Friday, March 7, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
At Pratham Books, we publish books in more than 11 Indian languages. But we realize that this is definitely not enough to reach the child in the last village and it is not enough to get 'a book in every child's hand'. As we constantly work towards crossing linguistic barriers and getting our books into the hands of children, this article on language diversity is a timely reminder.
India is celebrated for its rich linguistic diversity, but has never had an exhaustive record of its languages—till now. The ambitious People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI), a project that began in 2010 with the aim of documenting every living language in the country, has been completed. Led byGanesh Devy , a 63-year-old linguist and 2011 Unesco Linguapax laureate, a team of over 3,000 volunteers comprising academics, farmers, authors, school teachers, linguists, nomads and activists, have mapped the linguistic contours of India. The count is a staggering 780 distinct languages. What makes PLSI unique is that it maps those languages that may have less than 10,000 speakers, and are thus not recognized by government census surveys. The 2001 Census lists 122 languages.
Apart from the cultural aspect, why is linguistic diversity desirable?
Language today has become an economic capital around the world. The future technology—computers, mobile tech—their basic material is language. Having many tongues will come to be seen, in a not so distant future, as great economic capital.
Research has shown a strong correlation between improved cognitive abilities in children when they are taught in their mother tongue in primary school...
If you don’t teach a child in the language that he or she uses at home, then what you impose on the child is called “aphasia”—the cutting of the child’s tongue. How do we teach young children in their own language? I don’t know that. But we haven’t even figured out what kind of institution, what kind of system we need to impart primary education. If we have foodgrains, but not enough godowns, are we going to throw them in the ocean? Or should we look for innovative ways and systems to save them and use them? We should not be looking at language as a developmental liability, but as an economic asset.
If you like our books and want to translate them into a language we do not publish in, please take any of our Creative Commons licensed books and remix them. Let us know once you've translated it and we can help layout the book and share it with the world.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Last month, you had a chance to see the wonderfully animated video of our new book 'Too Much Noise'. The awesome folks at BookBox have animated a few of our Creative-Commons licensed books and they are part of a brand new series called 'Little BookBoxers'.
Through this series we would like to provide stories that are simple and fun for toddlers (2 to 4 year olds) who have just started reading and learning languages.
As always, our stories are powered by Same Language Subtitling (SLS) that helps improve reading and language learning, subconsciously.
Currently four of our books are being hosted on their YouTube Channel and they have been collectively viewed 44,000+ times. Phew!
Thank you BookBox Team for making this exciting versions of our books available for young readers.
Visit the BookBox website to learn more about the work they do!
If you are unable to watch the videos in this post, please click on the links below to watch them:
1. The Moon and the Cap
2. Bunty and Bubbly
3. Vayu, the Wind
4. Too Much Noise
Leave a comment and let us know which animated story you like the best. Happy watching!
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Manoj Sharma writes about young turks who are re-inventing Hindi literature.
Via Hindustan Times
A new breed of writers in Hindi, many of them IIT-IIM graduates, are seeking to become the agents of a new revolution in Hindi literature. Their protagonists represent the young, resurgent India and its problems as well as dreams.
The idea was to make the book look cool,” says Dubey. He belongs to a new line of authors in Hindi who are rewriting the rules of the game. Their aim is to take their books to a whole new generation of Hindi readers. Dubey aspires to be a Chetan Bhagat of Indian writing in Hindi as far as accessibility and entertainment value of his books are concerned.
“The reason why Hindi does not have new, popular bestsellers like those in English, is because most of those writing in Hindi are stuck in a time warp, telling stories that aspirational youth of today cannot relate to. My stories in Hindi tackle subjects that the youth can immediately identify with,” says Dubey, 32, an engineer and MBA by education, who presently works as a marketing manager with a leading cellular company in Mumbai.
“I could have easily written my book in English, but I thought my stories will be better told in Hindi. There is a wrong notion in Hindi literary world that only those who are MA and PhD in Hindi can write books in the language. Writers like me are trying to change that perception,” says Sachan, who works with an MNC in Gurgaon as a consultant.
“These writers are not only choosing their topics wisely but also know how to promote their books. The success of Hindi translations of the books of writers such as Chetan Bhagat and Ravinder Singh are a testimony to the fact that if Hindi publishers had promoted these writers they could also have scripted similar success stories,” says Prabhat Ranjan, a Hindi writer who has translated works of many well-known English writers such as Vikram Chandra, Mohsin Hamid and Khushwant Singh.
