Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Your Turn to Review!

Have you always wanted to tell us what you think of our books, but have never been able to? Here’s your chance!

Pratham Books invites you to write reviews for our books, to be published on our website and blog! The first few respondents will be mailed a copy of the book. We even have a special category for children's reviews, so now your kids can also contribute and tell us what they think! To make it more fun, you can submit your reviews in any form you choose - text, video or both! Reviewers will also be sent a complimentary book for their efforts!

So what are you waiting for? Mail us your choice from the list mentioned below, and write to us at updates@prathambooks.org, naming the book of your choice along with your contact details and we’ll mail you your book.

Click here to view the list.

1. This offer is only available to Indian residents currently.
2. Please remember to include your choice of book, your postal address, language of the book and whether the book is being reviewed by you or your child.
3. Hurry!!!! Only one book as per the list below will be sent out for reviewing.

The books that are currently up for review are:

Age Group : 3-6 years

1. Tall…Taller…Tallest - bilingual in English and Hindi
2. Found It At Last! - bilingual in English and Kannada
3. Round and Round - Hindi
4. The Royal Toothache - English

Click here to read more about these titles.

Age Group : 7-10 years
1. Jhilmil - Hindi
2. Phani's Funny Chappals - English
3. Cheenu's Gift - English
4. Samira's Awful Lunch - English
5. Yakity Yak - English
6. Sister, Sister, where does thunder come from? - English

Click here to read more about these titles.

Age Group - 11-14 years
1. How the Rainforests Came Alive - Hindi
2. Raza Meets the King - Hindi
3. Happy Maths 4 - Time and Money - English
4. From Submarines to Skyraiders - Dragonflies and Damselflies - English
5. Raja Nang Dhadanga Hai - Hindi
6. Grandfather Goes on Strike - English
7. Asian Splendor - English
Moorgi Ka Nirala Bachcha - Marathi

Click here to read more about these titles.


Time to encourage your children to play more (and maybe even join them) - Watch the following video to know why.

You can read IKEA's playreport here.

Exhibition and Discussion on Picture Book Illustration

Via Goethe Institut

The exhibition Contemporary Picture Book Illustration in Germany offers an intriguing insight into the work of 13 well-known German illustrators viewed from their individual perspectives. Children's book illustration in Germany is known for its great diversity, one of the features that has contributed to its growing success and recognition on an international scale.

From water colour and collage to digital experiments, the selected artists cover a wide spectrum of contemporary illustrational art. Sometimes naive, sometimes sceptical, sometimes cheeky. Some artists play with imaginative words and images taken from dreams, others distort reality in a cheerful and comical way. Expressive images with strong colours stand opposite more muted and subtle illustrations.

There will be a Panel Discussion titled The Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration, in collaboration with the publishing house Tulika.
View more details here.

Date : 3rd-25th Sept, 2010
Timing: 9.00 a.m – 6.30 p.m.

Inauguration with Panel Discussion
The Fine Art of Children's Book Illustration
Date: 3rd September 2010
Timing: 6.30 p.m.

Of Borewells and Cinnamon Rolls

The weather in Bangalore and the horrible sound of the borewell being dug right outside our office is making us all feel like we should have stayed at home and been reading like this cute little girl (Yes, yes.. ok...this post is just to share this nice drawing :)).

And just as I was typing this post, Gautam brought a big box of cinnamon rolls for all of us. Yayyyyy! We LOVE our office. Hope you all are having a nice day and that no one is digging a borewell near your house.

Image Source : Lupevision

Traditional Toys for Children

Via Citizen Matters

If you are a parent who wants her child to do activities that require her to think and use her imagination, you've probably scoured the market for suitable craft kits. Yes, there's a lot of stuff available but after a point, most seem similar, with instructions that are often hard for kids to follow.

It was the search for safe activities and crafts for their kids to do, that drove sisters Anu Parthasarathy and Rupa Vijendran to launch craft kits for children that are not only easy to make but also introduce them to traditional techniques like Channapatna woodwork, terracotta art and so on.

Anu Parthasarathy and Rupa Vijendran, founders, Redbug Kreative Kits. Pic: Reshmi Chakraborthy.

Called Redbug Kreative Kits, the sisters' aim is to use natural, eco-friendly materials that would also introduce kids to traditional crafts and give them a fun and entertaining activity to do.

Sounds like a tall order? It actually is not. The kits are really simple and aimed at children in the six-plus age group, though even my four-year-old son had a good time assembling his little toy wagon made of shiny Channapatna wooden parts.

Working mostly with eco-friendly vegetable dye pieces made by Channapatna artisans, Anu and Rupa also have craft kits that use traditional hand-dyed and block printed fabric as well as terracotta material. Their plan is to introduce more traditional products as they go along.

Anu says the kits work well not only in keeping children occupied but also as a family activity. "Children don't appreciate culture or concepts like 'environment-friendly' and 'organic' until they try for themselves," she says, pointing out how her daughter now knows you can use turmeric to make the colour yellow.

Read the entire article here. You an also visit the website to see their work.

Also read:

Traditional Games

Traditional Indian Games in Bangalore

Psst: Tara Books also has a book titled 'Toys and Tales with Everyday Materials'

Monday, August 30, 2010

The 'Good Reading Guide' from Hippocampus

The Hippocampus blog has 'picked out a list of all the must-reads for our little HOOs according to the age groups'. Our books 'Listen to My Body' and 'Cauvery' also feature on this list. Click here to go through their suggested reading list for all the age groups.

