Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Discounts on Used Books at FriendsofBooks

Would you believe it if we told you that you can get discounts of over 65% on most books? Sounds crazy?

You don’t HAVE to believe us… just go to the Used Books section on the FriendsOfBooks Bookstore and find out for yourself.

You can now get bestsellers, classics, fiction and non-fiction books at “Are you Kidding!?” prices in our used books section.

These books are usually library and bookstore overstock. These is NOT your rediwala/raddiwala/kabadi bazaar stuff and are not pirated books.

Sorry there will be no free silverfish, musty smell, mysterious stains or missing pages. Nor will you have the pleasure of pounding the pavement ,drenched in sweat and haggling with the wanton bhaiya.

Instead we will give you the promised “Are you Kidding” prices, free home delivery and the joy of browsing the collection from the comfort of your favorite chair/bed/sofa/orsomesuch.

So, leave the bargaining for bhajiwalas. To buy books at “Are you kidding” prices, visit the Used books section on

The Digital Comic Museum

Our mission with this site is providing as close to a free resource as possible where users can easily download public domain golden age comics without the need to ask or worry about searching the net for them.

If you wish to help out with DCM then please contact us or use the Donate link on the site. We are looking for uploaders, researchers, donators and moderators
Visit the website.

A Little Attribution Goes a Long Way!

The Bangalore Book Festival is taking place from 12th November, 2010 to 21st November, 2010. We received the official brochure for the book festival yesterday and when we looked at the pictures that adorned the cover, they looked rather familiar. Well, that's because they were from one of our previous Annual Reports. We have uploaded all of our Creative Commons licensed images (and some copyrighted ones) onto our Flickr stream and often receive requests from people if they can use our content. Many leave links to the pages where our content has been used and we are always happy to see the derivatives that emerge from our work. The images used for the Bangalore Book Fair brochure are under CC-licenses... but we were just surprised to see that there was no attribution mentioned anywhere in the brochure (which is one of the things that the license asks for).

Nice to know that one of the pictures also seems to be part of their official logo!

Here are the original pictures:

You can find the above pictures on our Flickr stream : 1, 2 and 3

Here are the pictures on the Bangalore Book Fair brochure:

(The following images are from the brochure uploaded on )

Book Cave

Via Sakurah

In urban life, there seems to be a common understanding that people tend to consciously or subconsciously become wary of strangers surrounding them. They are always balancing a certain level of privacy with others. A bookcase CAVE provides a private reading space within its form. As a seat height is just above the floor, CAVE gives a feeling of hiding from others standing around it. Books can be stored on both sides. Therefore, CAVE can also functions as a partition of a room.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Update from the intern: all set to go to the field

Durga and CWG have slowed down things a bit, but I'm now ready to visit schools and learning centres. The two-day Pratham meeting was mainly in Hindi, but I got the chance to talk people from several states I'd like to visit, so it was worth it. I also got a better idea of how the organization works, and some of the challenges different states face.

I've been in touch with Room to Read to visit some of their libraries, and I'm planning trips to Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, MP and UP, apart from schools in Delhi itself, so now onwards 'mujhe lagtaa hai ki mere haath me bahut kaam hogaa' (I'm learning Hindi, you see!)

Events for Children

1. Bal Jamoore -- Street Theatre Fest for Kids

Via an email sent by Chintan Girish Modi

This process will enable your child get understanding of social issues and take it to the audience through theatre.

This festival would be an ideal platform for creative expression of children. The idea is to encourage children to act, direct, screenplay and script a play on their own and then take this across to various audiences across Bangalore.

The children involvement will not only sensitize them about issues affecting children and their rights but to also use this platform to help create awareness in an interactive manner

This Festival will showcase of works by Children – Script, Play writing & Direction

This festival will be in two parts -

First children (11 to 18 years) go though a two day workshop over a weekend and another day for common rehearsal.
They take part in festival by performing in a series of street plays around Bangalore..

Training Program

The training is for children (11 to 18 years) - which will be conducted at geniekids will be on
1. Understanding about CRY, Child Rights and Right to Education
2. Skills of Street theater

  • Dates: 30th and 31th Oct 2010 (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Venue: Geniekids Learning Center at Indirangar
  • Timing: 10.00 am to 3.00 pm {both days}
The Theater Festival is expected to kick start on the 20th
Nov. 2010 post which kids would start performing. Dates & Venue of their performances will be posted once we are through with the training and get required permission from Traffic commissioner.

Registration is Free - Click here to register your child who has to be between 11 to 18 years. Please do not fill the form if you are not sure of participation - we assume once the form is filled - that child's participation is 100% confirmed.
Ideally we are looking at a batch of 10-12 students.

For any other inquiry /clarification please connect with
Sonia of CRY (Child Rights and You) at (080) 25486075, (91) 9886055438
Aditi of GenieKids 25202510 OR 98867-24518 OR 98450-45833

2. Kalari Workshop for Kids

The Kalari workshop will teach basics of Kalaripayattu, an Indian martial art. The students will do stretch, and strengthening exercises and learn the basics of the positions and kicks. Kalari is also the movement form that serves as a basis for Indian contemporary dance. Ramya Nair and Sowmya Jaganmurthy, dancers of the Raadha Kalpa dance
company, will teach this workshop.

Date: October 30 and October 31
Days: Saturday and Sunday
Time: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
For cost of workshop and more details, click here.