Shailesh Bharatwasi, 30, an engineer by education who founded a Hindi publishing house by the name of Hind Yugm in 2010, says that he is trying to do what most established publishers should have done long back. “Instead of finding new, young writers in Hindi who wish to experiment with themes, plots and language they are only re-printing classics. They are not willing to take risks," says Bharatwasi.
Something of interest for our illustrator friends.
Via Asian Festival of Children's Content
The closing date for submission of digital copies is 13 March 2014.
Via Asian Festival of Children's Content
The Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG) is part of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) from 30 May – 4 June 2014. BIG aims to showcase the works of local and regional illustrators and artists – across genres and borders – and promote them to a wider audience.
You are invited to submit artwork that has appeared in children’s books, audio/video products, comics or graphic novels or games, published between January 2013 and March 2014. You should submit a maximum of 5 pieces of artwork. Please do not re-enter artwork submitted to BIG in previous years.
Click here for more information on submission guidelines.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Recently, we had an opportunity to work with WWE Wrestler Big Show. A collaboration between Zee TV, Ten Sports, WWE and Pratham Books resulted in interactive sessions with kids from Pratham Learning centres in Delhi and Mumbai. We, of course, were thrilled to participate and introduce the book 'Pehelwanji' to young readers.
Purnendu from our Delhi team said:
Children started interacting with him by asking his real name (his real name is Paul) and his weight. Big show was really humble and he signed our Pehelwanji books and also autographed an A4 size picture of his for the kids. The kids reciprocated his gesture by handing out a handmade greetings and thank you card. Out of 20 cards he really liked 2 cards. It was really fun for the children and they were happy to get this beautiful opportunity.
|Big Show meeting kids in Delhi|
Raviraj from our Mumbai team shared:
Today we met Pehelwanji - and he doesn't drink milk! Big Show is a really big guy but he is very cool, frank and polite to everyone. Today (Valentine's Day) is very special for him as 14th February, 1999 was when he debuted at WWF.
The session went off well and the kids were very happy to see a 7 foot Pehelwanji.
Sampurna from our Mumbai team was also thrilled to meet Big Show. She said:
He is such a lovable hulk! I had never met a wrestler before and wrestling bouts are not my cup of coffee. But this 7ft 400 pounder is just too cute. We had the most interesting conversation on a wide variety of things . You can see what a hit he was with the kids from the pictures.
Met some great kids today - handed out books and hugs. Thanks #prathambooks pic.twitter.com/tMYohhT9yP
— Big Show (@WWETheBigShow) February 13, 2014
Another group of fantastic kids thanks to #prathambooks in Mumbai pic.twitter.com/mbQ7wpmfkQNavbharat Times also carried this photo and The Hindu carried an adorable picture of Big Show and the kids.
— Big Show (@WWETheBigShow) February 14, 2014
Thank you Big Show for spreading your love and the joy of reading!
For those who want to hear the Pehelwanji story, you can hear it at:
Arundhati Hazra writes that the trend of book trailers may be catching up in India
Via The Hindu
Marketing efforts are an increasingly elaborate affair, with multi-city book tours, use of Facebook and Twitter to interact with readers, and more recently, book trailers.
The book trailer draws on the interconnectivity of today’s world, where readers can view the trailer online before reading the book on their tablets or e-readers. Says Mukul Khattar of Inknuts, an Indian creative agency that produces book trailers: “Though a book trailer serves the same purpose as a blurb, its reach is far more. It has the ability to grab the limited attention span of readers, and engage youth hooked on social media. Publishers also play their book trailers at book launches, OOH and LiveMedia outlets, providing visibility to the book. Book trailers also serve as a great presentation tool, helping independent authors to make an impactful pitch and find a publisher.”
In India too, the trend of the book trailer has caught on, with publishing houses like Harper Collins and Westland releasing trailers for some of their major publications. Authors, too, are upbeat about the medium. Says author Ashwin Sanghi, “A trailer increases a potential reader’s awareness of a title and thus makes him or her more likely to purchase it when he or she sees it among several other titles on the racks of a book shop. The trailer I made for my book The Rozabal Line had over 50,000 views in a month. I think the trailer played a vital role in pushing awareness for the book.”
Authors play a major role in the conceptualization of book trailers. Says Dhar: “The author plays an important role in terms of working with the producer on the theme, key ideas, visuals etc.” Sanghi concurs. “In both Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key, the central shloka from the book was used as the soundtrack. Once we have a soundtrack, I personally develop the storyboard that would convey the key elements of the novel while not giving away too much. The storyboard and soundtrack are passed on to the agency which has the task of putting together appropriate visuals.”