Oxford English Dictionary 'will not be printed again'

Via Telegraph

Sales of the third edition of the vast tome have fallen due to the increasing popularity of online alternatives, according to its publisher.

A team of 80 lexicographers has been working on the third edition of the OED – known as OED3 – for the past 21 years.

The dictionary’s owner, Oxford University Press (OUP), said the impact of the internet means OED3 will probably appear only in electronic form.

The most recent OED has existed online for more than a decade, where it receives two million hits a month from subscribers who pay an annual fee of £240.

“The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year,” Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times. Asked if he thought the third edition would be printed, he said: “I don’t think so.”

“The printed book is about to vanish at extraordinary speed. I have two complete OEDs, but never consult them – I use the online OED five or six times daily. The same with many of my reference books – and soon with most.

A spokesman for the OUP said a print version of OED3 could not be ruled out “if there is sufficient demand at the time” but that its completion was “likely to be more than a decade” away.

The next full edition is still estimated to be more than a decade away from completion; only 28 per cent has been finished to date.

OUP said it would continue to print the more familiar Oxford Dictionary of English, the single-volume version sold in bookshops and which contains more contemporary entries such as vuvuzela, the plastic trumpet encountered in the 2010 football World Cup.

Mr Portwood said printed dictionaries had a shelf life of about another 30 years, with the pace of change increased by the popularity of e-books and devices such as the Apple iPad and Amazon’s Kindle.
Read the entire article here.

Streelekha : Bangalore's Feminist Bookstore

Via Time Out Bengaluru (via Chintan)

The women’s movement has moved on to new challenges over the past couple of decades, as evidenced by the works on the shelves of Streelekha, a “book place” in Thyagaraja Layout that stocks writings on feminism, women-related subjects and alternative thinking. “The issues have multiplied – from the impact of wars and fundamentalism to changing gender roles in the increasingly gloablised world,” explained Kalpana Chakravarthy, who handles the operations of the space in one room of an elegant brick building that also houses its parent organisation The Centre for Development Studies and women’s Non-Governmental Organisation Vimochana.

Back in 1986, Streelekha was started to make available and accessible women’s knowledge and stories, partly as a response to the mainstream and “male-stream” publishing industry that only encouraged books on beauty, fashion and cooking for women. “Even some of the works that were printed back then by the big publishers were just doctoral theses written by women, which were quite shabby in content,” said Donna Fernandes, one of the founding members of Vimochana and Streelekha. “Today, the environment is different. Women’s studies are a part of the university curriculum, there’s a market for the books and what’s being printed is more serious and better thought-out.”
Read the entire article here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drop Shot Photo Contest

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Via Schools Water Portal

We are organizing "Drop Shot" a photography contest for students in VIII std to XII std and in an undergraduate program (2 categories).

The themes for the contest are:

* Thirst
* What a waste!
* Water - our common wealth
* Drop the drip
* Fresh water, refreshing water
The deadline to receive the entries is 12th Sept 2010. For more information on the contest details, registration form and judgment criteria Click here

10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books

Via The Atlantic

1. The phrase "reading revolution" was probably coined by German historian Rolf Engelsing. He certainly made it popular. Engelsing was trying to describe something he saw in the 18th century: a shift from "intensive" reading and re-reading of very few texts to "extensive" reading of many, often only once. Think of reading the Bible vs reading the newspaper. Engelsing called this shift a "Lesenrevolution," lesen being the German equivalent of reading. He thought he had found when modern reading emerged, as we'd recognize it today, and that it was this shift that effectively made us modern readers.

In Elizabeth Eisenstein's account in The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, print changed readers' expectations of texts, especially their universality and fidelity, since everyone everywhere was (in theory) reading an exact copy of an identical text. This assumption proved particularly instrumental in the subsequent Scientific Revolution. Benedict Anderson thought print helped readers of a common language in a highly fragmented Europe think of themselves as an "imagined community," crucial to forming the modern nation-state. Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong thought print helped further reorient language from sound to vision, paving the way for our screen-fixated present. This is a reorientation that, as Ong argued extensively, begins with writing itself.

3. There are many crucial developments in the very early history of writing, but for the sake of time/space (writing being the primary technology that allows us to think of these interchangeably), let's cut to the emergence of the alphabet.

This fusion of orality and literacy helps explain the potency of classical Hellenic culture. Songs and dances became literature; disputations became rhetoric and philosophy. The Greeks were able to incorporate the knowledge of the civilized world in their own language, and in turn transmit their own amalgamated culture wherever they went. As Ong notes, unlike writing or agriculture, the alphabet was only invented once - every single alphabet and abjad can trace itself back to the same Semitic roots. It was (and remains) a revolution that happened over and over and over again.

4. Now, the other major pre-Gutenberg "revolution" in the history of the book (and by now you may be getting the hint that not one of these revolutions were total coups that changed everything everywhere in an instant, leaving nothing of the old order behind) was in the shape, size, and design of the book itself. The shift from the rolled scroll to the folded codex as the dominant form of the book radically affected readers' conceptions not only of books, but of what kinds of reading were possible.

Read the entire article here.


1. Poetry Across Borders - with New York

Via Jaaga's Facebook Page

The next Poetry Across Borders event is slated to take place on the 28th of August 2010 at 8:30pm (IST).

This time around we're linking up with poets from New York through BronxArtSpace.(http://www.bronxartspace.com/)

Our featured poets for this session are: Khushrav J. Writer, Sailen Routray and Mari Mascarehnas.

