Monday, August 31, 2009

Funky Lunch - Sandwich Art

It is almost lunch time and though we aren't too hungry with the invasion of a bag of chocolates (two kgs of chocolates!) in our office today, this is an apt time to mention Funky Lunch - a sandwich art project by Mark Northeast.

Via Funky Lunch

Funky Lunch was born out of the desire to turn an ordinary lunchtime sandwich into something a bit different to encourage children to try and eat a varied and healthy lunch.

We hope to produce a book of our Funky Lunches to show you how to create them and how to incorporate new foods into your childs meal by distracting them from what they are actually eating.
See more funky sandwiches here.

Image Source

Pratham Books is at the Delhi Book Fair and Rangashankara's International Theatre Festival

The Festival season is here!

Can Pratham Books be far behind? Exciting contests! An armful of colourful books! Interesting, absorbing, delightful...almost as good as ice cream!

About the Delhi Book Fair (via The Hindu)

Stating that books play a significant role in shaping the mindset of the younger generation, Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid on Saturday appealed to India publishers to bring out books that are constructive, secular and progressive in outlook.

Pointing out the significant role played by books in national integration by “building literary bridges across the socio-cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the country,” Mr. Khurshid expressed happiness over the considerable growth of the Indian publishing sector and its integration with the global book market.

The Minister emphasised the need for some of the eminent Indian authors publishing in English language to consider publishing in the country rather than overseas. “This would eliminate the waiting time for such books to reach book lovers in India. I am optimistic that the issue of volumes or attitudinal factors that may be coming in the way of publishing such books in the country could be appropriately sorted out.”

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary (Ministry of Culture) Jawhar Sircar disclosed that the Prime Minister had set up an advisory committee for the National Library for compilation and digitalisation of large number of books. “Ninety thousand books published every year in India are sent to The National Library. As a result of the process of digitalising and modernising the cataloguing process, many books lying unattended will be made available to readers. It was estimated that as part of the modernisation process it would take about two and half years to have all books in The National Library in the digital format.”
Read the entire article here.

The tiny visitors (3-8 years) to our stall at the Delhi Book Fair stand a chance to win a gift hamper by entering the 'Samira's Lunch Box contest'. Submit your entries at the Pratham Books stall before 4th September, 2009. The winners can collect their prizes at the book release of 'Samira's Awful Lunch' at 2pm on 5th September, 2009.

Bangaloreans, fret not! Our books are also available at Rangashankara's book stall (and we are also giving away a free book with some of our book sets).

Meet us at:
Delhi Book Fair
Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
Hall 12A, Stall 36
Aug 29 to Sept 06, 2009

Sankars Book Stall
Ranga Shankara,
J.P. Nagar, Bengaluru
Aug 26 to Sept 06, 2009

You are sure to find us wherever there are children and wherever there is fun!!!

Theatre for the Very Young

Rangashankara's 'Aha! Fest '09' has two exquisite plays from Germany to entertain tiny tots. Watch 'The Great Lalula' on Septmeber 1st at 10am, 5pm and 7pm. Watch 'The Garbage Mouse' on September 3rd at 5pm and 7.30 pm. Please click on the image above for more information on these two plays.


The week that was...

We received great news last week about some of our books winning awards at The Federation of Indian Publishers Awards for Excellence in Book Production 2009. As our older books win awards, our new set of our books are ready to reach kids across India soon. Check out our new catalogue and gift your children a brand new set of books. A belated Happy Birthday to our favourite swimmer Virdhawal Khade who continues to inspire kids across India with his success and detemination.

If you are on Twitter, you can help build a library by just following @owos. When the number of supporters reaches 100000, Grolier International (the Indian subsidiary of Scholastic Inc.) will donate a library to Project Why.

'For the Children of India' talks about the importance of early education in India. Sanskrit poet Satya Vrat Shastri received the 42nd Jnanpith Award for his “outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Indian literature". Satyajit Ray's iconic detective Feluda enters the world of comics. 'Where I Write' is a project by Kyle Cassidy which documents the creative environments/spaces of science fiction writers. Read about the views and opinions shared by the Indian newspaper industry on the pricing of newspapers at the 3rd Annual South Asia Newspaper Conference.

Nina Paley is allowing access to the source files of her lovely animated movie 'Sita Sings the Blues'. So, happy remixing everyone!

Some drawing fun for kids... Kids in India have a chance of having their doodle being displayed on Google India's homepage by sending in their entries for the Doodle 4 Google contest (Last date for entries: 30th September 2009). Kids can also try their hand at drawing a happy cover for the brilliant Anorak Magazine.

Are your students/kids are participating in the 'Design for Giving' contest. The contest invites solutions from children to challenging, common problems we see in society using the Feel-Imagine-Do-Share concept.

Drag yourselves and your kids to Rangashankara's 'Aha! International Theatre Festival for Children' and treat yourself to a host of plays from Germany, Australia, Argentina and India. (Pssst: our books are also available at their bookstore, so keep a look out for them).

And don't forget to check out a potpourri of links on our Twittering Thursday post.