3. Junglenama - A Hindi Play for Children

(Via an email sent by Chintan Girish Modi)

Please click on the image for a larger view.

Words of the World

Via Words of the World

From Nazi to Chocolate, words play a vital role in our lives.

And each word has its own story.

But where do they come from? What do they mean? How do they change?

Some of these questions will be answered by "Words of the World" - a series of short videos presented by experts from the University of Nottingham's School of Modern Languages and Cultures.

In addition to exploring the words themselves, we'll explore a little about the varied research our experts are working on.
Visit the site to discover the story behind the words you love.

'Harry Potter' Sparks Reading Club's Growth

Via TheLedger

If you visit Stambaugh Middle School on Monday afternoons, you might believe you somehow stepped into Hogwarts - the fictional boarding school of magic from the popular Harry Potter books and movies.

However, the only magic that's being made at Stambaugh is helping students develop a love for reading.

This year, teachers at Stambaugh started the Harry Potter Book Club with the intentions of targeting the school's least interested readers. "The key is to get them engaged," said the school's principal, Robert Hartley.

Harry Potter apparently did the trick because the club has grown to more than 140 members since it started almost two months ago.

Students meet after school every Monday.

"You get a kid to stay an hour after school, one day a week to read - that's cool," Hartley said.

In anticipation of the upcoming releases of the two-part "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" movies, staff members chose the Harry Potter theme for this year's club, said Nicole Sealey, a reading teacher and one of the club's co-sponsors.

"The books grow with the students. They start out shorter, and they start out easier. As the kids progress through the series, the books become more challenging," Sealey said.

While the goal is for students to learn to appreciate reading, students who read all seven of J.K. Rowling's Potter books and do well on quizzes, showing their reading comprehension, will get to visit Islands of Adventure's new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in Orlando at the end of the school year.

When the club meets each week, students are separated into four groups or houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin - just like in Harry Potter.

Together they participate in activities such as dramatic readings, making house crest badges and competing for house points. Student can receive points for their houses in a variety of ways throughout their school days, including good behavior, citizenship and participation.

Focusing on reading skills, students participate in activities such as writing book and movie reviews, which help them learn how to compare and contrast.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : alvarezperea

Equilibrium Bookcase

Via fubiz

Click here to view more images.

Exploring the World of Parallel Literature

Via The Hindu

Say what you will about the literary classics of yore. They might be too slow-paced and Victorian for new age Twilight-wielding readers, but some characters just stick: from the smouldering Heathcliffe to the high-spirited Elizabeth Bennett. The day Fitzwilli
am Darcy is replaced by the marble-lipped Edward Cullen will be a sad day for literature.

But while you might have read your collection of Jane Austens to tatters, your favourite characters might pop up in the most unexpected places.

Welcome to the world of parallel literature, or books that are derived from the framework of books by other authors. “It's like adult fan fiction,” says Ashwitha Jayakumar, who recently finished her masters in literature. “In the same way that football fans and news junkies ha
ve their inside jokes, parallel literature seems to be the equivalent for those of us obsessed with parallel fiction universes.” She cites the Canongate Myth series, bringing together contemporary authors to rewrite ancient stories, like Margaret Atwood's retelling of “The Odyssey” from Penelope's point of view in her novella “The Penelopiad”.

Attribute it to the postmodernist effect of playing with existing notions to create something new or simply the need to know more about characters in best-loved books, but there is an industry of authors contributing to this genre. “Pride & Prejudice” itself has inspired over 50 spin-offs, from “Mr. Darcy's Diary” by Amanda Grange to “The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett” by Colleen McCullough, which unravels the hapless younger sister's story after the conclusion of the original novel. Die-hard fans might object to Darcy's new villain status, but it makes for a good read.

So reading away the blues doesn't necessarily require revisiting the classics. Sometimes you can pick up on your favourite characters just where you — and they — have left off.
Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meet The Movement: A Public Talk with Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales, and Members of Wikimedia India

Wikipedia is a vital, free resource used by millions of people all over the world, including in India. This ubiquitous information repository includes hundreds of thousands of articles in various Indian languages, covering myriad of topics about India and its culture. Although Wikipedia is an indispensable resource to millions, little is known about how this online encyclopedia is written and who it is written by. This Sunday, October 31 at 6:30pm, anyone who is interested in learning more about this global public resource is invited to “Meet the Movement:” a talk with Jimmy Wales and members of the Wikimedia community in India. This talk is an opportunity to learn more about how Wikipedia works and why participation from the people of India is integral to Wikimedia’s global free-knowledge movement.

The iconic leader, who founded Wikipedia in 2001, will give a public talk about the history of Wikipedia and what the free knowledge movement means to India. For instance, 75 percent of all schools in India have either online or offline access to Wikipedia and Wiktionary, a sister project. Additionally, 94 percent of page views from India are for the English Wikipedia, rather than Indian languages. What does that mean about the importance of Wikipedia in India and the needs of Indian users? Wales will discuss this during his talk and members of Wikimedia India, as well as Wikimedia Foundation Board member, Bishakha Datta, will join Wales for a 30 minute open question and answer session with the audience.

Date: Sunday October 31
Time: 6.30 pm
Venue: Sophia Bhabha Hall, Sophia College campus, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Breach Candy, Mumbai 400026

This talk is open to the public on a first-come-first-seated basis.