Cookies or cake (depending on the chef's mood) will be served.

Date : 28 Aug, 2010
Timing: 8:30 pm-10:00 pm
Venue : Jaaga, Bangalore

2. Khul Ja Sim Sim @ Hippocampus, Koramangala

Via Hippocampus

Does your child find the ‘second language’ a bore? a chore? No More!
Welcome to the fun way of learning Hindi with Games, Rhymes and Songs, Story Reading and Activities every week!

An adaptation of HRF‘s proven program – GROW BY Reading, that is working in more than 250 centres, this Hindi Club will focus on functional Hindi. This club will take a natural immersion approach, modeled on the way we all learn our first language. Your child will hear spoken Hindi, listen to it, understand it and, try to speak the same to communicate…

Activity Sheets & Do-It-Yourself Craft instructions, will reinforce words learnt. Take-home Hindi books at the child’s individual level of reading will encourage him/her to explore and enjoy the language.

Fee for 8 sessions:

Members: Rs. 1,600

Non-members: Rs. 1,750

Venue: Hippocampus Experience Center, Koramangala

Dates: Every Friday evening, starting 3rd September ’10 [excluding Puja holidays]

Timings: 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Sign up now! Limited registrations on a first-come-first served basis

3. Ismat & Manto; Life, Times and Legacy

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Image Source

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

inspirED Conference

Via inspirED

What is InspirED?
On August 27-29, 2010, two hundred of India’s most innovative school teachers and administrators will gather in Mumbai for a groundbreaking three-day conference, InspirED. The conference seeks to inspire change by:
• Spotlighting and documenting the country’s most innovative approaches to improving education;
• Establishing a network of extraordinary Indian education professionals;
• Bringing together stakeholders/leaders to collaborate;
• Take action for the future of Indian education.

Who should apply to attend InspirED?
We welcome teachers and educators from all backgrounds and levels of experience who dare to be different, who challenge their own learning, who search for the most creative or just the most effective ways to have their students become life long learners. We want educators who have fresh ideas and new perspectives, question the education system, and take risks to transform their ideas into powerful action. Most importantly, we want educators who are eager to connect with others and dialogue on meaningful ways to engage students, approach problems, and enhance the learning process.

This year's conference will feature:

  • Over 300 conference participants including teachers from public and private schools, school administrators, scholars, and professionals in the corporate and non-profit fields.
  • 20 diverse and renowned speakers and panelists
  • Small group breakout sessions and workshops with leaders in the public, private and nonprofit fields, and experts in education.
  • An education bazaar featuring innovative teaching methods at different schools
Opening Night
On Friday, August 27, the conference will kick off with an event showcasing innovation in education. We are bringing together India’s most innovative leaders in education to present cutting-edge developments in education. These are leaders, who, through their work have brought about innovation in education – whether from the corporate, media, government or social sectors. These leaders will share their experiences and plans to bring about change through a unique and engaging panel discussion.

Day One: Teaching as Leadership
For excellent teachers to bridge the prevalent educational inequity between students from low-income communities and their peers in wealthier communities, teachers need to lead their students to significant academic gains. Research has found that teachers who are able to successfully bridge this achievement gap employ the same skills as excellent leaders in any context. We believe that great teachers are the instructional leaders in the classroom.

While leading their students to academic gains, excellent teachers exhibit six overarching principles of leadership. First, they set ambitious and measurable goals for their students, which give them a vision for excellence that they work toward during the year. Teachers then invest students and their stakeholders in working hard to achieve the goals. From their big goals, teachers will derive structured and purposeful plans that will give them a road map to success. Excellent teachers then effectively execute these goals in their classroom, allowing students to show mastery over subject material. Finally, successful teachers, like successful leaders, are also committed toward continuously improving their effectiveness and work relentlessly toward achieving the goals they have set for their students. By displaying these leadership characteristics consistently in the classroom, teachers have shown that teaching is leadership.

Day Two: Innovation in Action

Teachers are perhaps some of the world’s greatest natural innovators. Those who are truly focused on maximizing each student’s learning and development are constantly exploring new techniques to achieve this ultimate goal.

These are perhaps some of the least recognized innovations today, but happen the most naturally and consistently in the best classrooms around the world. Some innovations are tried and true, data-tested and proven, while others are new and emerging, based on the need for relevance with today’s rapidly changing world. All the sessions and workshops on day two have been already tested and proven on small- or large- scales to have a meaningful impact on classrooms ranging in environmental and contextual differences. Our best teachers are constant innovators. On the second exciting day of the conference, watch some of them in action.

You can apply for the conference or read more information here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bird Book Marker

These bookmarks (or book markers) by Our Shop are rather cute (Spotted on Design*Sponge).

IGNITE 2010 Contest

Via National Innovation Foundation

National Innovation Foundation invites submissions of the creative technological ideas/innovations from the students up to class 12 th for the fourth national competition for children's ideas and innovations- the IGNITE 10.

What is the IGNITE contest?

IGNITE is a national competition to harness the creative and innovative spirit of school children. Students are invited to send their original creative technological ideas and innovations for the same.

What is invited for the IGNITE contest?