Image Source: Martin Haesemeyer

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Virdhawal Inspires Kids

We were sitting in a tiny Akshara Foundation community library in a narrow alley in Banashankari, Bangalore. studying children's reactions to our books. Playing 'love,like,hate, adore' with our books, the kids came to 'Kolhapur to Beijing-Freestyle!' Raju, an auto-driver's 10-year old son,wanted to be the first to speak about it. "Very good story, Miss! And Virdhawal is so brave---he was not scared of a snake even when he was little. And he worked hard to become a good swimmer. I want to be like him too. And after reading this book, I know it is possible to win big awards even if we are from a poor family!"

Srikala, a Class 6 student in a government school, spoke up next. "There is no swimming pool here, but I practice running everyday now. I want to become a champion in sports too!"

Today, as Virdhawal Khade turns 18, we are proud that he has inspired thousands of children in India. As an author who had the privilege to write the book, I can't suppress this almost-motherly pride in him! Pratham Books is proud to be associated with him, and wishes Veer a very happy birthday and an excellent future. We would also like to raise a toast to his parents Vikram and Sunita, his coach Nihar Ameen, his promoters Nandan, Hakimuddin and Joseph at GoSports and to all those who believe in him.....because they have not just helped him win medals, they have also helped to inspire a lot of children to dream big and to show that dreams can come true.Happy Birthday, Veer!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Namma Jathre

So many events are happening this weekend. Which one are you going for?

Via Citizen Matters
In early 2006, many non-profit and community based organizations like SICHREM, ESG, Sangama, Open Space, Stree Jagruthi Samiti et al and individuals (like yours truly) working with marginalized persons and social issues in and around Bangalore felt the need for an open, informal gathering and expression of life, our spirit and beliefs. The idea crystallized into Namma Jathre, Our Festival signfying that it is an event by and for everyone.

This year the festival travels to Freedom Park on Seshadri Road (Bangalore's erstwhile jail opposite Maharani College) on 29th & 30th August 2009 from 10 am - 5 pm

Namma Jathre will be 'free' i.e., there will be no entry or participation fees. It is for children, and adults, for the elderly and the differently abled, to come and see modest efforts at creating a better world - a world as it should be; with lots of fun, laughter, song and dance.

So in this festival there will be: *Free entrance *Free participation *Free software *Free films *Free toys *Free books *Free Right to Information Clinic for a Corruption Free India

with * Song * Dance * Theatre * Painting * Clay Modelling * Food * Community crafts * Fair trade * Sports

...and lots and lots of fun and sharing for all age groups and interests.

More information here. If you do go, let us know how the event was.

Image Source: Swami Stream

The Indian Newspaper Industry on Pricing of Newspapers

Via The Hindu
Representatives from the Indian newspaper industry discussed a more realistic cover price for newspapers at the 3rd Annual South Asia Newspaper Conference, organised by the International Newsmedia Marketing Association here on Thursday.
Speaking at the conference, N. Murali, Managing Director of The Hindu, said an attempt should be made to correct somewhat the highly skewed price structure of newspapers. “The print media, which has been used to 20 per cent growth in advertising levels, can now expect it to grow at only single-digit figures. As long as advertisers were willing to pay and till the boom period lasted, we were getting by. But now, a serious wake-up call is needed.”
“What kind of industry can have a type of revenue or pricing model where the cover price does not cover even part of its newsprint costs,” asked Mr. Murali. “The cover price of newspapers should be raised by 50 paise every six months so that newspapers cost between six-seven rupees in two-three years.”
Ravi Dhariwal of The Times of India said all newspapers had profited from low cover prices which resulted in increased penetration. “Earlier, advertising was paying for increasing circulation, but now newspapers are experiencing diminishing returns. It is time for experimenting with the cover price and taking slow and small steps towards increasing it.”
Mid-Day Multimedia Ltd. Managing Director Tariq Ansari said the most important thing for readers was the credibility of the newspaper. “Advertising has started entering the editorial domain and can destroy the credibility. Therefore, it is important to hike circulation prices.”
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: m4r00n3d

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Draw Anorak a Happy Cover

Hey Kids!

Bring out your colour pencils, crayons or whatever you like to draw with and draw a cover for the brilliantly colourful and happy Anorak Magazine.

From their blog

Doodlers, scribblers, artists, time to sharpen your pencils and get your imagination cells buzzing.
We are extremely excited and proud to launch a very special Anorak Design Mission, in collaboration with our lovely friends at Tate, Sharpie Pens, Design Toy Store and Human Empire.

Open to all art students from around the world, we are giving you the opportunity to come up with an innovative design for the cover of our Winter issue of Anorak magazine. The cover must contain the following words: ‘Anorak the happy mag for kids’ and must be fun.

This competition is open to ALL students around the world, so whether you live in Moscow or Morocco, Belize or Birmingham, Falmouth or France you can take part!

Closing date for entries: 30th October 2009.
Read the entire post here for more information and submission guidelines.

Twittering Thursday

We are a tad bit behind on our Twittering Thursday posts... So look out for posts with our Twitter recaps in the coming days. From articles on education to random ramblings...from open source news to funky design links... from publishing news to lovely illustrations.. read on to find what is in store for you.

