Monday, May 31, 2010

Our Books Reviewed in Marathi Dailies

The Sunday edition of Loksatta ( May 30) has reviewed our books on children's page with a good layout using covers of the books. The heading is - ' Sweet Stories' .



Suchita Deshpande has introduced the books telling what the story is all about and in one para per book, she says:

Nono, The Snow Leopard- is a book published under a Read India imprint and is a wonderful book for the older children. The information about snow leopard is woven in a story format which is interesting. Moreover it helps in developing the right type of attitude towards nature and animal world.

Bhabhaloo is a story of a naughty and mischievous bear. He is passionate about doing something different. He is obsessed with the idea of going on the moon. He thinks that by climbing the tall deodar tree he will reach to the moon. What happens next? Does he reaches to the moon? A must read for children.

Too many Bananas is a pictorial story for the children between 3 to 6. It is illustrated by Anjie and Upesh and written by Noni. It is a story of Sringeri Shrinivas who grows sweet bananas. They are too many and no one wants to buy from him. What to do with all these bananas? Finally he finds the solution. What is it? And why all people are happy with this solution?

In the same review article two other books from Urja publication are also covered.

o~x~0
This article written by Manisha Nitsure  Joshi on our books ( May 8 ) is more like a review rather than mere introduction and covers PB and Raja Prakashan books.


From the Maharashtra Times - मुलांच्या दुनियेतील नवे रंग

With the title - The new colors in the world of children - it says - There is a wonderful makeover in the book publishing brought out by colorful illustrations, quality printing and good content. Some publishers are experimenting with both form and content. Pictures and illustrations play very important role in children's books. Pratham Books has made commendable effort in telling the stories with words and pictures also. The illustrations from Nono and Bhabloo (especially by Maya Ramaswami) are so communicative that, even a book of these pictures alone (without words ) can be published. The translation of Bhabhaloo by Meera Deshpande could have been better but still a good effort. Too many bananas tells a story of a banana farmer. The selection of the bold type, the proportion of text and illustrations and the paper quality makes this book attractive. The dictionary explaining words from Nono and the facts about bananas, scientific information on the last page make a very good value addition.

Pratham Books started in Bangalore with the initiative taken by Rohini Nilekani . It produces high quality affordable books in 5 Indian languages.

(Many thanks to Sandhya Taksale from our editorial team who found and translated these for us.)

Workshop for Kids - 100 Things to do with Genda Phool

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Announcing the results of the 'Retell, Remix, Rejoice with Chuskit' Contest




Hi! Pratham Books is delighted to announce the winners of the 'Retell, Remix, Rejoice with Chuskit' Contest. The response was excellent and we had a whale of a time reading so many stories that had their genesis in one little story!

We’d like to thank all our participants for their imaginative entries. We now have nearly 50 new stories that we would like to share with readers all over the world. We’d like to thank the original creators Sujatha Padmanabhan (author), Madhuvanti Anantharajan (illustrator) and Manisha Gutman (designer) for introducing ‘Chuskit Goes to School!’ to all of us. Thanks, ladies, and we wish you all the best in all your future projects for children!

And the winners are:

Online: Above 16 years

1st Prize, Vibha Batra, Jamun has her wish
2nd Prize,Neelam Chandra, The Haunted House
3rd Prize, Nilofar Shamim Ansher, How Two Legged Su Saves the Day

Special prizes

1st Prize, Mahesh Mhabdi, Everything is possible
2nd Prize, Tilakprasad Joshi,Life of Nita
3rd Prize, Hussein, Carina Goes to School

Under 16

1st prize, Aakash Pandey, Nisha Walks Again

Akshara Foundation Winners

English

1st Prize: Naghma, Ritu and her lost brother
2nd Prize: N. Ruksar, The story of Suman

Urdu

1st Prize, Sonappa Garden students,

Kannada

1st Prize, Sriharsha, Smita, Madhuri, Prabhudev, Pooja: Rethala Bhavishya
2nd Prize, Akshara Library, Chuskit


‘Jamun Has Her Wish’ will now be presented as a printed book to Vibha Batra. Vibha’s story is simple, clear and while Jamun’s Grandpa may have got his idea from Tom Sawyer, we loved this endearing story. Congratulations Vibha! Our intern Sudha Balachandran, a student of Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore, did a quick layout of the winning entry.

There were many stories that nearly made it. We realise that judging a creative contest is always a challenge---ideas are so subjective! So we judges had quite a tussle when we had to decide the winners.

We chose “The Haunted House’ for the way the author has remixed the story taking it to a totally different genre, and we chose ‘How Two-legged Su Saved the Day’ for the intricate storyline, the vivid settings and the effort made to create a totally new environment for the book.

Amritha Dinesh sent us “How Dani learnt She was special’ and we liked it very much. We enjoyed the light-hearted story sent by Hetal Shah, ‘Choti Brings Unity’ about a girl who gets into trouble because of her cat. Imagination soars literally sky-high for Archana Jayakumar who sent us ‘Princess Pom-Pom Learns to Smile’ about a little girl who takes a lesson from the clouds. Vibha Sharma’s ‘Picture Perfect’ is a simple story that shows how resourceful kids can be. Vidya Vasudevan creates a monster in her story 'Lazy Billy and the Taka-taka Monster'.

In the Under 16 category, the winner is nine-year old Aakash Pandey with his entry 'Nisha Walks Again'. We would like to believe that the lower number of entries in this category indicates that children were out there in parks and playgrounds or vacations soaking up the sunshine rather than sitting at their computers!

We’re particularly delighted to have the entries of three very smart young men. Mahesh Mhabdi, Tilak Prasad Joshi and Hussein studied at Happy Home School for the Blind in Mumbai, and are now undergraduate students at St. Xavier's College. They appeared for their Class 12 examinations recently. They did their schooling in the Marathi medium, and could have easily written the stories in Marathi. But they thought writing in English would be a good way to improve their skills. Thinking in their mother tongue, and translating those thoughts into English before typing them couldn't have been very easy! Says Chintan Girish Modi, “As part of a summer programme devoted to strengthening English language skills, which I co-facilitated at Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged this April, we thought it would be a good idea for students' creative work to find an audience beyond their peers and teachers.”

Our thanks to Inclusive Planet too for making the contest accessible to the print-impaired community.

And the surprise that we mentioned? Our friends at pothi.com have an offer. Contestants have been invited by pothi.com to get their books printed through their print on demand service. Won't it be exciting to have a printed book with your name on it? Look out for more details in your mailbox!

We'd also like to acknowledge Siddharth Srivastava's suggestion of creating a board game out of our illustrations. "Make placards with these illustrations (one picture per card) and then turn it into a board game where you place the illustrations in an order and then a person can write a story. Soon you can create a 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories' kind of river of stories, with mixing and matching and creation of new stories!" wrote Siddharth and then followed it up with a detailed instructions to crate prototype for the game.

We got some interesting feedback on this idea from our online community. Just goes to show the enormous benefits for all of sharing content online, don't you think?