For more information, please visit

Call for Submissions...


(We received an email about this venture from Kirsten Anderson)

MASH Collaboration is looking for submissions from Indian authors for their book 'Innovating EFL Teaching in the Asian Context'. The mail by Theron Muller says...
The intention of the book is to capture the innovative things that teachers based in Asia are doing, in adapting theory to their own contexts (such as applying TBLT in India) or in developing theory based on local contexts, independent of or complimentary to theories coming out of western countries.

We started the project because we were struck by the fact that such a book hasn't been published previously; most books follow a thematic structure, exploring a particular topic or methodology, but we have yet to find one that tries to encapsulate a regional perspective.

The book is organized into four sections:

Defining the Asian EFL Context -- This section is primarily concerned with describing the context and working practices, and has chapter titles such as "Language learning styles and beliefs of EFL students in Korea: Are they really stereotypical?" and "Global cultures and identities: Refocusing the aims of ELT in Asia through intercultural awareness".

Empowering Asian voices -- This section concerns narrative inquiry in the Asian context and has chapters like "Learner Autonomy in Asia: How Asian teachers and students see themselves " and "Co-constructing teacher beliefs towards qualifications: Insights from interviews in the Japanese context ".

Innovating teaching methodology in Asia -- This section deals with issues of teaching methodology, with chapters like "Innovating, introducing, and integrating a vocabulary learning strategies program into the Asian context" and "Promoting strategy teaching as an innovative practice in the Asian EFL oral classroom: What do low-proficiency learners tell us?".

Teaching young learners in Asia -- This section is concerned with investigations into the teaching of young learners, an area that, despite the huge amount of classroom time devoted to it, receives relatively little attention in the literature in our opinion, and includes chapters like "Exploring teachers’ implementation of the curriculum innovation in ELT in Turkish primary education" and "Using English picture books as a means to adapt to English as a global language: An ethnographic study of collaboration between primary school teachers and TEFL practitioners in rural Japan".

Innovating the teaching of writing in Asia -- This section deals with the teaching of writing, with chapters like "Extensive writing: A fluency-first approach to EFL writing" and "Who takes the floor: Peer assessment or teacher assessment? Using peer assessment in Chinese university English writing classes".

Regarding a timeline, there won't be time for someone to conduct the research at this point; we are going to need a contributor who has already completed their research and is looking to publish it. If they could send a 500 word description of their research by the end of the month for us to look over, hopefully we would be able to receive the draft of their paper by the end of November.
Visit the MASH Collaboration website.

Pyrta is a journal of poetry and other things based in Shillong - a small hill-station town in Meghalaya, India.
Pyrta aims to be a vibrant multicultural space - we'd like voices from all over to contribute quality work categorised broadly under Poetry, Photo Essays, Prose, Sketches and Local morsels.
Deadline: 1st December 2010.


Familia Books is buying stories from writers in India for an Indian edition of the anthology, Wisdom of Our Mothers. Fifty per cent of Familia's profits from the book will be donated to shelters for mothers and their children escaping abusive relationships. Eight stories will be chosen for a “Stories from India” chapter to be added to the book which was released recently.

If a work is accepted, the writer will be paid US $100 or the equivalent in rupees per story upon publication of the Indian edition of the book.

The maximum length is 3,000 words (no minimum), but preference is given to stories in the 1,000-2,000 word range. Stories will be published in English. Stories may be submitted preferably by e-mail to

The tentative deadline is December 31, 2010.
Click here for more details.

Used Book Domino Run

Via BoingBoing

Mammoth Arizona used book seller Bookmans made this sweet advert featuring a warehouse sized store in which thousands of used books do a domino run across counters, shelves, floors, etc. Hypnotic!

Pearson, Pratham Books Ink Deal to Carry Story Books to Villages

Via sify news

Publishing giant Pearson Education (Pearson Longman) has inked a memorandum of understanding with Pratham Books, a non-profit platform, to promote reading among marginalised children in the villages and small towns of India.

The agreement will help underprivileged children in the country access quality story books.

Announcing the agreement Tuesday, Vivek Govil, chief operating officer and president of Pearson Education-India (the Indian arm of Pearson), and Rohini Nilekani, the founder-chairperson said Pearson will keep aside an amount of 50 paise from the sale of every school title in India to help Pratham buy story books for children.

However, the clause will not be 'applicable to titles published by Pearson for different state boards or special deals', the memorandum said.

Set up in 2004, Pratham publishes quality books for children in multiple Indian languages at subsidised prices.

It has published titles priced below Rs.25 in 11 Indian languages and has helped more than 12 million children across 18 states in the country read both fiction and non-fiction books through a network of government agencies, rural libraries, non-profit organisations and the UNICEF.

Founder-chairperson Rohini Nilekani describes the mission of the organisation as 'to see a book in every child's hand'.

Pearson has helped educate 100 million people worldwide. In India, it specialises in the publication of academic and reference books in the school segment.

The company also designs instruction tools for teachers.

The books selected by Pratham under the project will bear the sticker, 'the book bought and distributed by Pearson as part of their efforts to promote reading in India'.

'Our goal is to create as many partnerships as possible to reach as many children as possible with as many books as possible. Our collaboration with Pearson is a new milestone in the journey towards a book in every child's hand. We are happy that

Pearson has integrated its social and business commitment in this wonderful way,' Rohini Nilekani of Pratham Books said.