Read the entire article.
And here's a book trailer we like :)
And here's a book trailer we like :)
Friday, February 28, 2014
A sweet film to welcome the weekend with :)
C.D. Hermelin was broke when he decided to bring his typewriter to a park and type unique, one-of-a-kind stories for any passersby with a few dollars to spare. And people responded. Even as the project grew in notoriety, the spirit stayed the same - a writer with his typewriter, trying to come up with something good. The Roving Typist is his story.
Angad Daryani has been called a number of things: child prodigy, little genius, the inspiring teenager, but he can best be described by one word—Maker. Home schooled by teachers who focus on hands on learning, Angad has always been passionate about building things, from improvising already existing software to making custom hardware. When a guy builds a Rep Rap 3D printer at the age of 13, you know there is no stopping him.
Angad's love for aquatic animals led him to name his DIY Kits company, Shark Kits, whose open source kits are available for Indian enthusiasts at reasonable prices. This one-man-army has supplied Rep Raps to prestigious institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, where he is also currently doing research on Desktop Prototyping with Tree Labs.
His passion for building things led to the invention of Virtual Brailler, a device that converts digital text from Roman to braille in real time to give tactile braille feedback to the tracked finger of a visually challenged person. This low cost ebook reader for the blind is a revolutionary product that could make books accessible to millions of people who currently depend on time-consuming methods like getting braille books printed or unintuitive methods like text-to-speech. This project was developed in collaboration with other engineers and designers at the DIy Workshop, Hyderabad, and the team plans to take it forward, so that they could help blind people know the joy of paperless reading through open source.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
A fresh batch of books have arrived from the press. A bat goes missing in 'The Missing Bat' and a horse goes missing in 'The Elephant Bird'. Where could they have gone? Travel through Kashmir to find the missing bat and join a brave girl to uncover the mystery of the missing horse.
Two of our new books are women-centric stories and introduce young readers to three interesting women. 'My Two Great-grandmothers' is a sensitive tale from Norway about a little girl who learns about about her two very different great-grandmothers and their two very different worlds. In ' We Call her Ba', we learn about the world of Kasturba Gandhi and the story of her strong identity, courage and tremendous will power.
Add a splash of fun to the holidays by getting your hands on these books. Click here to order.
Via Yahoo! Finance
The sixth annual BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Development Cooperation category goes to the NGO Pratham, which for over twenty years has successfully catered to the learning needs of tens of millions of disadvantaged children. In doing so, it has designed and implemented new methods that accelerates reading learning skills, using a grassroots approach in which pupils are grouped by actual levels and needs instead of age, while providing specific training to the teachers and volunteers recruited for its programs.
In the jury's words, "Pratham has expanded the scope of education in resource-constrained areas, going from simple schooling access to effective learning. It has done so through two significant innovations: the creation of simple, accurate and reliable tools for communities to assess learning; and a process that uses scientific evidence to develop new cost-effective programs that drastically improve learning levels."
Congrats Team Pratham!
Amar Chitra Katha launched a comic book based on Munshi Premchand’s stories at the New Delhi World Book Fair.
|Image source : Amar Chitra Katha|
Via The Hindu
Sumita Misra, managing director of Haryana Tourism Corporation launched Amar Chitra Katha’s (ACK) 32-page comic “Do Bael - Munshi Premchand ki Kahaaniyan” last week at the World Book Fair, comprising two of Premchand’s stories — Budhi Kaki and Do Bael. The former is the story of a little girl Laadli’s love for an aged and abandoned grandaunt while the latter is about two oxen who are astonished at the cruelty of human beings towards animals.
Describing the new title as a tribute to one of the greatest writers in Hindi, Munshi Premchand, Manas Mohan, chief operating office of ACK said: “Budhi Kaki and Do Bael are two of the author’s beautiful works waiting to be shared with children, and what better way to do it than a comic book.”
The executive also added that, “We believe that the best way to connect to a wider audience base is by spreading the reach of our comics to various regional languages.
Reena Puri, editor, ACK described the comic as an “attempt to introduce a writer of Premchand’s stature to younger children who may not be very familiar with his work. Though, his stories have been present in school text books for senior classes, we felt that an introduction at a middle school level would help the child understand and enjoy the stories even more.”