At Pratham Books, we strongly feel that the more we share, the more we get. By putting up one book in cyberspace, we've got nearly 50 new stories that can go out to children. Imagine the things we could give our children if more book creators---authors, illustrators, designers, translators, publishers---could work together!

There are two prize-winning entries on Scribd.com now,and you can read both of them here. We will be uploading all the other entries on Scribd.com too in the coming weeks. So do look out for them! Happy reading and a big thank you to everyone who has been part of this project! Thank you for spreading the joy of reading!

It's a Book!

Teehee! Watch on as a tech-savvy donkey and a book-loving ape exchange words...

Faces in Places

'Faces in Places' is a photographic collection of faces found in everyday places. Cute...cute....cute! And a great way to keep your kids entertained too :)

The Chief



Don't Mess with the Moody House (From sharkoman's Flickr stream)


Grinning Grill (From mundomom's Flickr stream)

View more images here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Read - Mumbai and Chennai



Sunday 30 May, 12 noon to 5 pm at Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai


Fun performances and demonstrations by some of our workshop conductors & participants

 1:00 pm    Clowns, Giant Puppets and Jugglers by Anurupa Roy, Puja Sarup & Timira
 4:30 pm    Miniature Theatre & Shadow Puppets by Anurupa Roy & workshop participants

Treat yourself to stories and more

2:00 pm     Randhir Khare reads from his book The Last Jungle On Earth
2:45 pm     Anita Salim reads from her favourite stories
3:30 pm      Lovleen Misra reads poem from her favourite children's books
4:00 pm      Tunni ki Kahani 2 by Gopal Tewari & group

                                                                         AND MORE.......
From 12 noon onwards.




In Chennai, the ilovereadin Library's 'Summer of Read 2010' offer - Borrow UNLIMITED BOOKS from us, home delivered to you for free, and  join us for our fun Storytelling Sundays.

Call for Entries : The Speculative Ramayana Anthology

Via Time Out Mumbai

After nine years in software research and development in the US, Anil Menon turned from editing papers on genetic algorithms to writing science fiction. Menon, who has been writing short stories for publications such as InterZone, New Genre and Strange Horizons since 2005, is now directing his attention towards the reinterpretation of one of the most popular Indian epics. He, along with co-editor Vandana Singh, is calling for submissions to The Speculative Ramayana Anthology, and is looking for stories that use the epic “in an essential and innovative way”. Menon, who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Singh, who teaches physics in Boston, are clear that by “essential” they mean the entries should be “about the Ramayana and not, say, the war in Iraq, although the war in Iraq is a perfectly acceptable setting for the Ramayana”.

Doesn’t this boil down to little more than an exercise in writing?
We don’t see it as a mere exercise, naturally. Let me give you an example. Arthur C Clarke’s 2001 was based on [Homer’s] The Odyssey. That’s why the movie was subtitled A Space Odyssey. Now, there’s very little on the surface that reminds you of The Odyssey. And yet, every emotion you find in the Greek epic is reflected in a marvellously renewed way in Clarke’s retelling. Every time Odysseus gazes outwards at the unreachable horizon, the reader can feel that existential rasa: “karuna” sadness. We are Odysseus in that moment, his horizon is the human race’s horizon. It took Clarke’s retelling to recapture that rasa. That’s because our horizons are now pinned to outer space.

Was 2001 just a writing exercise? Or did it feel like an epic for a new age? I guess we’re hoping for stories that’ll work a similar magic. We’ve forgotten why we have told and re-told this epic of ours. I’m hoping some of the stories in the anthology will serve to remind us.
Would you like to speculate on the future of the genre?
Speculative fiction’s strength is that it’s a bit like Hinduism. It’s enormously popular, pluralistic, has a big tent, keeps diversifying all the time, and means very different things to different people. Its weakness is that its variety makes it hard to institutionalise. At the moment, English departments have no idea what to do with something so protean. But I believe that the idea of speculation will eventually get the same dedicated attention that the idea of fiction has today. The formal study of speculation – the study of narrative contexts – has its Don Quixotes, but it still awaits its Columbus.

The Speculative Ramayana Anthology is supported by the publishing house Zubaan Books. For guidelines and to submit entries, visit www.zubaanbooks.com. Entry Rs 1,000; deadline Tue, June 1.
Read the entire article here. For details on submissions, click here.

Image Source

Chintan's Post

(This is a guest post by Chintan Girish Modi. He is pursuing an M.Phil. in English Language Education. Based on field work with school students in a low-income neighbourhood in Dongri, Mumbai, his research has to do with encouraging children to write by building on their interests and experiences instead of responding mechanically to teacher-driven writing prompts. He writes for Teacher Plus and Young World, and manages People in Education, an online group that connects various stakeholders in education, and facilitates the sharing of resources)

In 1997, the Anthropology and Education Quarterly had published a paper titled ‘Talking with Benny: Suppressing or Supporting Learner Themes and Learner Worlds?’ by Martha Bean. It describes a case study with Benny, a Mexican American third-grader, who was considered a failure in school, but turned out to be “an apt and avid learner” when his personal tutor related “instructional talk” to “recurrent themes in Benny’s daily life.” The paper is written by Benny’s neighbour and family friend who offered personal tutoring to the young boy. With the benefit of being able to observe Benny at close quarters and have a glimpse into his out-of-school experiences, Bean was able to talk to the child within the frame of his life experiences. Bean’s familiarity with Benny’s world helped her support the kid’s language learning in ways that school teachers couldn’t. Bean wanted to compare her tutoring experience with what went on at school. As a classroom observer, she found that Benny made an attempt to introduce his life contexts into the classroom, but didn’t find too welcome a forum here. Most teachers, like the one in Benny’s classroom, stay unaware of the rich variety of resources that learners bring with them to school. As a result, opportunities “that allow learners to share more of themselves and their background knowledge” are lost. Bean has an important question to ask all of us who care about children: “How can learners’ life experiences inform the tasks of school, and why in the case of minority learners doing poorly in school, is it important that they do so?”

***

One way of doing this is through home visits. Amy Baeder, in her article, ‘Stepping Into Students’ Worlds’, writes about the home visits programme at Cleveland High, a small school in Seattle. “Through listening to parents, grandparents, and others, we learned of these individuals’ talents, experiences and dreams in ways that would later help us understand and motivate our students.” In a multicultural setting, such home visits help teachers gain first-hand knowledge about each family, rather than accepting generalities or stereotypical images that are not based on direct experience. Baeder writes, “We find it highly rewarding when we incorporate information gleaned from a home visit into a lesson, warm-up question, project, or assignment.” Home visits also help schools get a good sense of how families can contribute to: by sharing skills, offering workshops, volunteering at school functions, using their contacts and resources. One may argue that home visits take up too much time, or are impossible given the large numbers of students. Can we work around these constraints? Can we appreciate the idea of home visits in principle, and look for other ways of creating connections between homes and schools? The effort seems worth it. “Each year, on the first day of school, I stand in front of a sea of faces, with names swirling in my head. Some students remain a mystery to me until I visit their homes and they unfold into real people. Teachers need to know students in this way; every day we make instructional decisions that hinge on what we know about our kids. We can learn so much if we just enter students’ homes and listen.”