'We are trying in various and innovative ways to spread the joy of reading books and at the same time reducing prices of books without compromising on accessibility and quality,' Nilekani said.

Govil said his company was committed to 'promoting education in every way'.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Events

1.'Beautiful Thing' by Sonia Faleiro : Book Launch

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

2. Book Reading from Books Shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010


Landmark Store, Banjara Hills, October 29, 6. 30 p.m.. Little Theatre will read from Manu Joseph’s Serious Men by, Anjum Hasan Neti Neti, Tishani Doshi’s The Pleasure Seekers and Palash Krishna Mehrotra’s Eunuch Park.


Landmark Store, Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam, October 27, 6.30 p.m.. Theatre Y will read from Manu Joseph’s Serious Men. Introduction by Asha Mathen, VP, Deutsche Bank.


Landmark, Garuda Swagat Mall, Jayanagar, October 26, 6.30 p.m. Poet Anindita Das will read from Palash Krishna Mehrotra’s Eunuch Park: Fifteen Stories of Love and Destruction. Introduction by Deepika Arwind, theatre personality.

3. Words of Women/Love in Modern India

Via Zubaan
We are pleased to invite you to Words of Women, the continuing programme of conversations with women writers organized by Zubaan and the India Habitat Centre.

Parvati Sharma (*The Dead Camel and Other Stories of Love*) and Shruti Saxena (*Stilettos in the Boardroom*) will be in conversation with Gautam Bhan at Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre, on 30 October 2010, 7 pm . The title of the event is Love in Modern India.

The programme usually lasts just over an hour.

Radio Stories Help Mend Childhoods in Afghanistan

Via Himal Southasian (Via Chintan Girish Modi)

Grandparents and parents telling bedtime stories are among the memories most of us carry through adulthood. Stories, unlike toys, cost no money and can germinate on the tongue of the storyteller, or in the deep recesses of common memory and legend. The stories we heard stirred our childish imaginations, gave wings to a thousand fantasies, instilled precepts of right and wrong, and even embedded prejudices into our subconscious. But not all children can take this seemingly universal childhood memory for granted. In Afghanistan, where decades of conflict have torn families apart, uprooting them from their homes, many have grown up with their childhoods distorted by the sheer weight of survival. With fragmented families and life expectancy hovering around 40 years, children are lucky if they ever get to live with their grandparents, lucky if they can go to school, lucky if they are able to experience any of the idle joys of childhood.

Against this backdrop, the BBC’s ‘Stories for Living’ is among the most valiant efforts to keep the imagination of Afghan childhood alive. A broadcast of children’s stories, it is prepared in Dari and Pashtu by the BBC’s Afghan Education Programme (AEP). AEP has also published some of the stories in colourfully illustrated books (see pics), which are bought by donors such as the Aga Khan Development Network and distributed free to Afghan children. However, given the country’s low literacy rates, radio remains AEP’s primary focus.

Rather than retelling old folktales or bringing out educational programmes, the AEP has combined traditional stories with the current realities of Afghanistan, using animal characters to fire the imagination of children. So, for instance, the ‘Peddler’s Bag’ yields magical games to teach children how to count or spell, while a story about a returning refugee tackles the sensitive issue of building acceptance for someone who might look, dress or speak differently. The idea has been to introduce children to ideas that other children usually learn in school, but without making it appear tedious or like ‘work’, says Shafiq Hakimi, the interim project manager of the AEP. The magical tonga, for example, has a woman driver who can take children anywhere they like, be it a country or a post office or a museum, where they learn what takes place at the destination.

Yet finding role models – the staple stuff of children’s stories – has been a challenge, admits Hakimi. Over the last thirty years, it was commanders and fighters who became the natural ‘leaders’ in Afghanistan, not thinkers, philosophers or even politicians. Consequently, in ‘Stories for Living’, the role models defy expectations: there is a blind girl who has learned several languages, a scholar who had written several books, or a poet such as Rumi who is accepted throughout the country.
Read the entire article here. You can also read excerpts from two stories here.

Image Source : kevin_gphotos

Book Reviews : Bhabhloo Bear’s Adventure, Cheenu’s Gift, Phani’s Funny Chappals, See You Tomorrow

Last month, we were giving out review copies of few of our books. We were excited to hear what all of you thought of our books (the good things and the bad things!) and hope that this feedback from people (educators, parents, book lovers, children) will help us create better books and help you choose books for your own kids.

These reviews were sent by Lallitha Viswanathan and her 6 year old son Athreya who received our books 'Bhabhloo Bear’s Adventure', 'Cheenu’s Gift', 'Phani’s Funny Chappals' and 'See You Tomorrow'.

1. A delightful adventure (Bhabhloo Bear’s adventure, reviewed by Lallitha)

Who doesn’t love adventure? And who doesn’ t want to be famous? The little bear
in Bhabhloo Bear’s Adventure story is no different. Full of life and full of questions, he is quite a handful for his mother. Bhabhloo Bear’s Adventure is a wonderful tale of a young bear seeking adventure in his life so as to become famous. Whether he achieves this or not forms the crux of the story.

Little Bhabhloo is a Himalayan bear who is bent upon becoming not just famous, but become world famous. He is constantly dreaming of people writing about him in newspapers and interviewing him on TV. All these thoughts get to his head so much till he goes out one cold night seeking adventure. And, do you know what he does? Well, he climbs the tallest deodar tree so that he can jump straight into the moon. Can he? Will he? What happens next? You have to read this wonderful book to know the rest. Read the book to find out what his mistake is and whether his mistake is irrevocable or not.