The illustrations for our books which are currently under a Creative Commons license have been created by the lovely duo- Angie and Upesh. Check out their work on their spanking new website. If you visit our blog (or Twitter/Friendfeed/Facebook) and find out about events we conduct after they finish, you can subscribe to our mailing list to get information about our events, book downloads, etc. Did you see our pictures from the NPS bookfair?

Revisited the NamelessleTTer project where people leave personalized bookmarks in books while browsing through our archives.

Things we were reading on the Karnataka Learning Partnership blog included Why Some Teachers Fail the Test; Teach India : Make Learning Fun and Schooling, not just schools. Many of the articles revolved around the court's decision on the state's language policy- Don’t Shut English-medium Schools, Says Apex Court; Can Our Children Face the Big New World Without English; and Impact of State Government's Language Policy.


More on the Teach India movement

Hilary calls for inclusive education


Full Circle - another bookstore for our friends in Madras to visit

Pratilipi is a bilingual quarterly magazine with tons of interesting articles. Read the June 2009 issue here

On the 123rd birth anniversary of Beatrix Potter, we were reading 'On the trail...with Beatrix Potter '

@abhaga: Getting an ISBN in India


Toy libraries catch on in India

@palinn: Orkut and Facebook most popular destinations for urban Indian schoolchildren


BIG Tech Donations Program : Building ICT Capacities at the Grassroots

Checking out Question Box's 'World Wants to Know' application - a data visualization suite of questions being asked by rural populations around the globe.

@cnxorg: Finding Open Education Resources

@tinucherian: Tamil Wikipedia crosses 10, 000 registered users, Ford Foundation Grant of $300,000 to support Wikimedia Commons

@indianfolklore: Using social media to present documentation of the marginalized; Getting Indian Villages on Wikipedia;


CRY invites research proposals on child rights. Send in your submissions before 12th September, 2009.

@adropofwisdom: Joy of Giving week to be held from Sep 27 to Oct 3 across India


@globalvoices: Democracy Video Challenge Winner Showcase

@weheartbooks: Breath taking watercolour illustrations:

@meanestindian: Lengthening life-cycles. Bottom-up entrepreneurial activity in India

Look out for more Twitter recaps in the coming days. If you are on Twitter, follow us @prathambooks.

Image Source: H is for Home

For the Children of India

Via livemint

Some sights and sounds remain sharply etched in the mind—the five-year-old in a preschool that we had set up in a Bangalore slum, who cheerily sang a rhyme about butterflies but said she had never seen one; the little children in the fields in Bettiah, who looked like they were just playing, but in actuality were catching tiny fish from the ponds for their dinner; the 10-year-old boy who stood outside a school in Kolar, but could not bridge the social distance to get in.

Often, I wonder—what is it about our society that we allow the children to be among the most deprived in the world? Cutting across class and caste and region, why do we seem to care so little about the inalienable rights of the child to a childhood of love and joy and good health and good education? How does a society of adults become accountable for the treatment of its youngest citizens?

Let’s set aside the more abominable atrocities for a moment, and focus on early education. The debate has shifted to higher studies, but we cannot afford to take the foot off the pedal on elementary education. It is the foundation on which equal opportunity rests.

There is far more to be done in making schools accountable to the child for what she learns, and how she learns it.

There are differing viewpoints on how this can be achieved—from the idea of a common school system, to that of school choice. It is unlikely that these two extremes can ever meet but, in the meanwhile, there is a whole range of policies that can move the needle along.

At Akshara Foundation, for instance, we worked closely with the Karnataka education department to help create supplementary teaching material, with which children left behind were able to ramp up their language and math skills. We also enabled a geographic information system, or GIS, based technology backbone that allowed the monitoring of progress on a child-to-child basis at the entire district level. This is data which currently the system does not collate. More investments are needed to design a bottom-up, appropriate information symmetry that can be equally accessed by parents, school-level administrations, and by the district and the state.

School libraries are just one more instance of a neglected infrastructure that we need a nationwide spotlight on. Sometimes, we talk of a laptop for every child or broadband connectivity for every school when the more immediate task of getting children good books to read remains in shambles. Hundreds of millions of children currently have no access to the joyful reading that made our own childhood special. And the sad truth is there are simply not enough books in the market anyway. When we set up school and community libraries, we bought every book that was available written by Indian authors for children and found only a few hundred books in any language. Pratham Books was born out of this lacuna. In the past five years, we have created more than 150 titles, translated into seven or eight languages each and have put seven million books into the hands of eager young children.

But that is nowhere near enough. The Children’s Book Trust, the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) and private publishers such as Tulika have been creating just a handful of children’s books each year. What we really need is to foster a whole industry that creates millions of attractive and appropriate books for children and channel them into the school system and into gram panchayat libraries. In an economy that is based so much on textual knowledge for self-empowerment, this is the least we can do to prepare children.

We all know that India has the world’s most malnourished children. Yet the Anganwadi-ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) scheme, which aims to reach every child in the country by 2012, did not get the appropriate increase in budget allocation to achieve that goal. Meeting the nutritional and developmental needs of children till the age of 6 is absolutely critical for the educational journey they will undertake. Anganwadi children need much more material for playful learning. They also need simple textual content, which children of more affluent homes easily access.

We need to refocus sharply on improving the lives of young children. The horrendous numbers hold a mirror to us that something more is going on, something that goes beyond economics.