***

If Baeder isn’t convincing enough for you, dip into Sandra Smidt’s book Introducing Vygotsky. Smidt draws our attention to the practice of gathering information about a child’s life prior to his/her entry into a school. She points out that this procedure is often carried out in a manner that is unresponsive to the needs of parents who may not be familiar with the system the child is entering. Schools ask parents to fill out forms, but the information collected is often used purely for statistical purposes. At times, this information is not even seen by the teacher, when in fact, it can help them understand better the young people placed in their care, and build deep connections between home and school. Smidt writes, “In terms of sensitive and effective teaching and learning, we must start by finding out as much as we can about the life of the child. We want to know what the child has shown interest in and been involved in, at home and in the local community. We want to know who the important people in the child’s life are. We want to know what the child likes, what she fears, what she enjoys, and what significant experiences she has had. This is a double-edged tool. In the first place, it allows us to begin to build on the child’s prior experience; in the second it marks the beginning of a two-way partnership with parents and carers. Understanding the child’s experiences, culture and cultural tools, networks of support and communication, and significant others (adult and peer) allows us to begin to build another world for the child to learn in and from, and to offer another culture to which the child contributes. This is the culture of the classroom…”

***

There is much else to share, but this blog post is already turning out to be quite long. I’d like to conclude with Erick Gordon’s lovely article about the Student Press Initiative, which collaborates with schools to bring out student-generated publications that grow from classrooms. Gordon writes about the process of putting together Coring the Apple: The Best of New York, a student publication by 13-year-olds. Prior to the publication, students read widely in the ‘reviews’ genre: music, food, literature, arts, shopping, sports, etc. Alex, an eighth-grader who “resisted classroom writing with pugnacity” started developing an interest in the idea when it occurred to him that his review could actually be persuasive enough to convince someone to act on his advice. Alex decided to write about video games, and worked on several drafts of his review with great enthusiasm. Gordon writes, “An avid gamer, Alex had never been permitted to bring this interest to school before, never had the opportunity to draw from his expertise to reveal his intimate insider’s knowledge of the world of video games.” The Student Press Initiative also collaborated with Mary Whittemore, who taught a 12th grade class called Literature of Social Justice at the Beacon School in New York City.” Each student profiled, interviewed, and photographed a community activist of his or her choice.

Interviews are a wonderful genre of writing, not widely experimented with in schools. Last summer, when I facilitated a writing workshop with 10-14 year olds in Dongri, Mumbai, I asked my students to consider interviewing people they are used to interacting with on a regular basis, but don’t know well enough. Two interviewed their maid servants, a third interviewed her milkman, and a fourth one interviewed a boy working at a restaurant. I had asked all the children to prepare a set of questions and run it by me. They carried out their interviews in Hindi, and translated the responses into English. The results were fabulous.

The children were compelled to think about several aspects of the lives of their interviewees—how much they earned per month, if they had any savings, the village or hometown they had migrated from, other people in their family, everyday problems in their locality, the education of their children, what they liked to do in their spare time, their dreams and aspirations. Things that may or may not have crossed the minds of these children earlier, but things they got to learn about on their own. All they had to do was ask.

The girl who interviewed her milkman didn’t know his name earlier. The girl who interviewed the boy at the restaurant came back feeling sad for the boy, and thinking about child labour. A friend of mine, who is a social psychologist, read two of these interviews, and pointed out that interviewing as an exercise had turned out to be quite a simple but powerful tool. It had helped the children empathise.

I share this experience because I feel it is important for our children to learn more about people who are in and out of our homes, providing valuable services. These are people who make our lives comfortable, but are often passed by, with no acknowledgement, leave alone a smile. Our children (and adults too) must learn to respect what these people do.

Image Source : Halomomo

Second and a Half Dimension Shelves

Via Yanko Design

This project goes by the name “Imeüble” and it’s a shelving system that accesses not just your eyeballs and book-storing hands, it works with your mind to help you store information the same way you learn to associate words to their meanings! The easiest comparison is one the designer uses: when you read the word “cornfield,” you imagine a field full of corn, not the word “cornfield.” In that the shelf appears to be 2D but is actually 3D, this whole system works in the same environment of learning.

Confused? It’s really quite simple and wonderful. As you look at the shelves, they appear to be flat, sideways, weird in some way or another to your eyes. In reality, they’re simple plastic, shaped in a way that instills an image that’s much stronger than it’s actual simple function.
See more pictures here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Release: A Silly Story of Bondapalli

(Via Tulika Books)

Once Upon A Time… Far, Far Away

(This guest post is written by Shwetal Rai. Shwetal Rai is currently a Corporate Communications Consultant for Microsoft-IT India and a freelance journalist for rediff.com. Prior to this, she was a Senior Correspondent with CNN-IBN, Bangalore & Hyderabad. Currently based in Hyderabad, she loves travelling, meditating, cooking, reading and hanging out with friends. She is also a faculty with The Art of Living Foundation. You can read her blog or follow her on Twitter)


Once Upon A Time… Far, Far Away

On a dark cold night, or a warm summer afternoon; in a cracked voice and through wrinkled lips, she would tell us stories. Stories that would transport us to another realm; where the kings and knights would come alive with valor, vigor and passion. The bunch of us huddled at her feet would stare in amazement as rays of light streaming through the silvers of her hair and she would wail like the queen in distress or croon like the lusty lover. One moment, she was the valiant hero, another she was the galloping horse, within the batting of an eyelid she was the wicked witch and she was also the rustling leaves and the sand beneath the cow’s hooves… That was Grandma and her wonderful tales about heroic deeds.

I am sure that all of us from my time and before have regaled in the luxury of awesome story telling sessions. If not every night, every summer holiday for sure! Eight in every ten stories told came from our ancient epics- if not the Ramayana and Mahabharata; it was from the Panchatantra and Jataka for sure. The joy of listening to the talking jackals and crows; the lofty morals so simply told; the thrilling stories spun around our day to day lives! Inspired by these lively sessions and the one-off puppet shows, we would pick up the highly illustrated Panchatantra or Aesop’s Fables and read.

Just around the corner… Right now

There is dim lighting in a heavily curtained room- day and night passing on without being perceived. The monotonous whine of the air conditioning goes unnoticed as the 32 inch wide screen LCD Tv comes alive. At the center of all the action are: slim and sexy women with green shields and blonde hair; toned and muscular men with hi-tech gadgets as wrist bands and cars that make one drool. Smart, sharp super heroes now fight high tech villains. With sub woofers and surround sound, the fight seems real. The crisp sound of the click of a button, the sharp lightening ray attack, the quick responsive defense, deflecting the fatal rays of light- all of this happening atop a plush sky scrapper along the horizon of a fast growing city.