The story written by Paro Anand is delightful from beginning to end, striking a chord of familiarity with the readers. Her direct contact with young readers pulls them along into the story as they nod and participate. She instills a sense of confidence and her counsel for intelligent action is subtle without being preachy. And, you can put to rest doubts like why Himalayan bears have their characteristic white colour ‘ V’ lining in
their neck. Paro Anand has interestingly weaved a story to reveal the truth. Suvidha Mistry’ s illustrations are quite graphic and most apt for the story. All in all, this is a good story that parents will love to read and children will love to hear.

2. A sweet gift (Cheenu's Gift, reviewed by Lallitha)

Do you get excited to see your mother or father when they come up to pick you from school? I did when I was young, and so does Cheenu, the hero of our story, “ Cheenu’ s Gift” .

Cheenu’s father is a “ kabadiwala” , who goes around collecting old newspapers, magazines and old bottles. Cheenu is his assistant who joins him after school. At the end of the day Cheenu receives his gift from his father for helping him. What is the gift? You have to read the story to find out.

Cheenu’ s Gift is a simple story about simple pleasures of simple people. Author Sridala Swami’ s story is a nice introduction to the young readers about the world that is on the other side: the side of the
have-nots. Life is uncomplicated and happiness does not depend on money, seems to be the message of the story. An invaluable lesson for today’s generation! Sanjay Sarkar’s drawings aid the story very well.


3. A misguided boy (Phani’s Funny Chappals, reviewed by Lallitha)

In an age of fast-packed action and violence that fills children’ s books and cartoons that race to thump each other, Sridala Swami’ s stories come like a breath of fresh air. Children are introduced to a different world, a simple uncomplicated world and a wonderful world of imagination.
One such story is Phani’ s Funny Chappals.

Phani’ s ingenious replies to his late comings, and watching TV instead of playing outside with friends can make you smile and wonder who the real culprit is. Are Phani’s Chappals the real hero or is Phani trying to shift the attention on to something else to prevent scolding? I think it is left to the imagination of the readers to conclude. Sanjay Sarkar’ s illustrations are graphic in character depiction, and the emotions are all well drawn.

4. The day animals came home (See you Tomorrow, reviewed by Athreya)

I liked Tanya Luther Agarwal’ s “ See you Tomorrow” very much because it is a very simple, easy, and nice story to read. It’ s funny that the animals in the story accept the invitation seriously and come home. I wish animals would come to my home too. The illustrations drawn are very beautiful, and I love looking at all the animal pictures, especially. I think the message is that you should be nice to your guests and give them food even if they are animals.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Illustration Love

Sharing some of the lovely book/reading related illustrations I've found online recently.

Source : Tanvi Choudhury

Source: illcircus
Source: enkana

Source : Thomerama

Source : c2-switch

Pratham Books is Partnering with Pearson Longman to Spread the Joy of Reading

Pratham Books is delighted that it is joining hands with Pearson Longman for a very special initiative. Part of of the sales proceeds from every book sold by Pearson Longman will go to Pratham Books for the shared goal of promoting reading among children. As a leading educational publisher Pearson Longman reaches schools across India while Pratham Books reaches children in many Indian languages and there is great potential for synergy. We, at Pratham Books are excited about this as it will help us reach many more children.

The news of this partnership will be shared at an event at Islamic Cultural Centre (Delhi) on Oct 26, 2010 at 11 am. Our chairperson, Ms. Rohini Nilekani and Mr Vivek Govil, CEO Pearson Longman will speak at the occasion. See you there!

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

The story of school children in India has seen the addition of some exciting chapters in the recent past. Now that enrollment of children is touching a pleasing high of 96 per cent, the next steps should focus on creating a joyful school journey for all children.The Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan has recognized the importance of the quality of education so that children remain in school and they leave with a combination of skills and knowledge that make them productive citizens.

Books and reading have a key role in this process. Books are the most cost effective, interactive, autonomous learning medium for any child to learn with joy. They engage the imagination, they delight the mind and the eye and walk hand in hand with the child as she creates knowledge out of information.Books help us all to travel to new places in every sense of the word.

Pratham Books was set up to make good books available to all children at an affordable price.With its mission of:"A Book In Every Child's Hand" it has reached nearly 12 million children in India so far. We realize that it is a societal mission and therefore, Pratham Books has always sought meaningful partnerships.Only a fraction of children in India have access to good books and we believe that unless we join hands to reach the last child, many children will remain deprived of the opportunity to enter the magical world of reading.

Chuk Chuk Chuk... Chal Padi Pratham Books ki Rail Gaadi!

In one of the emails exchanged within our organization, Mala from the editorial team wrote :

"So now we're going to here excited calls of 'Garma garm Chaaaiii! aaalu-batata vadaaa! Taaza taaza Pratham booookss!

Or to start with, Chuda-chuda kaapi, Idli-vadai saambaar! Morru-morru murukku! Puthampudiya Pratham Pustagangall!

Wow, Indian Railways just became so much more interesting."

What is she talking about?

We are sooooooooooooooo excited because we found out that our books (in Tamil and English) are being bought by IRCTC to give to children who will be going for school tours on trains in Tamil Nadu.