For India’s children, things clearly will not change by themselves. If it takes a village to raise a child, it would take a whole nation to properly raise the 10 million children born in India every year.
Image Source: Pratham Books

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Satyajit Ray's Detective Feluda Enters the World of Comics

Via express buzz

Detective Feluda is here, Tintin-style. The iconic private eye - a character created by legendary filmmaker-writer Satyajit Ray in his Bengali whodunits - has entered the animated, colourful world of comic books.

Feluda alias Prodosh Kumar Mitter - who acquired cult following among young readers in West Bengal in the 1970s and 80s and later on screen - has been put together in comic book format by children's writer Subhadra Sengupta and illustrator Tapas Guha, both of whom are based here.

Two of the first lot of five books, "Beware in the Graveyard" and "A Bagful of Mystery", were published by Penguin Books-India this week and will be launched soon.

"In 'A Bagful of Mystery', detective Feluda's client Dinanath Lahiri finds his bag replaced with an identical one on a train from Delhi to Kolkata. As Feluda comes in to investigate, the bag throws up complex mysteries. A rare manuscript or an artefact might have found its way into his bag," said text-writer Sengupta, outlining the stories to IANS.

"Beware in the Graveyard" revolves around a rare watch, which lies in an old grave at the Park Street cemetery in Kolkata."An antique watch dealer tries to steal it with the descendants of the dead man. The action packed search takes the private eye and his team through the streets of Kolkata," Sengupta said.

Feluda and his team, of course, shed their 70s garb and language.

"I have given him a contemporary look. His clothes are 21st century and in some of the books - which I am working on - he also uses the cellphone. His nephew, Topesh, speaks like a modern-day teenager and the language is today's. I was inspired by Satyajit Ray's son Sandip Ray's movies which had contemporised Feluda. But I did not touch the plots or the landmarks that he described in the book - though I have changed some locations to make it more visually appealing," Sengupta said.
Read the entire article here. You can buy the books here and here.

Authors Subhadra Sengupta and illustrator Tapas Guha are also the same people behind our delightful History series.

Image Source

Sanskrit poet Satya Vrat Shastri gets Jnanpith

Via The Hindu

Eminent Sanskrit poet Satya Vrat Shastri was presented the prestigious 42nd Jnanpith Award by the Princess of Thailand, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, at a function at the Parliament House here for his “outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Indian literature.”

Organised by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, the award recognises Dr. Shastri for introducing a number of new genres in Sanskrit writing such as autobiography, diary and collections of letters in verse. His magnum opus, The Ramayana: A Linguistic Study, is the first ever linguistic appraisal of the Valmiki Ramayana and also of any existing Sanskrit work.

“I have never kept an account of what I achieved during the past eight decades of my life. Newer and newer ideas, thoughts and aspirations for creative expressions would surge in my mind, not allow me time for brooding over what was over. My first poem saw the light of day when I was 12. And the journey that started with it has continued through a number of intermediary stations in the form of three Mahakavyas, three Khandakavyas, a Prabandhakavya and a two-volume Patrakavya.”
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Participate in the 'Design for Giving' Contest

As September approaches, the news about the Joy of Giving week continues to increase. Hope your students/kids are participating in the 'Design for Giving' contest (Read here and watch this and this).

Via The Hindu
The national-level school contest aspires to let children inspire people to give — money, books, toys, time, smiles, etc, and also show them how to.

With a reach of 31,000 schools across the length and breadth of India, the contest invites solutions from children to challenging, common problems we see in society using the Feel-Imagine-Do-Share concept. “We believe that the real change should happen from children and this contest will help us learn how they look at challenges and arrive at solutions,” explains Mrs. Kiran Sethi, Founder / Director of the Riverside School which is anchoring the event.

The campaigns or ‘designs for change’ can range from anything like bake sales, no-car day, help strangers day, plastic-free campaigns, clothes drive, evening classes for underprivileged…

There are loads of prizes to be won and in different categories too like Boldest Idea, Quickest Impact, Maximum Potential for Long-term Change and more. Also, to remind people what powerful tools of change children can be, Pratham Books will publish select stories of change in a series of books that will be translated into seven languages.
Read the entire article here. You can visit the website for more information on the contest.

Image Source: kuttibalu

We Won a Few Awards :)

Yayyyy! We sent in some entries for The Federation of Indian Publishers Awards for Excellence in Book Production 2009. And the books that won an award were ... *drum roll please*...

Jale Ki Jaadugar-Makdi (Hindi) - Second - Children Books (Textbooks & General)

Mera Ghar (Punjabi) - Certificate of Merit- Children Books (Textbooks & General)
(Regional Languages)

Jale Ki Jaadugar-Makdi (or Nature's Webmasters) is available in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati and can be ordered here. Read a short blog post on this book here.

Mere Ghar (or My Home) is available in the following languages: English, Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu. You can order the book here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where I Write - Photos of Science Fiction Writers' Nests

'Where I Write' is a project by Kyle Cassidy which documents the creative environments/spaces of science fiction writers.

From the website
I spend a lot of time thinking about people's environments -- the places they build around themselves, the things they choose to live with. Is there a connection, I started to wonder if there was a connection between the places that writers work and their work itself.