The tale is the same, of good triumphing over evil. Only, told differently… the voice that reaches us is the digitized drone via the Television- sometimes heavily accented, some other times, plain boring. The poor imitation of the horses gallop is replaced by a crisp, clear sound of bikes staring up and that’s no mean achievement! But forgive me; the digital signals don’t always carry with them the depth of emotion and the toothless grin of the story teller. That besides, the talking jackals and smiling flowers are replaced by - the new idols some Shin Chan or Ben 10 or something like that…

The books are laid to rest where they would gather lots of dust and the advent of accessories and toys and of course 2 BHK apartments, replaced the joys of climbing up trees and running and catching. The lofty ideals lay buried and are sometimes skimmed at the surface, but hardly ever probed.

Essentially, the art of storytelling died a premature and stifled death. With it went a huge chunk of culture, tradition and every child’s individual and unique fairyland that stemmed out of their vivid imagination. I’ve always loved to listen to stories… and when Grandma would tell them, she would showcase the soul of the story- go way beyond the words. Spring the story to life- just the way that classical dancers do!

It pains me when I see that children of today, in a world so full of opportunities and talents, are bereft of something as simple as a story telling session. Many years down the line when they design their own houses or gardens or clothes, it simply wouldn’t stand out as different... after all we’ve captured their imagination in a color photograph or a 3-D animation movie… we clipped their flight of creativity even before the wings sprouted. We never even gave them a chance to build their own unique house/ palace/ dinner set/ menu card!

It is time we encouraged ourselves to think beyond the glamorous visuals shown on Tv; thought out-of-the-box; started flipping as many pages as we would channels; played the games in real life rather than a simulation experience in 3-D… In short, it’s high time we added life to our living, adventure to our lives and then sit back on a lazy Sunday afternoon and tell the story so well, that every one of the listeners would live the story, enjoy it, be part of the story and create an image so unique and precious that it could be dipped and gold and stored for posterity…

Image Source : h.koppdelaney

Choosing an Open License via @p2pu

The good folks over at Peer 2 Peer University, where learning is for everyone, by everyone and about almost anything, have put together a fantastic document that catalogs their decision making process and provides a map, of sorts, to choosing from amongst the myriad choices of open licenses that exist. To quote:

With this in mind, we undertook a lengthy, eye-opening, passionate and fascinating (and deeply modest) process to try and choose the right kind of open licence us – to be applied to (almost) all P2PU materials. The result was a decision that was taken by as many members of the community as was possible at the time, with advice from some pretty experienced and wise experts. In the end, we chose a Creative Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence. (For content that is entirely funded by a third party we are happy to go with CC BY 3.0 as well.)
As we went through the process, we also realised that our experiences may be useful for other people who are undergoing a similar exercises. So we decided to document what we did, and why, and how it turned out. And today, we are proud to announce the publication of our Guide to Choosing an Open Licence (with a CC licence, of course!) In this document, you’ll find details of every step we took to choose our licence, and a range of opinions from several open educators, lawyers and practitioners which we found invaluable.

If choosing a license is something that you are currently engaged in or might engage in, I strongly recommend you read this file and, ideally, follow a similar exercise withing your organization.

Jane, over at the Creative Commons blog, says:
The P2PU experience is only one of many, and it is not necessarily the process or the license that everyone should choose. It is simply one example of a process that worked for a diverse community of people with various viewpoints. ... The document is thorough, objective, helpful, and not very long–so make sure to check it out, especially if you’re wondering how to go about choosing a CC license for your own project. 
On Twitter, the P2PU folks are @sharingnicely @houshuang and @p2pu

An Interview with Roopa Pai

The Literary Sojourn interviews Roopa Pai, the authors of our popular Eureka series (also known as the 'Sister, sister' series and the 'Science series').
Roopa Pai needs no introduction as she is a well known name in Indian kidlit world. She first impressed me with her wonderful imagination in Sister, Sister (Eureka series, by Pratham) books (reviewed here) and then with the Taranauts books.

You mentioned in one of your previous interviews that you wanted to be a writer from a very young age, how has been this journey so far?

Yes, I think I've always wanted to be a writer. I know it isn't common for kids to know what they want to be so clearly, but I knew writing would be one of the things I would definitely be doing later in life, from the time I was eight or ten.
However, I did not major in English Literature as would have been expected for someone with such clarity. I actually have an engineering degree. But the moment I got my degree, I was fortunate enough to land my dream job - a sub editor with Target, the legendary children's magazine. And after that, there was no looking back. And it's been a fabulous journey.
I have taken breaks from writing, though - gone away and done other things for a bit and enjoyed them immensely too, but every time I come back and start writing again, it's so satisfying, so fulfilling, that I wonder why I ever went away.

What inspires/excites you? Any role models? Which books fascinate you the most?

Well-told stories inspire me. And I think I have always been more inspired by the stories than by the authors or by the style of writing. I guess I have my non-literature background to thank for that - maybe if I had formally studied literature, I would appreciate the craft of writing more, and would (over)analyse authors' writing styles, and the story would become (in a sense) incidental to the analysis. As it stands now, it is engaging stories - any genre, any style - that make me think and feel things that are my best inspirations.

Books that are sensitively written fascinate me. Also books that are intelligent. If they can be both together, those are the best kinds of books for me. The genre does not really matter - but my personal favourites are (1) crime fiction (especially ones where the detectives are fallible, human, and have the souls of poets beneath the hard-baked exterior (male) or feisty, bullheaded, tough-talking, and total softies on the inside (female) and (2) children's and young adult fiction (here sensitivity would score over intelligence). In short, books that stay with me long after I've read them, and whose mere mention has the power to reawaken all the warm feelings I felt when I first read them, would figure on my all-time favourites.

Do you think there are enough publishers of children's books in Indian market or should we have more to bring more variety and healthy competition?

The Indian children's publishing market is booming right now, and the next couple of years should see a flood of new writing for children coming out. There are seriously fun times ahead for both children and writers of children's books - get set for the ride!
Read the entire interview to find out about Roopa's views on good story plots, writing children's books, writing her new Taranauts series, teaching history and more.

You can also read the reviews of Roopa's 'Sister, sister' series here and here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Mongoliad : An Experiment in Storytelling


Via Subutai (Via Boing Boing)

The Mongoliad is a sort of serialized story, created by Neal Stephenson, and written by Neal, Greg Bear, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo, and a number of other great authors. It will be told via custom apps on iPad, iPhone, Kindle, and Android, and will be something of an experiment in post-book publishing and storytelling.
From The Mongoliad's Facebook page
The Mongoliad is a rip-roaring adventure tale set 1241, a pivotal year in history, when Europe thought that the Mongol Horde was about to completely destroy their world. The Mongoliad is also the beginning of an experiment in storytelling, technology, and community-driven creativity.