Original creative technological ideas and innovations of the students OR/AND

Any technological idea/innovation that solves any daily problem be it household, of porters, labourers, or the like

In addition, during their vacations or otherwise, the students are encouraged to look for other people who come out with innovative machines/devices or solve day to day problems using their creativity. Similarly they are also encouraged to document and learn traditional knowledge practices from their elders in their family and neighbourhood. The purpose is to expose them to the rich traditional heritage we have, facilitating its transfer from generation to generation.

The students submitting the maximum number of properly documented entries (Innovations/Traditional Knowledge) to the schools (which would forward them to NIF) or directly to NIF would be given appreciation certificates from NIF. For each innovation/traditional knowledge practice spotted and documented by the student, he/she will be credited as being the ‘Scout' for that particular innovation/traditional knowledge in records.
What is the last date for submission of entries for the competition?

The entries will be received till September 15, 2010
Click here for more information. You can also read about the innovations created by other kids here.

Book Review : Too Many Bananas

Via Saffron Tree

"Too many bananas" is a heart warming and a simple story, which appealed to all of us at home. We were at our library the last weekend for a story telling session followed by Origami based on the book - Grandpa Cherry blossom and other folk tales from Japan. Pratham books had organised the event and there were quite a number of their titles for display and sale that day. In my eagerness, I started picking the books that I was familiar with, as gifts. Meanwhile Sooraj had picked this book and finished reading it. He said that he liked the book so much that he wanted me to buy it. "But if you have read it already, why do you want to buy it? " asked me with a big load of books in my hand. He insisted and I gave in, without looking so much at the book ! It was a good thing because it turned out that it charmed each of us in it's own way.

The story line is simple and beautiful; the sentences short and easily understandable for little kids. What I loved was the usage of words and pictures culturally relevant to the state in which the story is set(Karnataka). Sringeri is the name of a famous temple town of Karnataka, which is home to the Sharada temple. Shivanna is a common name here in Karnataka. Dodda- ooru in Kannada literally means means "big town" ! There is complete harmony in the pictures and words. The illustrations are very striking and expressive and it is clear that a lot of effort has gone into them. The funny facial expressions evoked lot of giggles ! Both my son and husband were completely bowled over by the the colourful pictures in the book.
Read the entire review here. And make sure you scroll down to see Sathish's comment about how Sringeri has become Sooraj's muse...:).

Magazines and Periodicals for Young Readers

Via Scholars without Borders

Frederick Noronha votary of the CopyLeft movement has put together a list of books/magazines/periodicals that are of interest for younger readers and for those who teach them. The list below comes with no particular endorsements and is only meant to facilitate subscriptions and give some basic information.

Since the list is quite obviously incomplete (and may have some errors), please feel free to add the names of any magazines or perioidicals of this type that are produced in India so that a comprehensive list can be constructed… Thanks!

Here goes:


India’s exclusive magazine for high schoolers.

A children’s magazine that has adapted itself to the changing needs of children over across decades, English Chandamama offers you a delectable mix of the classic and the contemporary in 72 pages. New sections include Sports, Technology, Contemporary, and Activities. Revamped. Redesigned. Relevant. [Age group- 9+].

Children’s World
A monthly since March 1972, publishes stories features, comics, puzzles, poems, quizzes, activities, book reviews, and articles of topical interest.

For Children. Size: Large Size (As in News Magazines) No of pages : 48 plus cover Age Group: 9 to 15.
Find the entire list and more information here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Conference Report: JUMPSTART Join the Dots

Pratham Books was happy to be a part of JUMPSTART Join the Dots 2010 held on 20th and 21st August, 2010 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.

JUMPSTART was a two-day event open to authors, illustrators, publishers, marketing professionals, booksellers, librarians, teachers, principals - pretty much anyone and EVERYONE working with, and interested in Children’s Books!

There were sessions covering:

• Illustrating children’s books
• Marketing children's books
• Translating children’s books
• Writing for different age groups
• Rights selling and buying
• New Technologies
• Storytelling skills
• Comics and Graphic novels
• Libraries
• Nurturing readers
• Fiction, fantasy, comics, picture books

We were part of two panels, one on multilingual publishing along with Tulika Books - Manisha from Pratham Books spoke of our challenges and Radhika from Tulika used this wonderful presentation to speak of the tightrope that is multilingual publishing:

The other session we spoke at was the session on Technology and Publishing and we spoke of our social publishing strategy and how our model depends on community, technology and open licenses to build greater access to children's books and to create more content for children to read too.

It was also wonderful to see a UNESCO Donate-A-Book box there too.

We had a wonderful time at JumpStart and hope it is an annual event.

CC Interviews with SoundCloud

SoundCloud is profiling users who are using Creative Commons licenses and Pratham Books was the first to be interviewed for this series.

Via SoundCloud

In 2008, they started releasing books under Creative Commons licenses, and earlier this year collaborated to release audiobook versions of some of their titles, also using Creative Commons. We caught up with Gautam John from Pratham Books to talk about how SoundCloud has helped them distribute their audiobooks online.

Hello Gautam! Can you describe the goals of Pratham Books, and the kind of audio you’re producing? What is the background behind that?

We didn’t set out to produce audio books – we set out with a mission to put a book in every child’s hand. That said, we have always wanted to be as inclusive as is possible but as a small non-profit, we do function under severe constraints of time, money and bandwidth.

What are some of the difficulties in producing a project that spans so many languages?

For us, we face challenges of translation and all the other associated problems of proof reading. However, the production of the audio books was done with Radio Mirchi – we have them to thank for this.

Is there any book on SoundCloud that you’re most proud of, or has an interesting story behind it’s creation?