Why not find out?

Where I Write will be featured as eight pages in the 2009 Worldcon program guide. A much larger collection is being compiled into a book featuring Neil Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, and many others along with interviews about their spaces.
See more pictures here.

Image Source

Twittering for a cause - Help build a library

Via VentureWoods

Do children have a right to books, toys and the freedom to read, learn and imagine?

I am not sure if the constitution guarantees it but working as an entrepreneur in the Indian Education sector that is something I found missing. While we talk of revolutionizing education by the use of technology, millions wait for their first book.

Our World Our Stories (OWOS) is an initiative to do something about this. OWOS will create children books and the means to take book to all children, especially the ones usually left behind.

As a first step, please help us in building a library for the kids at Project Why - an 8 year old NGO. All you have to do is follow @owos on Twitter - When the number of supporters reaches 100000, Grolier International (the Indian subsidiary of Scholastic Inc.) will donate a library to Project Why. It’s that simple!

You can also support the project on Facebook at and learn more about it at

Indian users also stand to win one of their 100 monthly prizes that include 25-50% discount coupons for 100s of books titles, free encyclopedia sets and premium educational aids from Grolier. We are already following @owos. We hope you do too!

Image Source

Aashayein Walkathon - A Walk for Education

Join Aashayein Foundation at the ‘Aashayein Walkathon 09’ on August 30th at Kanteerava stadium, Bangalore.

Via Citizen Matters
The event is expected to start at 7:30 AM. We invite people from all walks of life to come together for the cause of education. Our intent is to create an opportunity for people to come forward and involve one-self to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children. It’s a walk for the celebration of education.

We work on all aspects of providing quality education to under privileged children. Apart from sponsoring education for some, there are programs to improve education in associated government schools, distribution of uniforms, stationary and school bags in rural sectors and breakfast serving in schools, orphanages and old-age homes.

The event is a fund-raiser cum awareness drive to let people know about the foundation and its goals. The 4 km walk starting at Kanteerva Indoor stadium aims to create a platform to interact with people from all walks of life, to emphasise on the importance of education and to present them with an opportunity to contribute to the lives of the kids by joining the group.

Last year, the walkathon saw the participation of 400 plus enthusiastic Bangaloreans and helped raise Rs. 7.5 lakhs for the cause. This year, the awareness has grown and so has event. With media partners such as Fun cinemas, DHOOM network and Radio One, the foundation aims to raise adequate funds for its projects and also double its strength by enrolling more and more enthusiastic volunteers.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: Aashayein Foundation

More news on 'Aha! International Theatre Festival for Children'

More news on 'Aha! International Theatre Festival for Children'...

Via The Hindu
Aha! Yes, this title says it all, and probably what you will say when you see the variety of theatre experiences that will unfurl at this festival organised by Ranga Shankara in Bangalore from August 26 to September 6.

So, how would you enjoy this seemingly serious experience? It is especially designed for children as young as 20 months, to 14 years, and has theatre groups from Germany, Australia and Argentina, not to mention many others from India, explains Arundhati Nag, or the `ranga shankara' aunty as children fondly call her.

`Garbage Mouse' staged by a German group, `The Stones' from Australia and `Pirates Code' from Argentina, are a few plays that are on the cards. `The Great Lalula,' a charming and well-researched production for children aged 20 months to three years promises to be an interesting and novel experience.
Read the entire article here. See the schedule of events here.

Click on the image above to read details of some of the events.

Some of our books will also be available at Rangashankara, so look out for them!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Doodle 4 Google - My India

A tweet from @balaji_a led us to the following :

At Google, we like to reflect the ever-changing world of our users through the logo designs on our homepage.

We’re now giving you a chance to design a doodle for us, through our doodle competition, Doodle 4 Google. If you are currently a student in any school in India (between the 1st and 10th standards), then this is your chance to have your doodle be displayed on the Google India homepage. The theme of this competition is 'My India'. We'd love to see what your country means to you when represented in a doodle. Whether it’s music or dance, famous Indian art, Mahatma Gandhi, the Taj Mahal, cricket, our scientific achievements or the Indian people as a community- we’re interested in seeing these representations of what India means to you and how you represent it using images.

The best doodles will be voted on by a panel of judges as well as by the Indian public, and the winning doodle will be featured on the Google India homepage for a day, to be viewed by millions of people. The final winner will also win his or her very own laptop (and a technology grant for their school)!
More information here. Post your entry before 30th September 2009.

Image Source: pipot83

Sita Sings the Blues Sourcefiles Online

Nina Paley is allowing access to the source files of her lovely animated movie 'Sita Sings the Blues' (Haven't watched it yet? Go here then).

Via Boing Boing
"All the Flash authoring (.fla) files I used to make Sita Sings the Blues have just been posted on, under a Creative Commons Share Alike license. Want to know how I got a certain animated effect in Sita Sings the Blues? Open up the .fla files and find out. Want to put flying eyeballs and demons in your next music video? Now you can. Want to make a 'Sita Sings the Blues' video game using all the assets? Go for it. (But I strongly suggest you negotiate my endorsement if you want to actually market the end product.)"
More information here.