Our story begins with a serial novel of sorts, which we will release over the course of about a year. Neal Stephenson created the world in which The Mongoliad is set, and presides benevolently over it. Our first set of stories is being written by Neal, Greg Bear, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo, and a number of other authors; we're also working closely with artists, fight choreographers & other martial artists, programmers, film-makers, game designers, and a bunch of other folks to produce an ongoing stream of nontextual, para-narrative, and extra-narrative stuff which we think brings the story to life in ways that are pleasingly unique, and which can't be done in any single medium.

Very shortly, once The Mongoliad has developed some mass and momentum, we will be asking fans to join us in creating the rest of the world and telling new stories in it. That’s where the real experiment part comes in. We are building some pretty cool tech to make that easy and fun, and we hope lots of you will use it.
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Bookshelf Appreciation Time


This bookshelf from Saba Italia is gorgeous. View more pictures here.

Creative Writing Workshop for Teenagers

Soulpen: The adventure of writing.

Are you in the trance-like age, between twelve and twenty? Soulpen is getting younger in the last weekend of May.

Youngsters are naturally creative, enthusiastic, and full of ideas. Youth is an intense experience, where the gushing of dreams and angst has that rare quality: freshness. Very often, this freshness is unappreciated and unacknowledged. All you need is someone who will willingly listen. Someone who can streamline your thoughts towards an expression of art.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
- Khalil Gibran, on Children


Anyone can write. If you like to talk, you can surely write. And if you are shy, you will probably write very well.

Writing can be a wonderful tool to understand yourself, to reflect an inner you that is nearer to your real self than you are willing to voice. The paper does not judge, the pen does not interfere.

Come, find your own voice. Sign up for Soulpen.

Contact: Kavita at 080 – 26678890, Mobile – 97417 11225. or Manjushree at 9945192862 or mail manjushree.abhinav@gmail.com

Schedule:
29th May: 2.00 pm to 6.30 pm
30th May: 10. 30 am to 2.00 pm

Venue:
‘Hippocampus centre’, Ranga Rao road, Shankarpuram, Basavangudi,.
Bangalore

Fees: Rs. 1200/-
Read more about this event here.

A World Tour of Children’s Bookshops


We Heart Books is hosting a world tour of children's bookshops on their blog.

Here’s your chance to help compile a list of the best children’s bookshops in the world. Nominate your favourite children’s bookshops anywhere in the world… and spread the word if you know others who might like to have a say too…

How to take part…
In the comments of this post, nominate a bookshop to be included on the itinerary of a world tour of the most amazing children’s bookshops. Include the address and website, and a short description or review of it – your reasons for the nomination. If you know of a good child-friendly cafe or restaurant nearby, feel free to mention that too, and we’ll include it on the itinerary, all this travelling is going to be hungry work…

Guidelines…
Any nominations taken, but we’ll lean towards specialist children’s bookshops, rather than generalist stores. It needs to be worth going out of your way for. Children’s bookshops attached to museums are OK too, as long as they stock a wide range of children’s books and fulfill the above. You don’t need to have actually been to the shop either (I haven’t been to any of the ones below…)

To chart the book tour, I’ve started a Google My Maps – pop over and take a look. I’ll be adding to it as we receive nominations and when we’ve finished we’ll have a Google Map charting an itinerary for a tour of the Greatest Children’s Bookshops in the world!

Visit their blog for more details and submit your bookstore recommendations.

One of the book stores we've featured on our blog has also been featured on this list : Read about Kid's Republic in China.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Adventures of Tintin : Now in Hindi

Via Tehelka

ACE-REPORTER TINTIN and his faithful furry companion Snowy are on their way to India this June. No, they will not be embarking on an adventure with old Indian friend — the ‘snowman of the Himalayas’ (from Tintin in Tibet) — or solving mysteries deep in the Sunderbans. Instead, they will travel all over the country conversing in fluent Hindi, converting those still immune to Belgian artist Hergé’s iconic comic into die-hard Tintin fans — from Bihar to Uttar Pradesh.

Tintin fanatic and Om Books International CEO Ajay Mago was vexed by the isolation of Hindi-speaking readers from Tintin’s adventures when he first approached the Franco-Belgian Casterman Publishers in 2005 for the rights to translate his favourite comic into Hindi. “I couldn't imagine anyone who wouldn’t love Tintin once they read the books. There’s something in them for everyone. I thought it was tragic that only our elite English-speaking population should have access to these amazing stories.”

While Casterman was enthusiastic — Tintin has already been translated into 58 languages from around the world, including Bengali — they were equally hard to please when it came to the actual translation. After a painfully long period of negotiating back and forth, Mago and a team of translators worked on several drafts over six to eight months before Casterman’s panel of five experts (including an Indian ambassador) approved their manuscript. “It was difficult. We had to retain the dry humour and catch-phrases, which are the best parts of the stories for me — but are also often culturally contextual and hard to translate,” Mago admits.

An additional difficulty was Casterman’s insistence that Om Books’ translators work with the original French editions of Tintin rather than the English versions of the stories to really ‘get’ the character. To appeal to Hindi readers, some character names had to undergo desi-fication. Tintin’s resourceful terrier will be known as ‘Natkhat’, while bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson will don the titles of the evergreen Indian idiots — Santu and Bantu. Captain Haddock’s colourful swearing retains its alliterative charm, as ‘millions and millions of squirming black turtles’ becomes ‘karodo karod kasamasate kale kachhue’ and ‘ten thousand thundering typhoons’ translates as ‘dus hazaar tadtadate toofan’.
Read the entire article here. You can purchase the books from here.

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Kumari Loves a Monster: Sneak Preview


Muhahahahahaha... Loving the sneak preview of the book 'Kumari Loves a Monster' by Blaft Publications.

A romantic picture book of sweet South Indian girls who are in love with horrible gruesome monsters.
View more images here.

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Our First iPad Applications


La la la la.... Guess who has an iPad application? We...we...we!! Yes, now you can read/listen to our books on an iPad too. Awesome, isn't it? And it is all because of the wonderful folks at Fliplog (Thank you Brij and Rashmi). We are also so happy that someone is able to use our Creative Commons licensed content and do stuff with it that we on our own couldn't possibly do.

Via Fliplog

Fliplog is an eBook publishing toolkit. iPad, iPhone and the new generation of smartphones are changing our reading habits. Amazing reading experience along with instant access to a large pool of book titles has made eBooks one of the fastest growing category in the Apple App Store. These emerging platforms allow book publishers and independent authors to engage with readers in an entirely new way.

Fliplog is an ongoing effort to create high quality eBook reader. We have the expertise to convert your idea into an eBook app. We know how to navigate the world of eBook development, content re-purposing, storyboard design and App Store submission.

Using our feature rich eBook reader framework, low cost implementation model, skilled and passionate work force, we are able to provide high quality service at an affordable price.

How do our books come into the picture?

Indian kids get exposed to multiple languages. Increasingly, as part of the global diaspora, their skill levels dramatically vary across different languages. Many children can speak Hindi but cannot read Hindi scripts. Chand Ka Tohfa, an ebook based on the book published by Pratham Books, is an attempt to creatively use technology in increasing regional language exposure along with entertainment.