Yes! In particular, Moon and the Cap. Barkha Deva, who follows us on Twitter and is an avid supporter of our work shared her experience on Twitter and then volunteered to and did record this one along with Radio Mirchi.

Moon and the Cap- English by prathambooks
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Toto Awards 2011 - Creative Writing in English - Call for Entries

Via Toto Funds the Arts

Toto Funds the Arts (TFA), in association with Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, invites entries for its sixth annual Toto awards, from persons between the ages of 18 and 29, for writing in English in three genres: short plays, short stories and poetry. Two winners, to be decided by an eminent panel, will get a cash award of Rs 25,000 each. Entries should reach TFA by 15 October 2010. There will be no extension of the deadline.

The awards are meant only for Indian nationals resident in India. You are eligible to apply if you were born on or after 1 January 1981. No exceptions will be made. Also, since the spirit of the award is to identify promising writers, please do not apply if you are already a well-known writer.

Each entry should be not more than 7,500 words. If you are submitting poems, please send 6 to 10 poems. If you are submitting short stories, their combined word length should be at least 2,500. You can, if you wish, send only a single story of 2,500 to 7,500 words. You can send entries in all three categories — poems, short stories and plays — but you must send in separate entries for each category. For example, your poems can constitute one entry, your short stories the second entry, plays a third entry. The word limit will remain 7,500 per entry.
Find more details here.

Image Source

Ruskin Bond's Book Reading

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Libraries Going for Digitization of Knowledge, E-resources

Via The Times of India
Leading educational institutes and libraries are making books immortal - virtually. Rare books and publications are now in the focus of many local and national-level projects of digitization.

On academic front, projects like INFLIBNET, acronym for Information and Library Network Centre, hold great promise, believe experts.

"Apart from providing over 70,000 books and 2,000 journals online, we have started a project called National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for scholarly content (N-LIST) from this year. It will not only encompass a wide range of subjects in published material, but will also have content like doctoral thesis and dissertation of our member colleges," said Arora. This year, the project has got national award for digital learning through ICT in higher education.

Other organizations are not behind. Gujarat Vidyapeeth has undertaken the mammoth task of digitizing 35 lakh pages in a period of three years. "So far we have already digitized 12 lakh pages containing rare books, Gandhiji's literature and academic material," said Bharati Desai, in-charge librarian of the Vidyapeeth.
Read the entire article here.

Berlin's Book Forest

What a lovely idea!

Via baufachfrau-berlin

The Book Forest contributes to sustainable vocational education and deals with the value chain forest-wood-book. It was developed and realised by BAUFACHFRAU Berlin e.V. as an interdisciplinary, project orientated cooperation of apprentices of forestry, carpentry, cabinetmaking, media design, printing and bookselling.

The project adopts the idea of putting up a bookcase in a public space, in which people could release their used books to be picked up by others.

Image Source

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The 2010 Shakti Bhatt first-book prize

Via sans serif

In its third year, the Shakti Bhatt first-book prize is a cash award of Rs one lakh.

Entries in the following genres may be submitted: poetry, fiction (including graphic novels), creative non-fiction (travel writing, autobiography, biography and narrative journalism) and drama.

A thee-member advisory board will shortlist six books published between 1 June 2009 and 30 June 2010. This year, the board includes journalist Anil Nair, IFA programme executive Sanjay Iyer and poet Jeet Thayil.

The shortlisted books will be sent to the 2010 panel of judges; they are playwright Mahesh Dattani, writer and surgeon Kalpana Swaminathan and novelist Ruchir Joshi. The winner will be announced in the second half of November and the prize will be presented in December.

Last year’s winner was Mridula Koshy for If It Is Sweet.

Authors from the subcontinent are eligible but books must be published in India. Publications must be in English or translated into English from an Indian language. Books that have been published elsewhere and have already won prizes are eligible, though less likely to win. Vanity press publications are ineligible.

The Shakti Bhatt Foundation is a non-profit trust. It wishes to reward first-time authors of all ages. For further information, mail shaktibhattprize@gmail.com

A Tale for Tuesday

The Madness Mandali Visual Poetry Project

(Via Madness Mandali)

Germany's Literature Houses

Via Deutsche Welle

Outside of Germany, literary houses aren't particularly common.

"That's because it's a very German tradition for people to sit in a room and listen to a reading for 45 minutes," Rainer Moritz, the program director at the Literaturhaus Hamburg, told Deutsche Welle.

Elsewhere, it's more common to have book signings and discussions with authors about their latest work. These events are often designed to get people into the bookstore, publicize both the author and the shop, and ultimately sell more books. Literature houses, on the other hand, are less commercially motivated.

According to Moritz, literature houses aren't just a place for authors to make a stop on their marketing tours.

"The idea was not only to create a place for reading, but also a gathering place, where authors could meet, translators, journalists and critics," said Moritz. "That's why, for us, cafe and bookshop often go together."

Literature houses don't just open their doors for special events - they're also a place where people can meet for coffee or sit and flip through a magazine.

"We have the books of the 150 authors who come through during the year - also other books they've written, but we stock other things too, sometimes just things we find interesting," said Stefan Samtleben from the Literaturhaus Hamburg.

In 2002, 11 literature houses across Germany and Austria formed an umbrella organization, Literaturhaus.net, run by Moritz. The houses plan joint projects and organize a literary prize each year; the winner is then invited to conduct readings at all 11 locations.

Read the entire article here.