Pratham Books Catalogue 2009-2010

Our 2009-2010 catalogue is ready!

We are happy to have spread the joy of reading to 7 million children. But we cannot rest until we have fulfilled
our mission of putting, “A book in every child’s hand”.

Come, help enrich young minds: view our menu card, and order now.

Bon appetit!
Pratham Books Catalogue 2009

Rewind. Recap.

The week that was...

Watch a video on Animal Angels conducting an Animal Assisted Reading (AAR) session with kids in India. An increasing number of libraries and librarians in the UK are using Twitter to communicate with readers and spread relevant information. Kocharethi is India's first novel by an Adivasi writer and is going to be translated by Oxford University Press next year. Find out why free e-books should be a part of the plot for writers.You simply have to check out Jay Walker's library of human imagination because it is magnificent! And Mumbai gets its first e-library.

Nominate organizations or individuals making outstanding contributions in the field of child rights for the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child. Find out how you can fund or volunteer for the nationwide annual survey ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) which checks the current status of primary education in India.

Delhi's Akshara Theatre has been holding dramatised book readings and have plans of conducting such a sessions every month. Rangashankara's AHA! International Theatre for Children Festival is on from 26th August to 6th September.

We leave you with these yummy looking cakes inspired by children's books.. Have a great week ahead!

Image Source: jodigreen

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cakes Inspired by Children's Books

Today has been a great day at Pratham Books. Full of great news about our books reaching more kids, awards and we even got to eat some kaju burfi. So, it is an apt moment to share a link about cakes inspired by children's books :).

Cake Wrecks had a post that celebrated some authors and illustrators who made reading fun when we were young. Click here to see more cakes... and then go get yourself a cake and a book to read!

Image Source

Mumbai's First E-library

And Mumbai city now has the honor to have one of a kind digital or e-library. The Rs 7 crore worth e-library is based in a large building located in the western suburb of Andheri East. Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan formally inaugurated the digital library here on Tuesday.

This state-of-the-art digital library offers free access to general public, where they can access networks like DELNET, electronic or e-books, CDs, DVDs, Internet facility and large book collections. It offers books for children, senior citizens and resources for students and professionals.

Also, it has the unique access to Manupatra, a legal website with digital contents based on Indian laws and regulations.
Read the entire article here.

Jay Walker's Library of Human Imagination

Jay Walker's brilliant library of human imagination has been featured on our blog earlier. Take a look for yourself to see why it is so brilliant! Found a TED video today which made me go back and visit the post from last year.
Jay Walker, curator of the Library of Human Imagination, conducts a surprising show-and-tell session highlighting a few of the intriguing artifacts that backdropped the 2008 TED stage.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Free Ebooks Should Be Part of the Plot for Writers


Releasing a book as a free download isn't newsworthy in and of itself. It was, once upon a time, especially when that book had the backing of a major publisher.

Which is not to say that free downloads have no role when it comes to promotion, publicity and marketing. Their main effect is to magnify any good feeling your book has generated, by making it simple for people who love the book to get it under the nose of their social circle.

I've had readers email their friends the whole book with a choice titbit at the top, "Doesn't this remind you of ...?" or "I knew you'd go crazy for ..." Ebooks are small: they're text-blobs. One reader pasted a copy of one of my novels into a mailing list with 60,000 like-minded (I hope) souls on it.

Booksellers – I'm a former one myself – know that personal recommendations from friends are the best way to sell books – better than reviews, better than covers, better than store-placement. A publisher's publicity and marketing for a book is an excellent way to get it into some readers' hands, and the word of mouth enabled by freely copyable ebooks then acts as a force-multiplier to expand the publisher's efforts. Whether your "natural" audience is small or large, free downloads generally expand it, by letting readers make informed guesses about who else will like it, and giving those readers a persuasive tool for closing the sale.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source: shimgray

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Funding Survey on Primary Education in India

Via FundACause
Pratham facilitates the one-of-its kind nationwide annual survey ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) which checks the current status of primary education in India and helps us take action accordingly. This survey is a people's initiative and done solely through the help of volunteers. In 2008, over 32,000 volunteers participated in the survey and we covered more than 700,000 children in 564 (out of 600) districts of India. This year, the survey starts in Oct-Nov and the findings of the survey will be reported in the ASER 2009 in Jan next year.
You can help us by either volunteering for on a weekend or donate any amount to faciliate the work. If you are unable to contribute in either ways, you can still help us by forwarding this request to your friends, colleagues or people you know who might be interested in this work.
Volunteering requires only a weekend in Oct-Nov - Please contact or call 011-26716084
More details here. You can also visit the ASER website here.

Image Source

Kocharethi - India’s First Novel by an Adivasi Writer

Via The Hindu
The man I refer to is Narayan, no robust Victorian vehemently proclaiming optimism but the Adivasi writer who wrote Kocharethi (1998), the novel in Malayalam that needs to be acknowledged as the first novel to be written by a tribal about his people in India. It is an acknowledgement long overdue, which will be fulfilled when Oxford University Press brings out a translation next year.

Narayan who was born in 1937 (not certain ) in Kudayathur belongs to the tribe called Mala Arayar. He studied till the std. X in the local government school, then got a job in the postal service.