You can listen to the page by page audio, or read it to your child yourself by pressing mute icon any time during the story session.

Chand ka Tofah and Annual Haircut Day are the two books which are currently available.

One of their customers says :

It is so great to see a Hindi book for iPad. I am looking forwards to more from you guys. Maybe ones with ka, kha ga and more for preschoolers to help them get started with the language. Keep it up ! - SSKVK

So, if you've got an iPad or an iPhone, we hope you can check out these amazing apps developed by Fliplog and give us and them your feedback on these books.

We also got to see and listen to our books on the brand new iPad Brij brought to our office. Icing on the cake :)

Learn more about Fliplog, join them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Events : Book Launches, Films and Plays

1. Following Fish : Books Launch (Bangalore and Chennai)


Via Penguin Books India
In a coastline as long and diverse as India’s, fish inhabit the heart of many worlds — food of course, but also culture, commerce, sport, history and society. Journeying along the edge of the peninsula, Samanth Subramanian reports upon a kaleidoscope of extraordinary stories.

In nine essays, Following Fish conducts rich journalistic investigations: among others, of the famed fish treatment for asthmatics in Hyderabad; of the preparation and the process of eating West Bengal’s prized hilsa; of the ancient art of building fishing boats in Gujarat; of the fiery cuisine and the singular spirit of Kerala’s toddy shops; of the food and the lives of Mumbai’s first peoples; of the history of an old Catholic fishing community in Tamil Nadu; of the hunt for the world’s fastest fish near Goa.

Throughout his travels, Subramanian observes the cosmopolitanism and diverse influences absorbed by India’s coastal societies, the withdrawing of traditional fishermen from their craft, the corresponding growth of fishing as pure and voluminous commerce, and the degradation of waters and beaches from over-fishing.

Pulsating with pleasure, adventure and discovery, and tempered by nostalgia and loss, Following Fish speaks as eloquently to the armchair traveler as to lovers of the sea and its lore.
Penguin Books India and Crossword cordially invite you to the launch of 'Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast' by Samanth Subramanian.
  • on Thursday 27th May 2010, 6:30-8:30 pm, at the Crossword Bookstore, Ground Floor, ACR Towers, 32 Residency Road, Bengaluru. Arul Mani and Arundhati Ghosh will be in conversation with the author. (Link)
  • on Friday 28th May 2010, 6:30-8:30pm at Landmark, Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam, Chennai. Dr Navin Jaykumar will be in conversation with the author. (Link)
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2. Chutkan ki Mahabharat (via People in Education)

Directed by Sankalp Meshram
(87 Minutes - Hindi)

A nautanki team (a Musical folk theatre) sets up camp in a village and the whole village is abuzz with excitement. Ten-year-old Chutkan, after watching the nautanki, dreams of the evil Shakuni Mama and Duryodhan confessing to their villainy and relinquishing all claims to the kingdom. Find out what happens as the nautanki artistes start behaving exactly as Chutkan had dreamt.

Sankalp Meshram is a law graduate and has a Diploma in Film Editing from the Film & TV Institute, Pune. He has won the National Award for "Best Editing" in the non-feature film category in 2001. He has also directed over 60 episodes of TV shows and a crime thriller. "Chutkan Ki Mahabharat" is his debut film as a feature Film Director.

Venue: Prithvi House, Opp Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road, Mumbai – 49
Monday 31st May / 7 pm Onwards
Admission Free: On A First-Come-First-Seated Basis

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3. The Mighty Mirembayanna & the Prisoners of Peace (via Qtp India - via People in Education)

Thespo presents it's first ever production for children:
The Mighty Mirembayanna & the Prisoners of Peace
7 children on a mission to save the future!

It is 2122 in the land of Bragi. The world has been torn apart and devastated by wars and incessant fighting. The only thing keeping the Bragidians safe from the violence is the Mighty Mirembayanna tree in the garden of the Old School which is run by the head mistress Mrs. M'am. The students in the school live on campus and follow the Peace Laws which came into effect in 2040. And it is their disciplined behaviour which keeps the tree alive.

The peace is fragile. The tree has not been thriving or flowering. Peace Private Limited have discovered a way to clone the Mirembayanna (with limited life span) and they plan to commercially sell 'the peace tree' in super markets where only the rich will be able to afford it. In order to undertake mass production, the corporation seeks to uproot the Mighty Mirembayanna and take it to their laboratories.

It is now upto the children of the school to save the Mighty Mirembayanna, maintain peace in Bragi and keep war at bay. Will they find a way to save their tree? Or is it already too late?

Show Details:
June 1 - 7pm
June 2 - 4 & 7pm
Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai
Tickets: Rs.80 Only!
More details here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cory Doctorow on Why He Publishes His Books Free Online

Via guardian.co.uk

Politically engaged and disarmingly geeky, Cory Doctorow is one of the better-known faces of the digital revolution: co-editor of the celebrated blog Boing Boing ("a directory of wonderful things"), he is also author of half-a-dozen science fiction novels and a journalist.

You've released For the Win using a Creative Commons licence, giving it away for free. Why?


I give away all of my books. [The publisher] Tim O'Reilly once said that the problem for artists isn't piracy – it's obscurity. I think that's true. A lot of people have commented: "You can't eat page views, so how does being well-known help you earn a living as a writer?" It's true; however, it's very hard to monetise fame, but impossible to monetise obscurity. It doesn't really matter how great your work is; if no one's ever heard of it, you'll never make any money from it. That's not to say that if everyone's heard of it, you'll make a fortune, but it is a necessary precursor that your work be well-known to earn you a living. As far as I can tell, these themes apply very widely, across all media.

As a practical matter, we live in the 21st century and anything anybody wants to copy they will be able to copy. If you are building a business model that says that people can only copy things with your permission, your business is going to fail because whether or not you like it, people will be able to copy your product without your permission. The question is: what are you going to do about that? Are you going call them thieves or are you going to find a way to make money from them?

The only people who really think that it's plausible to reduce copying in the future seem to be the analogue economy, the people who built their business on the idea that copying only happens occasionally and usually involves a giant machine and some lawyers. People who are actually doing digital things have the intuitive knowledge that there's no way you're going to stop people from copying and they've made peace with it.

Read more here.

Writing War Away : Workshop

Via Seagull (Via People in Education)

Peaceworks presents a Workshop with Anna De Vaul. Anna has lived and traveled extensively in Vietnam. At the workshop, she will share her experiences of living with the Other, understanding conflict and looking at an event like the Vietnam War from different perspectives. She will use photographs taken in Vietnam to show what war can do to a beautiful place. Anna has taught creative writing for a long time in USA and she has worked with undergraduates, pensioners, and adult writers as well. Her stories, microfiction, poetry, and articles have appeared in various journals and anthologies in the USA and abroad. She will talk to the participants about conflict writing and its conventions. The participants can also bring in their own understanding of conflict and write about what is closest to their hearts.