In Their Own Words: British Novelists | Interviews with remarkable modern writers

Via BBC Archive

Great writers have always fascinated their readers. We want to know how they create the characters we love or hate, the evocative settings, and the plots that have us reading late into the night, desperate to know what happens next.

Throughout its history, the BBC has aimed to help audiences delve into the imagination of writers. This collection of interviews with some of the 20th Century's most read authors reveals something of those imaginations and the personalities which lie behind some of the greatest modern novels.

Click here to visit the archive.

Children's Films at the Indo-German Film Festival, Bangalore

Here's the schedule for the children's films that will be screened during the Indo-German film festival at The Goethe-Institut, Bangalore.

Date Feature Film Director

9:30 a.m. Foto Virendra Saini
11:30 a.m. Hen in a Boat (Flussfahrt mit Huhn) Arend Agthe

9:30 a.m. Hands off Mississippi (Hände weg von Mississippi) Detlev Buck
11:30 a.m. Sparrows (Gubbachigalu) Abhaya Simha

9:30 a.m. Foto (R) Virendra Saini
11:30 a.m. Hen in a Boat (Flussfahrt mit Huhn) (R) Arend Agthe

9:30 a.m. Hands off Mississippi (Hände weg von Mississippi) (R) Detlev Buck
11:30 a.m. Sparrows (Gubbachigalu) (R) Abhaya Simha

9:30 a.m. Foto (R) Virendra Saini
11:30 a.m. Hen in a Boat (Flussfahrt mit Huhn) (R) Arend Agthe

9:30 a.m. Hands off Mississippi (Hände weg von Mississippi) (R) Detlev Buck
11:30 a.m. Sparrows (Gubbachigalu) (R) Abhaya Simha

Monday, August 16, 2010

Staples Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition

Via The Social Innovation Blog

If you’ve ever been told, “You’re inspirational!” or you are a young leader who’s creating positive change in the world, we’d love to hear your story.

In fact, we’d love to give you a rare opportunity share your story with others.
Eight young changemakers will be chosen as winners of our annual Staples Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition and invited to present at the first TEDxYSE event in Washington, D.C.
How do you qualify? Just fill out the short >entry form. You can also nominate an inspiring young leader (age 12 to 24).
Winners will be chosen on a rolling basis, so don’t wait.

The Rise of Dalit Literature

Via The Independent
Ajay Navaria, a writer of novels and short stories, cannot help but laugh as he reflects on the nature of his "other" job teaching Hindu ethics and scripture at a leading university in Delhi. The 39-year-old is a Dalit, a so-called "untouchable", and little more than a generation ago, for him to have even been discussing Hindu texts would have been an offence that could have cost him his life. The fact that he now teaches them brings a smile to his face.

In his own way, Navaria is at the spearhead of a quiet cultural revolution sweeping India's literary establishment. Having long been confined to writing only in their own, local languages and largely ignored by the literary mainstream, Dalit authors are now being swooped on by some of the country's biggest publishers, such as Radhakrishna Prakashan which is translating their work into Hindi, the lingua franca of northern India and beyond. Novelists, poets and writers of short stories are receiving both exposure and opportunity in the market-place that they have never before received. There are Dalit magazines, Dalit literary forums (there are two competing groups in Delhi alone) and Dalit workshops.

A key figure in the emergence of low-caste writing is Ramnika Gupta. She is not a Dalit but she produces a quarterly magazine, Yuddhrat Aam Aadmi, devoted to previously marginalised writers. She estimates that she and her team of just three full-time assistants have published around 1,500 Dalit writers from across India over the last two decades. Large publishers regularly go to her for information about new talent. She helps on the condition that the publishers agree to produce a paperback edition that is affordable for ordinary people, in addition to the standard hardback run.

Dalit writers say the emergence of low-caste literature has taken place alongside a broader growth of consciousness and activism, particularly in urban India. While in rural India, caste remains all-pervading, in cities many of the signs and signals that identify a person's caste have vanished. In cities, too, Dalits are better organised to stand up for their rights.

"There is a growing consciousness that is emerging. People are now better educated and they all get to know about their rights," said Anita Bharti, a long-time writer and activist who heads a Dalit literary forum that meets every month in Delhi.

Literature, said Ms Bharti, has an important role to play in the ongoing struggle by Dalits to end discrimination. While abuse of low-caste people still happens, "they can now write about it. Also, people realise that Dalits have been mistreated in the past and that there is a need to bring Dalit literature to other people."

Read the entire article here.

Mumbai: The Indian writer's New York

Via BBC News

Bangalore may be a kinetic technology hub teeming with expatriates and bright young Indians, Calcutta a decaying dowager brimming with a million stories, and Delhi the capital where power meets noir.

But cosmopolitan, energetic and chaotic Mumbai, where the rich live cheek-by-jowl with the poor, is the city where the story-tellers from Rushdie to Vikram Chandra to Kiran Nagarkar to Joseph are turning for inspiration and fodder.

"Of late, Mumbai seems to have definitely taken over [in the number of stories being told]. It's like the city is teeming with stories just waiting to be picked up. Or maybe it's do with the number of immigrant writers who've made it their home and as new immigrants, are constantly taking stock of their new environment," says VK Karthika, chief editor of Harper Collins, which published Serious Men in India.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by A y A n

Joseph, who grew up in Chennai and came to Mumbai to work as a journalist, says one reason is the city is a great setting for novels is that it has "all sorts of people from all kinds of places".

