Friday, July 25, 2014

Puppets and Comic making workshops

Bookalore and its bunch of authors are doing an event this weekend for kids:Puppet Tales and Comic Trails. Shweta Taneja, author of The Ghost Hunters of  Kurseong and  Krishna: Defender of Dharma  will be doing a special session on how to turn a ghost story into a comic. Author of Rhino Charge Vijaylakshmi Nagaraj will host the puppetry party.

Name: Puppet Tales and Comic Trails
Date: 26 July 2014
Time: 10.30am - 12.00 noon
Venue: RSI, MG Road, Bangalore
Details: Make your own stick puppets! Narrate exciting stories! Create action-packed comic books! Have a creative blast!
Event includes: Puppet Party for 3-8 years and Comic Fun-das for 9-13 years where they get to create their own comics. Parents will also get to listen to what kind of books to get for their kids.

We do love these booky lores! Enjoy the party.


Happening today---Tentastic Storytelling

Our #PBChamps continue to conduct their storytelling sessions across the country.  Pratham Books Champion Mangalam is having her third storytelling session and it is open to the public.Sorry for the late update, but we do hope many of you and your children will be able to make it!

The Happening Place 

BrainSTARS NumberNagar 

# 48 - 49, Off Kanakapura Road, Gubbalala Main Road,

Subramanyapura, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560062

Phone: +91 9980163689

on : 25th July 2014, friday
at 6pm.

To know more about the Tentastic Champions, click here. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review : Daddy's Mo

R's Mom reviews another one of our books on Indian Moms Connect.
Again, the girl’s name is Anu and its about her Daddy’s mustache. Its an interesting book especially for R whose dad doesnt have a mustache. We loved the way, in the book, the daily routine of her dad is described. The little girl’s attractiveness to mustaches forms the gist of the story.
Honestly for someone who is not a big fan of mustaches (read RM), we enjoyed the book thoroughly especially going through the various descriptions of the mustaches. 
The ending is the sweetest which obviously I wouldn’t want to state, but only add that the four year old in the house along with her 30 year old mother, now a days have loads of fun making mustaches.  
Go on and buy the book from Pratham Books, only for its illustrations, they are amazing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stories hidden in the Seconds

This Friday morning, as I sat with my morning tea bracing myself for all the grim news that fills the newspapers these days, I discovered a hidden jewel in the Times of India. The excellent morning read came from none other than Jug Suraiya, who wrote about Kathmandu and the famed second hand bookstores there. He says that the advantage and value of second hand books is more, primarily because apart from the story written by the author, you often come across stories buried by the previous owner, knowingly or unknowingly. Little scribbles here and there, footnotes, words and phrases underlines, and bookmarks forgotten.

Mr.Suraiya’s column put an instant smile especially because just a week back we discovered a similar gem. A colleague brought a Jane Austen book from Blossoms (the very famous second hand book store on Church Street, Bangalore) and found a really old Gems wrapping in it. Now this was a packing which was in circulation when I was in school, so it must be easily 10-12 years old. This really was somebody’s special memory. Maybe a reward from a parent or a gift of love from a sweetheart, preserved with a lot of care over many years till it went out with the book. That wrapper made us smile and wonder about the ‘other’ stories between the pages, other than what Jane Austen wrote.

The concluding para of the article is the most remarkable:-
So the next time you sell one of your old books imagine that I might be the next owner of it. Or that I was an earlier owner of an old book that you’ve just bought. The book will connect you and me, and we might never know it. That’s the best secret of the secret history of old books.

Read the whole article here…

Have you even found a hidden story in a second hand book ? If not, look closely the next time.

Photo Credits :

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ek Mukta - A Free and Open Source Font Family

Last month we received an email from Girish Dalvi informing us about Ek Mukta - a free and open source font family. We wrote to Girish to find out more details about this project.

People in the publishing industry, bloggers and web designers have always felt that there is a lack of good quality Devanagari Unicode-compliant fonts available for use. The available fonts have limitations of their own, due to which they have not seen widespread acceptance. Girish Dalvi of Industrial Design Centre, IIT Mumbai, with his team have​ developed and released ​a free and open source font family, Ek Mukta, which hopes to be a new experiment in the field of design. This font family has both Devanagari and Latin scripts in it.

Usually while designing multi-script font families, visual features of one script unnecessarily dominate the other scripts. To avoid that, keeping in mind the similarities and differences of both the scripts, and by maintaining the balance of their characteristics, the font has been developed to form a visually cohesive family of two different scripts' letters (glyphs).

Mukta is Unicode 6.3 compliant and has several open type features.

The glyphs are narrower, especially the Devanagari ones, thus more content can be fit in the given space. Large number of Devanagari compound letters (conjuncts) are included, thus reducing the hassle of using half letters and keeping their beauty intact. The font can be used for languages such as Marathi, Hindi, Sanskrit, Konkani, Nepali etc. The differing glyphs for these languages are included as stylistic variations, such as the Marathi श and ल. The Vedic signs of Unicode Extended Devanagari are also included. Another feature is the addition of mathematical signs and fractions to the glyph set.