Anna holds an MA in the Teaching and Practice of Creative Writing (with Distinction) from Cardiff University and is currently doing a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Venue: Seagull Arts and Media Resource Centre, 36 C, S.P. Mukherjee Road, Kolkata- 700 025. [Rup Chand Mukherjee lane, Between Bharati and Bijali Cinema, next to Bhawanipore Police station]

The Season of Indian Crime Fiction

Via livemint.com (via @blaftness)

If there are seasons for crime fiction, then the current one is hotter than Vindaloo.

To begin at the beginning, several promising debut crime novels have appeared, such as Piggies on the Railway by Smita Jain, which is the first in a tongue-in-cheek chick-lit crime series about Mumbai detective Kasthuri Kumar. In this book, she is hired to solve a mystery in the Bollywood film industry, a world that smells alternatively of Chanel 5 and evil muck. Another funny debut title is Manisha Lakhe’s farcical The Betelnut Killers about how an NRI shopkeeper in Oregon tries to import a contract killer from Mumbai to take care of the competition, which results in a big-big mess.

From the king of Hindi pulp crime fiction, Surender Mohan Pathak, comes Daylight Robbery, with an attractive cover by the legendary Shelle Studio, translated into crisp, hard-boiled English by Sudarshan Purohit. In Hindi, Pathak’s approximately 300 books have sold many-many millions of copies (or so I’ve heard), and for over three decades the Vimal series has taken Hindi readers on a virtual Bharat Darshan a la noir from Amritsar to Delhi, Jaipur to Agra and even as far south as Mumbai and Chennai.

To top it all off, we get Sherlock Holmes visiting India in Holmes of the Raj, a book that used to be hard to find in bookshops but has now been reissued by Random House. It’s a tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle, who alluded to Sherlock’s adventures in the subcontinent but never wrote about them. Vithal Rajan’s entertaining reconstruction of those Indian cases brings Holmes and Doctor Watson to Puducherry, Hyderabad, Nainital, Kolkata and elsewhere. They meet pretty much the who’s who of colonial days—from Madame Blavatsky and Rudyard Kipling to Swami Vivekananda, Motilal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. Which makes this book one of the obvious must-haves of this year.
Read the entire article here.

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Earthcare Books

Earthcare Books is a Kolkata based publisher and distributor of books on environmental issues and just and sustainable development.

Via Earthcare Books
We believe that an understanding of our problems and their roots must be supplemented with a vision of what needs to be done or is being done.

The areas we emphasise are:
Care of Natural Resources (soil, water, forests, biodiversity),
Ecological Agriculture and Traditional Systems,
Indigenous and other Appropriate Technologies,
Non-Formal Education,
Natural Health,
Alternative Lifestyles, Cultures & World Views

We welcome feedback from readers who are involved in, or are aware of similar individual or group initiatives exploring saner alternatives, whether related to natural regeneration, aforestation, organic farming, non-formal learning, natural health and indigenous technologies. We would be happy to include publications on such initiatives in our catalogue. Please keep us informed and preferably send us a sample copy of each title you would like mentioned in the catalogue.

Visit their website

Also found the book 'The Green Sprout Journey' on their website. The book explores home based ecological activities with children.
‘The Green Sprout Journey’ is the story of a mother trying to stimulate environmental awareness in her two children. Satoko Chatterjee launched on this journey and pleasantly discovered that when she initiated ecological activities within the space of her home, her children came up with their own ideas on how one could go about doing them. Some were very rewarding, and some less so. All in all, the children received a great foundation to become ecologically conscious citizens, so vitally needed in our times. The book outlines in detail the various activities Satoko and her children immersed themselves in: composting and organic gardening; clay jewellery and other eco-crafts; book-making, soap making, homemade solar cooker, etc.; and occasional ‘discovery’ trips in their locality. This is a useful resource book for anyone desiring to initiate meaningful ecological activities within the home, or at the school level. While it offers interesting ideas and information for parents and teachers who want to make environmental education an important part of the upbringing of children, the book can also be independently read and enjoyed.
And we know that many of the people who visit our blog are going to absolutely love the books in their 'Vision of Education and Non-Formal Education' category.

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Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age

Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Culture in the Remix Age from Brendan Schlagel on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

World Turtle Day Book Download


On World Turtle Day May 23, Pratham Books invites you to download our ever popular book 'Turtle Story' and read about this endearing animal. Download the story in English, Hindi, Kannada or Marathi.

Sea turtles: Global Ambassadors of Conservation




(Today is World Turtle Day and we are posting a series of posts related to turtles on our blog today. Learn about turtles, download our book 'Turtle Story', learn about organisations working in the field of turtle conservation and learn how we can help the conservation effort.There are seven known species of turtles in this world’s oceans and all are listed as either endangered or threatened.)


Kartik Shanker is faculty at Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and at Dakshin Foundation, Bangalore. He served as the President of the International Sea Turtle Society during 2009-10 and organised its annual symposium in Goa in April this year.He is also the author of 'TURTLE STORY' published by Pratham Books. He helped initiate the Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network, in the late 1980s in Chennai, when he saw his first sea turtle.

Thank you, Kartik, for your post below about sea turtles, the global ambassadors of conservation.

"If you happen to be on a sandy beach at night, any sandy beach in a warm enough part of the world, at the right time of the year, you might encounter an ancient reptile engrossed in a ritual it has repeated for millions of years. Enigmatic and mysterious, these marine turtles spend all their life at sea and only emerge on land to lay their eggs and disappear again. During the nesting season, they crawl ashore and lay more than a hundred eggs, digging a small two to three feet deep nest in the sand, and return to the sea. After nesting a few times, they will swim thousands of kilometres away to feeding grounds where they will stay till it is time to nest again. The eggs incubate by themselves under the sand for several weeks and after about two months, begin to hatch. The hatchlings crowd under the sand and then emerge together as a mass and make a mad dash to the sea under the cover of darkness, finding it by the reflection of starlight and moonlight on water. The little turtles, barely the size of a human palm, then spend a decade or longer floating on currents accross ocean basins, till they become juveniles or adults, and return to the same nesting beaches to nest again.

One December night in 1988, I crouched on a beach in Chennai, watching an olive ridley crawl labouriously up beach and painstakingly dig her nest with her hind flippers. Ten years later, I stood stunned on a beach in Orissa while tens of thousands of olive ridleys did the same, during a mass nesting or 'arribada'. That year, we counted more than 100,000 olive ridley turtles over four days. They are the smallest of sea turtles along with Kemps ridleys, found only in Mexico. Today, Kemps ridleys may be threatened by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sea turtles today are threatened by a variety of direct and indirect threats. They are killed as bycatch in mechanised fishing, their nesting habitats are destroyed by coastal development, their eggs are taken by feral animals and humans, and climate change looms large over their future. At the same time, many groups in India and across the world are working towards their conservation. The 30th Annual Symposium for Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation was held recently in Goa in India, bringing together over 500 people from across the world. In India, the Turtle Action Group (TAG) is a network of non governmental organisations from across the country who come together to work towards sea turtle conservation. This includes groups from every coastal state in the country.