"Every character which lives anywhere in India has a clone in Bombay. The city can absorb everything, and as long as your characters are real it does not make them look awkward," says Joseph.

Salman Rushdie, whose sensational Midnight's Children and The Moor's Last Sigh have many moments in Mumbai, once said: "When writers fall in love with cities, they often don't fall in love with cities, in general. They often fall in love with the city at a particular point in time."

So the Mumbai of 1950s in which Rushdie grew up finds a strong resonance in his novels.

The city doesn't inspire fiction alone - one of the best non- fiction books to come out of India is Suketu Mehta's Maximum City, a gripping exploration of the city's turbulent heart.

"There will soon be more people living in the city of Bombay than on the continent of Australia... Bombay is the future of human civilisation. God help us," Mehta wrote.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Celebrating the Japanese Festival Tanabata with a Storytelling and Origami Workshop

We organised a storytelling and origami workshop for children at Crossword, Bangalore on Saturday, the 7th of August, 2010. The reading and craft was from one of our popular books - Grandpa Cherry Blossom and other folktales from Japan - and the event was conducted to coincide with the celebration of the famous Tanabata festival which is celebrated in Japan every year on the 7th of August. As per the Japanese custom, children write down their wishes on a paper and tie it to a bamboo tree, with a hope that their wishes might come true!

Ms. Bhargavi Satyan conducted the storytelling and origami workshop for the children. Ms. Satyan not only vitalised their visualisation by narrating the story of Gombe, the Greedy Birdcatcher but she also taught them how to make those birds in different colours and sizes. Later the enthusiastic young hands wrote their wishes down on a piece of paper and tied them around a specially erected bamboo tree amidst much excitement!
We also conducted a similar event in Delhi at the Eureka Book Store. The event was conducted by renowned author and storyteller, Anupa Lal, and the origami workshop was conducted by paper engineer, Sachin. The author of the book, Hema Pande, also attended the event and was seen chatting away with the kids and signing books for the eager readers.

Grandpa Cherry Blossom and other folktales from Japan is a collection of eight beautiful folk tales from Japan. The stories have been retold by Hema Pande and Keiko Tsuji's expert brushes add the final authentic touch, instantly transporting the reader to Japan. This title is available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Urdu and is priced at Rs. 75.

View all the pictures here.

Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya

Since the inception of this project, the aim of Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya has been to help children from humble backgrounds to create a brighter future, groom high quality musicians and contribute to the conservation and diffusion of the India’s vast musical heritage.

Today, the school provides food, shelter, health care, clothing, as well as musical and academic education to about a hundred children, all free of cost. The organization has been more than greatly encouraged by the high level of interest, enthusiasm and talent for music and other skills demonstrated by these keen young students.

Founded in November 2002, Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya is located in a quiet valley near the city of Dharwad in Karnataka State, South India.

Our students, aged between six and eighteen years old, come from some of the many different communities that exist in Northern Karnataka, thus creating a real cultural mosaic: Lingayats, Marathas, Sunni and Shiites Muslims, Gowlies and Lambanis are but a few examples. This multi-cultural group of students, together with the staff and volunteers use a variety of languages, Kannada, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Lambani, Urdu, Irani, English and French are all spoken at KSV. These courageous and ambitious youngsters all come from rural and urban areas of Karnataka where access to holistic education is limited.

At Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya, three different methods of instruction are employed, the first of these being concerned with music. It is inspired by the Indian tradition of the Gurukul. The Gurukul is a place where one comes to live with a reputed master, in order to acquire traditional knowledge. The aspirant is thus integrated into a lineage of masters and disciples, who will become his second family .

The second method of instruction is concerned with academic studies. It is based on the Karnataka State government educational program, whilst acknowledging the diverse academic backgrounds of our students and putting a particular stress on the acquisition of communication tools (English and Computer Studies) and openness towards the world.

The last method of instruction is concerned with the personal and social development of the children. It seeks the integration of healthy habits, as well as relationships with oneself and with others that are positive and respectful.
Read more about this unique school here.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bookshelves with Character

The Family Economics blog has a few more tips on how to give your bookshelf some character with some simple ideas.

Inauguration of Swachid Academy of Enhanced Education, Chennai

Via an email sent by Chintan
Swachid Academy of Enhanced Education is incubating a plan to help individuals set up study centers for small groups of children from their neighbourhoods.

Here is the plan:
Swachid Academy of Enhanced Education offers training in child care and teaching skills for school teachers, young mothers and girls above age of 15. This training will equip individuals to establish home schooling groups in their own houses. They can run courses for students in a mixed age format as given below.

Training for teachers/facilitators:
The training for teachers will include:
Setting up study centres
Multiple Language learning
Math and Science workshops
Puppetry and Story telling workshops
Joy Way of Learning Music workshops
Child psychology & counselling

A nominal course fee will be collected to cover expenses. Those who cannot pay will be subsidized by sponsorships.
The trained teachers will run courses as below:

Student Courses:
A three month course in reading and writing ability in
3 languages - the Mother tongue, English and Hindi

A six month course in school curriculum up to standard 8

The children attending these courses will be eligible to sit for the 8th standard exams held by the Government.
Classes can be conducted after school hours and weekends.
The teacher can collect Rs 1200 per child. Those who cannot pay will be subsidized by sponsorships.

The inauguration is at 4pm on August 15, 2010
Venue: Kalaa Manjari, 6/12 Venus Colony 1st Street, Alwarpet, Chennai 600018.