This is IRCTC Southern Unit’s pilot exercise to give away books to students of class 8th travelling on study tours throughout Tamil Nadu. This pilot is to promote reading while travelling and more 10,000 children travel in a year on these study tours conducted by IRCTC in association with SSA TN.

This time, only girls are part of these study tours and are escorted by almost 1000+ teachers travelling in 8 districts of TN.

We have offered them 12 titles ranging from 'A Man called Bapu' to 'Turtle Story' and 'Freestlye', from the History series to the the Environment series.

Although the current pilot is for a small set of children, we hope that this pilot is successful and that we will be able to reach more children through IRCTC.

(On another note: Isn't the Indian Railways ad adorable?)

One Nation Reading Together

Loving this poster created by Priya Kuriyan for Scholastic. Click here for a larger view.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

This animation was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert.

Come, Scribble and Get Published

Via Facebook (via blaftness)

Cutting Chai wants to bring together everyone who loves writing to battle with words and work towards questioning peace and freedom.

We will be getting together with tea, pens and papers (those swanky can get laptops - preferably not!).

We are going to shout at each other, discuss writing narratives, try very hard at understanding freedom, and somehow bring peace with words.

Feel free to join us.

All writings (non-linear, linear, fiction, non-fiction or even a string of words) will be submitted to us. You can write in Tamil and English. Unfortunately, we do not have translators for other languages as of yet (if you can help us finding one then enjoy writing in that language).

We will speak to each one of you separately, edit, and publish it in the following issue of Cutting Chai.

You can look through our previous issue here -

Date and Time: Saturday, October 23 · 3:30pm - 6:00pm
Venue: Fourth Seaward Road Beach, Valmiki Nagar, Tiruvanmiyur, Chennai, India
Click here for more information.

Call for Submissions....


Via Women's Web (Via Makepeace Sitlhou - psst: you can also read Makepeace's entry for this contest here)
Welcome to the Women's Web's 'My Favourite Female' contest, where all you need to do is write about a fictional female character that really appeals to you. (For purposes of this contest, we're defining 'fictional' as a character from a novel).

What? Pick any female character from a novel, that made you sit
up, that made you go wow, that made you laugh or cry, that got you angry, that got you thinking, that made you fall
in love - in short, a character that made you feel, 'I wish I had written that!'

How? Tell us what you liked about this character in a blog post. If you don't blog - drop a note in the comments here, or mail us at . Remember, the character herself doesn't need to be likeable, so long as you can talk about why the character appealed to you - actions, qualities or anything else.


- Stick to 500 words or below

- Choose a fictional character - in other words, someone from a novel, who did not exist in the real world (sorry, historical novel characters based on actual people won't qualify!)

- Your entry must be dated between 12th Oct and 22nd Oct, 2010 (or reach us between those dates)

- If you're submitting a blog post, include a link to this page - we'll track your entry that way. (


The best written entry a.k.a 1st prize wins a Rs. 500 Flipkart voucher (or a $10 Amazon voucher if you happen to live outside India). The next two best written entries (2nd and 3rd prizes) get Rs. 250 worth Flipkart vouchers each (or a $5 Amazon voucher if you live outside India).

All 3 winning entries will also be published on the Women's Web blog.

Go on then - remember, entries close on 22nd Oct 2010, so get your entry in before that...
For more information and to find out who is judging this contest, click here.


SI Universe Media is proud to announce — the hotly anticipated followup to SECRET IDENTITIES: THE ASIAN AMERICAN SUPERHERO ANTHOLOGY — SECRET IDENTITIES VOLUME 2: SH

After 18 months of much-needed downtime, we’re excited to announce that work is now underway on a second volume of all-new tales set in the grand tradition of heroic graphical fiction: SECRET IDENTITIES VOLUME 2: SHATTERED, targeting a 2012 publication date.

Thanks to a generous development grant from the Vilcek Foundation, we’ve begun the monumental task of putting together a sequel to Secret Identities — one tha
t we hope will be even bigger, better and more boundary-breaking than the original. Shattered will take readers to the darker side of the Secret Identities universe, exploring the nefarious, sinister and menacing side of the good guy/bad guy equation in order to upend, reenvision, reimagine — to shatter — the distorted and negative images that have shadowed Asian Americans since the earliest days of our arrival in this country.

This time out, we’re looking for stories that showcase strong and vivid interactions between heroes and villains — even stories with the 'villain' as protagonist — as a way to question the power of perception to shape reality. We’re also looking to incorporate a broader range of comic genres — superheroes, and more..

And we’re looking for you to contribute.

Click here for more information.


There are two sides to every story...
And we here at CatsCurious Press think that our readers deserve to read BOTH!

A Call for Submissions... of the Faery Taile Kynde! The Faery Taile Project #2 is ready to roll!

CatsCurious Press will re-open to submissions starting October 1, 2010 for all well-written, humorous fairy tale re-tellings (except red riding hood, but that's because we've been there, done that)! But there's a catch -- these stories must be written from ONE POV only... the protagonist's.

Why would we be so strict, you ask? Because Anton Strout, author of 'Dead To Me', 'Deader Still', 'Dead Matter' and 'Dead Waters' has already gotten on board to write a counterpoint story! That's right -- once we have plowed our way through the slush, Anton will review our favorite stories and then choose ONE from among them to write a counterpoint to.

