to unleash the writer in you? Here is the opportunity of a lifetime!

Become a published writer under the tutelage of 11 of India's most coveted authors...

The Write India initiative is the country's first ever Short Story Contest of the kind, providing a writing platform unlike any other.

Each month our designated 'Author of The Month' will share a passage with you. You have to develop that passage into a story, your way. Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, engagement, storytelling skills, use of language and structure

For 11 months, every month a 'Winner of the Month' will be awarded a Kindle. As the Contest draws to a close, our 11 winners will attend a unique Writers Camp in Diu and be mentored by some authors from our preeminent panel.

The winning entries will also get published in the form of a book by Times Group Books, with a chapter each for the 11 winners selected by the Authors.

Image Source : Damian Gadal

Friday, November 13, 2015

Peek A Book Children's Literature Festival

Folks in Hyderabad, a children's literature festival is coming your way. Peek a Book Children's Literature  Festival is happening at Shilpa Kala Vedika on 15th-16th November, 2015.

The good book corner also interviewed Lubaina Tyebji Bandukwala, one of the organizers of Peek A Book.

tgbc: What is on offer at Peek a Book this year?

Lubaina: From mythology to magic, from school adventures to contemporary mysteries, from stories about super heros to tribal princesses – almost all genres of children’s books are represented in this festival.

Hyderabad’s very own Dr Vithal Rajan presents his tale of Jungu the Tribal Princess and Nandini Nayar talks about her books Neelu’s Box and What Shall I Make? Story-teller Deepa Kiran and puppeteer Padmini bring books alive along with Richa Chadda of Easy Library.

We have a great number of out of towners as well –

– Anushka Ravishankar, known as India’s Dr Seuss will present three books – The Sherlock Holmes Connection, Moin and the Monster and Alphabets are Amazing Animals.
– Arundhati Venkatesh showcases Bookasura, the book eating monster.
– Roopa Pai – The Gita for Children.
– Senior journalist Shabnam Minwala is launching her new books Shy Supergirl and The Strange Haunting of Model High.
– Swati Sengupta also a journalist reads from her Young Adult books Half the Field is Mine and Guns on my Red Earth.
– Sonja Chandrachud takes us deep into a Mughal mystery with Trouble at the Taj
– Nature enthusiast Katie Bagli is joined by illustrator Zainab Tambawala with two books, Odyssey in the Ocean and Less Liked Lovables.

See the entire schedule for the festival.