This font is mainly designed for use on the web. It has been hinted for display on screens. It has seven weights, viz. Light, Book, Regular, Medium, Demibold, Bold, Extrabold. Ek Mukta is the only family offering these many weights in the open source domain
This font is released under the Open Font License (OFL) as a free and open source font.

There are several reasons for releasing Ek Mukta under the Open Source License. Font development is a difficult and time-consuming activity where multiple skills are required. Once a source code is available, a base is acquired for developing new fonts. The existing files can be used to develop new fonts, thus saving time and efforts. Technologically relevant progressive fonts can evolve out of this. And if there are any shortcomings in this font then people contribute to improve it. It is not necessary that Open source fonts should be free, but this font family is both free and open source.

​One of the reasons for setting fonts free is the fact that students/designers don't have access to quality fonts while working on their projects/assignments, they either resort to using pirated fonts or use bad quality fonts. I am hoping by open sourcing this font more and more designers/students will use the Devanagari for their projects and assignments.

​Links related to the font:

Demonstration of font features/possibilities of how to use the font and advanced typographic layout using html+css

​​The fonts and the source code files are free to be used and studied and are available at:

Place where you can download the font

For reporting bugs, suggestions, feedback, collaboration

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Goodbooks : All About Children's Books from India

A recent website we've been referencing on our blog and Facebook is the Goodbooks blog. We've enjoyed reading the insightful book reviews that the folks behind Goodbooks write and wanted to share more about the work done by them.

We chatted with the Goodbooks team to learn more.

Why and when was GoodBooks set up? is a joint venture by Wipro Applying Thought in School and the Goodbooks Trust. There are plenty of Indian children’s books being produced in the country today but they don’t get the visibility that they deserve. Children’s books are not usually reviewed in literary journals or newspapers and if they are, not many take the trouble to critique them the way they would a book for adults. Our aim is to create a one-stop space where Indian children’s books are in focus: we wish to bridge the gap between publishers/authors/illustrators and their audiences. We also cover news and events from the world of Indian children’s books.

The site went live in December 2013 though we began the spadework for it from 2011 – researching various review sites to bring together the most relevant features, networking with publishers, building a team of reviewers and laying down guidelines for them so we can be assured of high quality, and organizing archival material (reviews of children’s books and articles) that we had sourced from The Book Review journal into more accessible and user-friendly categories.

Who reviews the books?
An independent panel of reviewers composed of people from various walks of life: educators, librarians, writers, illustrators, editors, scientists, researchers. They work with us on a freelance basis. Since we are very particular that the reviews are insightful and approach a book from various angles laid out in our guidelines, we insist on seeing a sample review from a reviewer before we take him/her on board. We don’t want reviews that are general in nature, merely summarizing the story.

What has been the response to the site?
While quite a few big and small publishers have been sending us books regularly, we’d expected that many more would actively participate in this venture to make it successful. Maybe they are taking a wait and watch approach! We need continued support from within the industry and we hope more publishers will hop on board with us soon. Traffic to the site has been on the rise.

Who do you think is the main audience of the site?
We’re primarily a site for promoting good Indian books through professional reviews. The focusis very much on building a group of really good reviewers who take children's books seriously and will be able to critically evaluate all aspects of books. This in turn will help teachers, librarians and parents select good books and increase their awareness about them.

Schools will be the main focus for Goodbooks - they are keen on getting Indian books for their libraries but they have very little information about the books in the market. Goodbooks will provide them with the publishers’ information so that they know how to get the books. Many teachers and librarians have little awareness about how to select good books. The reviews will create that awareness, we hope. In short, the site will help them find information, select and access books.

Any plans of including regional language books?
We will be including regional language books soon. We are talking to a potential partner and when they come on board, information about more than 2000 titles in different languages with links to online sites wherever available, will be given so that readers can buy the books. 

Simultaneously we will start the process of reviewing the books. They will also be providing the online store links for the books we review on the site.

How do you see the platform grow?
Future plans include workshops for librarians and reviewers, conferences on children’s literature, exhibitions of children’s book illustrations and instituting awards. The Goodbooks awards, as we see it, are not only an acknowledgement of the growing talent in the field today but also a way to create awareness among all the stakeholders about the fascinating range of Indian children’s books available in the market.

How can someone become a reviewer on Goodbooks?
If you are interested in reviewing books for us, send us your details along with a sample review. However, do go through the guidelines on the site before you do so. You may email us at

Thank you Sowmya for sharing more details behind the Goodbooks platform. Good luck with the platform and we look forward to reading more reviews about amazing books by Indian publishers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review : Ramya's Stars

Savio Mascarenhas reviews the book 'Ramya's Stars' on Goodbooks

It’s a sweet relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter that becomes the crux of this 16-page picture book, Ramya’s Stars. Written by Mala Ashok, this picture book takes you into Ramya’s world of colorful and vibrant earrings and the magical story that follows. Yes, Ramya likes to collect earrings, a fascinating hobby for a little girl of seven. The story reads almost like a fairy tale bordering on the lines of fantasy.