Here are the requirements:

Story length must be between 7500 and 12,000 words
Stories must be humorous
Stories must appeal to a broad range of folks -- from twelve years old to adult (so no raunchy humor, please!)
Stories must be single POV, from the protagonist's point of view (this will take some finesse -- leaving enough details to the imagination that Anton can create a counterpoint, yet creating a rich-enough world that the reader won't be left wanting)
Submission period: October 1st, 2010 to 11:59:59pm December 31st, 2010
Send Submissions to:

Any fairy tale is fair game (except red hood of course, for obvious reasons)!

The payment? $.06 per word and seeing your name next to Anton Strout's!
Click here for more details.


I'm curating a special issue on Kashmir for Pratilipi. The immediate provocation of course is the cycle of killings and protests that has gripped the Valley since June. I've been wondering: Can art - along with what we know as analysis and activism - analyze, activate, respond? Can art change the discourse? Challenge it? At least introduce a ripple in it?

If something can change a dream, or a nightmare, art can. The dream life of art can take us outside the most relentless of curfews and also to its most relentless inside. Every stroke of a pen, a brush, on a keyboard can wrap inside itself a stone which will heal a scar, stop violence, and bring what's disappeared back. Do you believe? We must believe.

Your mandate for investigation: Kashmir.

Inviting poetry, fiction, non-fiction, genre-crossings, translations, images, artwork, sound, video, and other art practices. Entries are welcome in English, Hindi, Kashmiri, Urdu, and other languages.

Submit to by November 20, with your name and a brief bio.
Click here for more information.


Via an email received from Chintan Girish Modi
Traditionally, the dustbin has always been an author's best friend. It holds all their untold stories. It is a place for rejects, a place where unfinished ideas - to use a euphimism - go to rest. Ideas that never get developed for a variety of reasons viz. no time, no inclination, no faith, no future - you get the idea.

Enter the - the author's NEW best friend. The difference? The stories that enter the are not treated as discards or rejects; rather they are proudly featured & displayed for the world to see and read. We believe that no story is bad enough to be discarded - it just needs some work, some appreciation and some more effort. No, we don't publish all stories that are submitted - but we do give first-time authors a taste of the publishing process. Or so we like to think, at least. :)

To know more details, please check this link:

For authors:
We welcome unpublished short stories from all literary genres: contemporary, fan-fiction, fantasy, fast, folklore, historical, humor, mystery, occupational, romance, thriller, tragedy & under-age. We're not accepting adult/erotica as of now - keeping it clean, sort of. :)
Short-stories posted on your OWN personal blogs are also welcome - in fact we'll link back to your blog!
We have a strict NO PLAGIARISM policy - if the story is found published elsewhere, the author gets blacklisted for all future submissions.
We believed in Standard Manuscript formats for submission.
Further details and guidelines for submission can be found here:

Every Sunday at 10 AM sharp, we publish a batch of stories that have been read, reviewed & curated by a team of short-fiction aficionados.

Damroo : Workshop for Creating Content for Children

Via Damroo
Bridging the Worlds of the Marginalized and the Privileged
The rich and diverse visual cultures and the vibrant storytelling traditions of South Asia, make up the foundations for this workshop. The workshop brings together creative minds from near and distant lands to create relevant and imaginative content for children.

As the twentyfirst century unfolds into its second decade, the world appears as engulfed as before, by conflicts and violences and by the struggle for water, energy, food and other resources that appear scarce and limited in the face of insatiable human greed.

The meeting in November attempts to bring together practitioners of traditional arts as well as contemporary voices from South Asia to create
content that provokes thought as well as delights, entertains and enlightens the young and the very young.

Format for the Workshop
To initiate the journey, a suggested focus is "Bridging the Worlds of the Marginalized and the Privileged".
One hopes that such bridges shall lead to harmonies greater than those we know so far.
It is well known however, that more than anything else, a creative mind longs for space and open-endedness.
It may well happen, that the November Workshop throws up directions that are altogether new.

Workshop Schedule
3 November '10:

Arrival at IDC. Introductions
4 November '10:
Discussion on possibilities, formation of groups
5, 6, November '10:
Creation of Content by groups
7 November '10:
Visit to Galleries / Theatre / Sightseeing trip
8, 9 November '10:
Creation of Content by groups
10 November '10:
Summarizing and Charting Out A Future Meet
You can view the list of participants here. Visit the website.

(Thanks for sending us this link Chintan!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Reader's Alphabet

We've been following Hemant Anant Jain on Twitter for some time now, but had somehow missed this work of his. Titled 'The Reader's Alphabet', each letter represents a famous literary character and a little text summarizes the story of the book in which the character appears. Visit Hemant Anant Jain's blog to see more of his work.

(Please click here for a larger view of the poster)

Kapil Sibal Moots Neighborhood Book Policy

Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Kapil Sibal has mooted that there be a neighborhood book policy in the country.

According to Sibal, the aim should be that in the manner of neighborhood schools, there should be neighborhood libraries and reading rooms. He gave this suggestion to the Task Force that has prepared the Draft National Book Promotion Policy while speaking at a Round Table held to discuss the policy, here today.

He added that "the model of libraries/reading rooms being followed in Tamil Nadu (pointed out and praised by some members of the round table) could be looked at by the Task Force to be incorporated in their report. He also said that state governments would have to be involved for this."