I asked him what had triggered his interest in books. “Circumstances. When I joined school the system of providing free rice gruel at noon hadn’t started. Education was not free. Right until Independence, the school fee was a chakram per annum. I went without food at noon. One day someone said that if I remained in the class room when others left for lunch and something went missing, I would be blamed. This frightened me so I began to visit the reading room opposite our school. There were three or four newspapers, a few books and a periodical. Soon the owner began to leave me in charge of the place when he went for lunch. I used the time to read whatever I could get hold of.”

For Narayan, writing Kocharethi was an act of resistance against misrepresentation of his community by the literary and literate world.

Though the manuscript was completed in 1988, Kocharethi was published only in1998, after Narayan opted for voluntary retirement.

By the time Narayan finished the novel, the indignation and burning desire to tell the true story had evaporated. Seized by doubts about its literary worth he gave the manuscript to a teacher-friend to read. The friend forgot all about it and put the script away. There it lay for five years till Narayan asked him about it and that too only because another friend urged him to do so. Five years had gone by and the hand-written script had yellowed and crumbled. Narayan rewrote it. Another four years of ajnathavasam, till Narayan sent it to DC Books, Kottayam. The rest is history Kocharethi won The Kerala Sahitya Academi award and several other awards.

The novel is about the Araya community, as it existed in the early years of the 20th century when a cartographically identifiable, political Kerala did not exist. Trade, a strong missionary presence, demographic and geographic compulsions made it impossible for the Arayas to isolate themselves from other communities. Interaction with these communities and proselytism led to the erosion of the distinct tribal identity and culture. The novel is set in a period when erosion had already begun. Even then certain features distinct to tribal communities remain: self- sufficiency, honesty, willingness to work hard, pride and an indomitable spirit.
Read the entire article here.

Libraries on Twitter

Last week, you read about authors joining the Twitter club. Today, we are sharing an article on increasing number of libraries and librarians in the UK using Twitter to communicate with readers and spread relevant information.


Libraries throughout the UK are testing the waters of Twitter as a way to both engage with their readers and dispel their image as fusty, silent enclaves staffed by old-fashioned introverts.

At the British Library (@britishlibrary), they're talking about riding on John Berger's motorbike; "about as good as it gets I think". Aberdeenshire's libraries (@onceuponashire) are recommending books – "Katherine by Anya Seton is a great romp through the 14th century, well worth a read" – while the John Rylands University of Manchester library (@jrul) informs us that it has just made a 14th century cookbook available online, complete with recipes for porpoise, pike and blancmange.

"Librarians as a group are very spread out around the country, and they are really seizing on Twitter as a great way to network and spread information among themselves. They are also trying it out to give information about author events and closing times to their users," said Benedicte Page, libraries expert at the Bookseller.

Page said that individual librarians, as well as libraries, were also using the service. "Some authorities are getting on board in a more formal way, but there also seem to be a lot of librarians who are trying Twitter out spontaneously and having fun with the system," she said. Phil Bradley (@Philbradley), a freelance librarian running the Twitter course for CILIP, agreed, estimating that there are 400-plus librarians now regularly using Twitter in the UK. "It's an extremely vibrant community," he said. "It allows librarians to promote what they're doing .. They can contact other librarians, ask questions and answer questions."
Read the entire article here. Know any libraries/librarians we should follow? Leave a comment and let us know.

Image Source: stevecadman

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

AHA! International Theatre for Children Festival

Next week, Rangashankara is hosting 'AHA! International Theatre for Children Festival' Click on the image below to view the schedule of events. You can also read about some of the events and plays here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Seeking Nominations for the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child


While the voting for the 2009 World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child (WCPRC) is going on, the nominations for the 2010 Prize have also been sought for organizations or individuals making outstanding contributions in the field of child rights in any part of the world. Interestingly, the prize is offered by children themselves, who will get an opportunity to interact with the activists working for their rights in different parts of the world. Those who have been working for the promotion of child rights for a longer period of time or amidst difficult circumstances will have better chances of being selected as finalists. Nominations from organizations and individuals are invited. Here, individuals can also be children but no self-nominations are accepted.
The last date for submitting 2010 nominations is 1 March 2010.

More details here.

Image Source: Hipnos

Animal Angels - Animal Assisted Reading Program

Found a video on YouTube of Minal Kavishwar and volunteers of Animal Angels conducting an Animal Assisted Reading (AAR) session at a Crossword Bookstore. The reading session introduces a concept that is relativaly new in India - children reading to dogs. Find out how this concept works in the video below.

Note: If you are receiving this blog post in an email or through an RSS feed and cannot see the videos, please open the link in a new page.

Rewind. Recap.

The week that was...

Following a poll we took on Twitter, we uploaded one of our books titled Bani.
Bani can float in her sleep and reach the most amazing and amusing places. Would you like to float along?
You can read the entire book here.

You can also read the Mahabharata on Twitter. Seen through the eyes of Bhim, you can now read the world's largest epic 140 characters at a time. Find out why authors are tweeting these days.

The Uday Foundation plans to create and implement a storytelling program at pediatric wards of hospitals for kids who are ill as storytelling is supposed to have therapeutic effects. The Yanko Design blog had two excellent blog posts on devices and ways that allow blind people to read and experience the world around them. We had another post on how giving away e-books for free increases sales. Take a look at Penguin's 'Unputdownable' ad campaign.