Ramya gets a gift from her grandmother, a pair of glittering starry diamond-shaped earrings. And what follows is a fantastical tale told by Mala, a story very simple in language. The words are limited in vocabulary and the length of the sentences kept to the minimum. This makes perfect reading for a child who has just started her exploration of the language and is gradually understanding words and the forming of sentences.

The book is a sureshot eye-catcher on the stands with its striking starry night scene on the cover done in watercolors by the illustrator Helga Parekh. The paintings inside complement the story beautifully. In today’s world of digitally colored artworks, it’s a delight to see artists dabble in the challenging art of watercolors. The lucidity of the paintings is perfectly in sync with the flow of the story and makes the book a complete piece of art. It’s like taking the reader through a story that rolls over a 16-page canvas.

The two factors that work well for the book are the tale that’s so uncomplicated and the visuals that are so vivid. As a parent, it would be good to expose children to stories that are simple yet fantastical and art that’s so original and natural.

Ramya’s Stars makes for a magical reading experience and is a perfect example to propagate the philosophy that Pratham Books would advocate - to democratize the joy of reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Help Avalokitesvara Trust Print 'Chuskit Goes to School' in Ladakhi

We are thrilled to see a collaboration we have been working on for the past few months almost reach its goal. For some time now, we have been seeing an interest in translations of our books. Last year Avalokitesvara Trust got in touch with us to discuss the possibility of translating 'Chuskit goes to school' in Ladakhi. The story set in Ladakh would be absolutely relevant to the kids they work with in Ladakh.

Like we always say, we publish in multiple languages but our work still isn't enough for all the children in India. Our mission to get 'a book in every child's hand' will only be possible through collaborations like this.

The original book is under a public domain license and free for anyone to remix. Avalokitesvara Trust would provide us with the translation while we would help with the layout of the book. Once we received the translation, our team started laying out the book. We grappled with the fonts at times (which seemed to mysteriously change from time to time), the different versions bounced between all our inboxes and finally the book is ready... well, almost!

Avalokitesvara Trust is fundraising to print this book and get it into the hands of the children they work with. If you want to help print books in the language the children can read, support their fundraising campaign.

Via Avalokitesvara Trust
As a new area of expansion this year, we are interested in publishing translations of select children’s books in Ladakhi. Our first is a Ladakhi translation of ‘Chuskit goes to School’, in collaboration with Pratham Books
‘Chuskit goes to school’ is a story about a disabled Ladakhi girl who dreams of going to school, making friends, learning maths and playing games. Written by Sujatha Padmanabhan and illustrated by Madhavanti Anantharajan, it has been translated into Ladakhi by Gen Konchok Phanday. 
We are raising funds to have Chos skyid slob grva’a cha’a nog published, printed and shipped to Ladakh for Ladakhi children. Contributions are welcome. Email: or call +919622140328
Note : This fundraising campaign is being run and managed by Avalokitesvara Trust. Any money donated to the campaign will go to Avalokitesvara Trust only.

'AdiKahani' Series Launched in Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga Languages

News of our latest books being launched in Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga languages has been covered by a few more publications.

Sonali Acharjee covers the book launch in India Today

Drawing inspiration from the challenges facing tribal education, three organisations, Pratham Books, Ignus-ERG with the support of Bernard van Leer Foundation, held Write workshops with authors speaking Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga languages. This has led to a unique partnership to publish books for children in these tribal languages.

"This project marks a new chapter in the tenth year of Pratham Books as it is a significant first step in reaching the last child. It also links marginalized cultures with the world of formal education and could well be the beginning of creating a canon of literature for children from the ground up," explains Manisha Chaudhry, head of content development, Pratham Books.

The books are in bilingual format. Using Odia script, they have charming stories for beginner readers drawn from the rich oral tradition of these languages and the illustrations use tribal art with contemporary twist. "This is a very important step for us as it marks the beginning of a journey where a publisher not only publishes in Indian languages but also in languages which don't have a script. We are seeding a new set of readers and showing the way to other publishers to reach a nascent market but which will see exponential growth," says Himanshu Giri, COO, Pratham Books.


The event was also covered on

Pratham Books launched the first set of ten books in four tribal languages and four story cards for the reading pleasure of children at Bakul Foundation, Bhubaneswar. 

Tribal children face many challenges when they enrol in schools, the least among them is having to learn in a language that is different from their mother tongue. The state of Odisha has recognized this, and has taken the lead in imparting education in the mother tongue, in the early grades. The educational journey of lakhs of tribal children will be easier and more rooted in their own reality and culture. 

The event started with the launch of the books by Padmashri Prof D.P Pattnayak (eminent linguist and educationist who was the Director Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore) and panelists Ms. Dharitri Patnaik (BvLF), AnantaMohapatra, Dash Benhur, DigantaMohantyand Mr. Subir Shukla had a discussion on "Democratizing the joy of reading for all children: A case for books in tribal languages". There were storytelling sessions by tribal language storytellers for children simultaneously. The children loved the stories and for many it was a very nostalgic moment to hear stories from their own culture.