Interaction on Education and Gandhian Values
Panelists: Padmashri Indira Parthasarathy
Renowned Tamil writer and playwright
Dr Kulandhaisamy
Secretary, Gandhi Peace Foundation
Sriram Naganathan
Ignite Minds

Inauguration of:
SWACHID Centre for Enhanced Education
Training individuals to establish study centres
Multiple Language learning
Math and Science workshops
Puppetry and Story telling workshops
Joy Way of Learning Music workshops

Those interested in attending may email me at rangashree@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Educational Comic Books about Space

Firstly, mark your calendars...and circle tomorrow's date (12th August, 2010). Why? Because the Perseid meteor shower takes place tomorrow (Read more here). Yipeeeee! Hope you let your kiddos stay awake to see what promises to be a beautiful spectacle. We hope that the weather gods cooperate and we have clear skies to look at.
Star gazers should prepare themselves to sacrifice sleep on Thursday night to watch the Perseid meteor shower expected when the earth passes through the debris of comet Swift Tuttle, with predictions of a shooting star every second at the peak of the celestial spectacle.
On that note, we've found a fun range of FREE comics (in English, Italian, French, German and Japanese) to whet your child's interest about space.

CAWSES-II is an international program sponsored by SCOSTEP (Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics) established with an aim of significantly enhancing our understanding of the space environment and its impacts on life and society.

As part of Capacity Building effort, a series of educational comic books have been produced under the supervision and guidance of Prof. Y. Kamide.
Click here to read/download the comics.

The Digital Revolution in Children's Publishing

cc licensed flickr photo shared by samwebster

Via Publishers Weekly
In March, Anna Quindlen wrote in Newsweek, "Well, what is a book, really? Is it its body, or its soul?" Publishers of all stripes are struggling with that definition, including children's publishers. Picture books have used artwork as a core part of their storytelling as long as the art form as existed, yet they have always evolved, too.

Although children's book publishers are pretty confident in the long-term survival of printed books for children—"Children are still going to have a bookshelf," says Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books—they are far from ignoring the elephant in the room. Katz admits: "They'll have shelves with many other things, too."

On those shelves no doubt will be plenty of electronic gadgetry, and children's publishers are working to determine what defines a book, which devices to embrace, how to handle digital rights (and who has them), and how they can make money with e-products.

Certain trends are already emerging, chief among them being interactivity. "We're entering into a new interactive art form," says Rick Richter, formerly the president of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and now a digital media consultant. Freed from rules about page count and paper weight, digital creators enjoy great flexibility. In the process, they can appeal to nonbookworms, such as computer and game geeks. "If anything, it will lead a lot of kids to books," says Richter. He's not alone in this belief. "Early reports indicate that this content is not replacing traditional books. It's replacing games," says Kristen McLean, executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children. "Parents would rather see their kids engaged in book content than in game content."

"It's never been our intention for one to replace the other," says Jeanne Mosure, senior v-p and group publisher of Disney Publishing Worldwide. "Our intent is that it's always going to push the sale of our books." Indeed, with Disney's Kingdom Keepers app, readers must have the book to "unlock" the game. Scholastic's 39 Clues series requires readers to both use the computer and read the books. "I have never believed in cannibalization," says Nicholas Callaway, chairman of Callaway Arts & Entertainment, which created the iPad app for Miss Spider's Tea Party, with enhanced narration, animation, interactivity, and sound effects. Author David Kirk has sold more than six million copies of his 1994 book, but the app has given his story a new lease on life.

With its sleek and powerful iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, Apple dominates discussions of the future of children's digital publishing.

The cost of iPad apps ranges from $1.99 (for Dr. Seuss's Gertrude McFuzz) to $9.99 (for the elaborate Miss Spider's Tea Party), but it's unclear whether parents will fork over the money for kids to use a $499 iPad that might easily fall into the toilet or sandbox. "We do think it's going to take a little bit of time to determine how relevant this platform is going to be for kids," says Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media, which has brought Clifford's Be Big with Words and I Spy Spooky Mansion, its top-ranking apps from the iPhone and iPod Touch, to the iPad.

Children can now "literally participate" in a book, says Sharon Streger, owner of Sequel Creative/Sequel Digital, which develops interactive, sing-and-record kids' apps. "Why do a pan-and-scan version when you can actually put the child into the book for a complete experience?" she asks.

Digital books for teens are a small but growing market as well. Already, they are using their parents' Nooks and Kindles. And especially in Japan, they appear willing to read e-books on smartphones. Their motto, says Richter, is: "I want to consume media when I want to consume media."

"The possibilities for extraordinary picture book development enabled by the new and imminent color devices are vast, and our editors and creative folks are absolutely galvanized," says Gibson at Random House. "It is the most exciting development I have ever experienced in my eons-long career. So saying, we are holding all digital development to the extraordinarily high standards that we bring to print. The digital picture books we bring to market must be innovative, must be technologically flawless, must exceed the expectations of the consumer, and must—above all else—delight kids."
Read the entire article here.

1000 Times No

We posted the video trailer of this cute little book last year. But, while browsing this book review on Saffron Tree, we found the full trailer of Tom Warburton's book "1000 Times No".

SHORT FILM 1000 TIMES NO from david rasura on Vimeo.

And if that video wasn't enough to bring a big smile to your face on this gloomy Wednesday morning (well, it is gloomy in Bangalore), hop over to this blog to follow the artistic adventures of two cute little teeth.

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