He also asked the Task Force to take a fresh look at the publishing of school text books and whether greater private sector involvement could be looked at here.

He also pointed out to the publishing industry that a huge opportunity awaits them in the publishing of e-books, especially for children's books that can be illustrated. He further added that the vast scope of translations of books in India from one language to the other.

Underlining the need of a policy framework to reach out to potential authors, especially in small places, who find it very difficult to find publishers, the minister asked the Task Force that an idea that could be looked at was the setting up of a national level website, connected to the states and to the districts, so that those who seek to author books can reach out to a committee/committees consisting of government and non-government members.
Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It is Not Enough to Simply Teach Children to Read...

“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations—something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.”
- Katherine Patterson
In other news, Tulika Books is sharing their book 'Water Stories' online. Yayyyy! You can read the book here (The Scribd document indicates that the book is in the public domain. Double yayyyy!).

Image Source : Apak Studio

Book Launches

We are excited about this blog post because the events mentioned in this post are linked to people who have been associated with us previously. Subhadra Sen Gupta is the author of our books 'A Man Called Bapu' and the 'Once Upon An India' series. Clare Arni has taken stunning photographs for our book 'Cauvery'. Vibha Batra, whose work has been included in the anthology of short stories, was the winner of our 'Retell, Remix and Rejoice with Chuskit contest'. You can read her winning entry for the contest here.


Launch of the book 'Hampi" by Subhadra Sen Gupta with photographs by Clare
Arni along with a chief guest Smt. Sudha Murthy (Chairperson of Infosys Foundation) & Shri Nagathihalli Chandrashekar (Writer and Director).

Date and Time : Wednesday 20 October, 6:30 PM
Venue : Crossword, 32, ACR Tower, Ground Floor, Residency Road, Bangalore
Hampi is one of the greatest heritage sites in India. It has not merely temples or palaces but the remains of a complete medieval city—the magnificent Vijayanagar. There is an exquisite collection of monuments that lie scattered across a picturesque landscape.

Founded in the 14th century, the kingdom of Vijayanagar thrived for three hundred years. It was one of the greatest cities of the medieval world, legendary not just for its wealth and military prowess but also for its art, architecture, crafts and culture. Some of the finest architecture and sculpture can be seen at Hampi. It is one of the World Heritage Sites of the UNESCO.

Once traders and adventurers across the globe came to Vijayanagar, but in the 16th century the city was sacked by invaders, abandoned by its people, and it never rose again. Today as travellers and pilgrims wander through its beautiful palaces and temples, it seems that the world has returned to Hampi once again.

Subhadra Sen Gupta writes on various aspects of Indian history and culture through fiction and travel writing. Her books aim to capture the fascinating, vibrant and many-hued aspects of the people, places and history of India. She also enjoys writing historical fiction for children and scripting comic books.

Clare Arni is a Bangalore-based photographer and specialises in architecture, travel and documentary photography. She has worked with UNESCO, Wall Street Journal, Wallpaper City Guides and Conde Nast and her work has been exhibited across the world.

2. BOOK LAUNCH : RIPPLES, Short Stories by Indian Women Writers

Date and Time : 24th October, 11:00 AM onwards
Venue : Oxford Book Store, Nungambakkam, Chennai
(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bookshelf Love

A different take on the Ladder Bookshelf that was featured on our blog previously.

Image Source

The Hay Festival of the Literature and the Arts is Coming to India

Via The Hindu

Lyndy Cooke, executive director of The Hay Festival of the Literature and the Arts, talks about the event that comes to the city in November.

It will be carnival time in the city in November as the The Hay Festival of the Literature and the Arts hits the shores of Kerala. An annual festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales, it is one of the world's most prestigious literary festivals and it's hosting its first India edition in Kerala with around 40 leading authors.

The festival, which is on from November 12 to 14 at Kanakakunnu Palace promises to be a delight for bibliophiles. Besides literature, it will also explore new ideas on arts, poetry et al.

In Kerala, the Hay Festival will be an annual event and we will invite the best international authors, thinkers, publishers and up-and-coming authors. The focus of the fete this year will be more specific, centering on literature, environment, culture, health and education. We will start it small and then let it grow.”

But why a Hay Festival in India? “We have wanted to expand to India for some time now as the writing from the country is fresh. You have excellent writers from India. The writing is varied and often captures the challenges of an aspiring India.

And Kerala? “Kerala contributes quite a bit to Indian literature. It has a rich tradition of literary writing in Malayalam. We hope to spread its appeal gradually across borders. Kerala also has a high literacy rate and is a popular tourist destination.
Read the entire article here.

The official website says "Speakers at The Week Hay Festival 2010 include Amrita Tripathi, Anita Nair, Bama Faustina, Basharat Peer, Bob Geldof, Charu Nivedita, CP Surendran, Gillian Clarke, Hannah Rothschild, Jorge Volpi, K Satchidanand, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Manu Joseph, Marcus du Sautoy, Michelle Paver, Miguel Syjuco, NS Madhavan, Namita Gokhale, Nik Gowing, Paul Zacharia, Pavan Varma, Revel Guest, Rosie Boycott, Rupika Chawla, Sebastian Faulks, Shashi Tharoor, Simon Schama, Sister Jesme, Sonia Faleiro, Tarun Tejpal, Tishani Doshi, Vikram Seth, Vivek Narayanan, William Dalrymple."

Visit the website
for more details.