Sea turtles are global ambassadors of conservation. The theme of this year's symposium was the 'world of turtles'. The world includes the many ecosystems and habitats, the sandy beaches, the seagrass meadows, the coral reefs and open seas. The fishing communities, the many cultures, and the incredible diversity of peoples and activities along the coasts of the world. Sea turtles undertake extraordinary oceanic journeys as hatchlings, survive all kinds of odds and return to their natal beaches to nest as adults. In order to save sea turtles, we must save all these habitats across national boundaries, and ensure the welfare of the many coastal resource dependent communities. Sea turtles are thus the most charismatic flagships for coastal and marine biodiversity.

In a world of growing threat from human activities, they need the concerted effort of all people – students, scientists, local communities, government, NGOS, corporations – to save them and their habitats."

Thanks, Kartik, and we hope more children get to see their first sea turtle soon too!

Conservation : Turtles and Us

(Today is World Turtle Day and we are posting a series of posts related to turtles on our blog today. Learn about turtles, download our book 'Turtle Story', learn about organisations working in the field of turtle conservation and learn how we can help the conservation effort.There are seven known species of turtles in this world’s oceans and all are listed as either endangered or threatened.)


Watch a short story about a sea turtle's life in a coral reef affected by pollution.


An observation made on the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network can make kids think about how our actions could be harming turtles.
Another unusual occurrence this season was the relentless attack by a species of predatory red ants. Possibly due to the large quantities of garbage on the beach, some of which is buried in the sand, these ants breed under the surface and attack the hatchlings as they emerge from their eggs. SSTCN volunteers kept monitoring round the clock, and after some experimenting with different materials, discovered that neem cake helped repel these ants to some extent. The problem was thus largely brought under control, quite early in the season.
Our book 'Turtle Story' includes a message about Olive Ridley's and how one can protect sea turtles. Please click on the image below for a larger view.


Via World Turtle Trust
Threats currently facing sea turtles include:

* destruction of coral reef
* loss of nesting beaches through human development activities
* pollution of the oceans by chemicals and garbage
* harvesting of turtles for their shells, leather, and meat
* poaching of turtle eggs
* death in driftnets, gillnets, shrimp trawling nets, and other fishing gear
* a mysterious and fatal disease called fibropapilloma, whose cause and cure are still unknown, and which is at epidemic levels in parts of Hawaii and Florida, and other areas of the world.

Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network

(Today is World Turtle Day and we are posting a series of posts related to turtles on our blog today. Learn about turtles, download our book 'Turtle Story', learn about organisations working in the field of turtle conservation and learn how we can help the conservation effort.There are seven known species of turtles in this world’s oceans and all are listed as either endangered or threatened.)

Via sstcn

The Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network [SSTCN] is a voluntary group, mainly comprising of students who have been working in the beaches of Chennai since 1987, trying to conserve and create awareness about the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle [Lepidochelys Olivacea].

The Olive Ridley turtles nest on our beaches at night, between December and April every year. During this season we walk the beaches every night looking for their eggs which we collect and relocate to a safe place. When the turtle hatchlings emerge 45 days later, we release them safely into the sea.

On Friday nights and Saturday nights we conduct a walk for interested people. We use this opportunity to interact with them, and create awareness about the plight of an endangered species and the state of the environment. From January to March end, our work mainly comprises of walking on the beach looking for turtle eggs and we often encounter nesting turtles. It is a beautiful experience to watch them lay eggs, as it is an age old process which they have been doing for 180 million years!!!

Read more about the Olive Ridley turtles here. The SSCTN blog also has a blog post on the highlights of the 2009 Turtle Season. Learn more about the Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network here.

Image Source: Pandiyan

LifeCycle of a Turtle

(Today is World Turtle Day and we are posting a series of posts related to turtles on our blog today. Learn about turtles, download our book 'Turtle Story', learn about organisations working in the field of turtle conservation and learn how we can help the conservation effort.There are seven known species of turtles in this world’s oceans and all are listed as either endangered or threatened.)

To celebrate World Turtle Day, we are offering a free download of our book Turtle Story. This interactive diagram is a great tool to teach your kids about the lifecycle of a turtle.

(Note: Click on the image above to learn about the lifecycle of a turtle)

Journey of the Sea Turtle

(Today is World Turtle Day and we are posting a series of posts related to turtles on our blog today. Learn about turtles, download our book 'Turtle Story', learn about organisations working in the field of turtle conservation and learn how we can help the conservation effort.There are seven known species of turtles in this world’s oceans and all are listed as either endangered or threatened.)

This beautiful sand animation tracks the journey of a sea turtle from her birth on a beach to her return to the same beach to lay her eggs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vodafone Crossword Book Award

Tra la la la....Six of our books have been listed for this year's Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2009 for Children. The Vodafone Crossword Book Award recognises and rewards the best of Indian writing and ensures that works of merit reach a wider audience.

Our books that made it to this list are as follows:
1. Samira's Awful Lunch (author : Bharati Jagannathan, illustrator : Preeti Krishnamurthy):
Samira doesn’t like the lunch her mother has packed in her tiffin box. All her animal friends feel bad for her and offer her their lunch ! Read all about Samira’s lunch time adventure

2. Grandfather Goes On Strike (author : K. S. Nagarajan, illustrator : Neeta Gangopadhya):
Most Grandfathers are content to lie back in an armchair and lazily read the day’s newspaper. Not our tree loving senior citizen. He goes on strike for his beloved trees and a series of hilarious events liven up this entertaining tale. Read it to find out who saves the day and who saves the trees!

3. Phani's Funny Chappals (author : Sridala Swami, illustrator : Sanjay Sarkar):
Ready this funny story about Phani’s Funny Chappals!

4. Asian Splendour (author : Hema Pande, illustrator : Dipto Narayan Chatterjee):
From the high, grassy plains of Tibet to the blue depths of the Filipino seas, folktales from Asia span geographical and cultural diversity. Each tale carries an authentic whiff of its land and yet effectively showcases the universality of human emotions. This is a rich and moveable feast for our advanced readers.

5. Cauvery (author : Oriole Henry, photographs: Clare Arni)
Take a journey down the river Cauvery, from high up in the mountains where it is born, down past islands covered with birds. The river twists and turns around where battles were fought and spooky curses cast. Discover thundering waterfalls, scary boat rides and much, much more about this magnificent river.

6. Yakity Yak (author : Benita Sen, illustrations : Baaraan Ijlal):
What do you call a Yak who talks too much? Yakity Yak of course! Read this charming tale about Yakity and his friends.
View the entire list to see the other books that have been listed. You can visit our website to purchase our books. The websites of the other publishers are : Katha, Scholastic India, Penguin Books India, Hachette India, Tulika Publishers, Young Zubaan, Random House, Om Books, DC Books and Karadi Tales.