The TED Fellows program is accepting fellowship applications for TED2010.

What does the internet mean to you? Take a look at Kevin Kelly's Internet Mapping Project and see what it means to other people. You can make your own submission to this project too.

Image Source: lecercle

Friday, August 14, 2009

Apply to be a TED Fellow for TED2010

Via TEDBlog

The search is on for the 25 TED Fellows who will attend TED2010 in Long Beach, California, February 9-13. We’re looking for world-changing innovators from around the globe and from all disciplines.

The Fellows program brings new and dynamic individuals into the TED community and with its help, amplifies the impact of their remarkable projects. Fellows are drawn from technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, engineering, humanities, the arts, economics, business, journalism, entrepreneurship and NGOs. We value achievement over credentials -- making and doing over diplomas and certificates.

The TED Fellows program is accepting fellowship applications through Sept. 25, 2009. TED Fellows may apply themselves or be nominated by another person. Follow this link to apply. To nominate a candidate, email
More details here.

Image Source: duncan

Penguin's “Unputdownable” Ad Campaign

Via The Inspiration Room
Penguin Books in Malaysia recently commissioned a print advertising campaign emphasizing the “unputdownable” nature of classic literature. The hands of readers are transformed into classic novels, “The Railway Children” by Edith Nesbit, John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, and “Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
See more pictures here.

Why Authors are Tweeting

Via USA Today

Hundreds of authors, possibly thousands, are using the social networking service to talk about their books with fans, a unique challenge especially for a wordy novelist who has only 140 characters to get his message out.

Whether tweeting will help sell books is still unknown, but it's certainly the newest form of literary self-promotion.

"It's definitely made me more social," says John Searles, author of Strange But True and book editor at Cosmopolitan. "I've gone to readings to see authors after meeting them on Twitter. And while there, I've found myself sitting next to still more writers who I met on Twitter, too."

Blogger Bethanne Patrick, who runs the "Twitter Book Club" as part of (her Twitter address is TheBookMaven), says she sees Twitter's role not as "the future" but as part of the future of connecting readers with authors.

"I don't think Twitter is a sales mechanism," she says. "Twitter allows all users, including authors, to curate their own feeds of information, and that can help authors to find new readers and audiences."

"I don't like touring or appearing in public, so Twitter is a way for me to field questions from my readers. Other than that, it's a way for me to keep in touch with updates from journalists/writers I'd like to know more about." - Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger.

Read the entire article here. Some of the authors we follow are AravindAdiga - @aravindadiga, Neil Gaiman- @neilhimself, Paulo Coelho - @paulocoelho.

Image Source: Wolf Gang

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reading Non-Braille Books and Tactile Flash Cards for the Blind

The Yanko Design blog had two excellent blog posts on devices and ways that allow blind people to read and experience the world around them.

The first device is the Haptic Reader which allows visually-impaired people to read books.
So you pop out the “Haptic Reader”, place it on the front page, and allow it to scan the contents. Almost magically all the letters get converted to Braille, which dot the surface of the reader. Want more magic? Turn on the voice system, to hear the story instead.

More information here.

The second invention is the set a tactile flash cards for blind people.

The Hello Haptic set of flash cards works with Braille text and other tactile elements from environments the student might not otherwise have access to. The urge to learn is there! But as a blind person who must learn primarily through touch, the need is not fulfilled as often as it is with a person who can see.

In come the flashcards.

Learned become the students.

PSFK says 'The cards are categorized according to specific environments, such as “Zoo”, “Beach”, or “Forest”, and include braille on one side and tactile elements on the other, so as to offer visually impaired students a multi-faceted learning experience that stimulates the senses.'

More information here.

Image Source: (1, 2 and 3)

Giving Away E-books for Free to Increase Sales

If you go through our archives, you are sure to find the number of posts which talk about giving away things (books, music, etc) for free. Most of them mention the success of these experiments (though there are a few which mention the negative aspects too). This post is about the effect of giving away e-books for free.

It's beginning to look like e-publishing may be changing attitudes to pricing within the industry, as an analysis of Amazon practices shows up an interesting trend: If you want to sell e-books, then giving some away for free is the way to boost sales.

The Associated Press has an article using novelist James Patterson's experience to prove the theory. To promote sales of his young adult books in the Maximum Ride series on the Kindle, Amazon's been giving away thousands of copies of the first book in the series, The Angel Experiment, which is four years old. The aim is to boost sales of the remaining books, and it's definitely working. Scott Channon, publisher of Del Rey/Spectra even notes that by offering the first book in Naomi Novik's Temeraire fantasy series for free, sales of the remaining novels rocketed up a "stunning" 1,000%.

So, as our trend-revealing chart shows, it's not a surprise that giving Kindle e-books for free stimulates sales. The consumer isn't daft--the Amazon Kindle is expensive in the first place, so scoring some free e-books is a bonus. And then, assuming a certain percentage of readers like the new author they've discovered by accident, sales of that author's other books, which Amazon charges for, are indeed likely to zoom upwards.

Read the entire article here.

Image Source: gwydionwilliams