Friday, May 27, 2011

Our Books are now Available on Memetales

Our friends at Mememtales have created a new set of apps...and our books are also available! We met Maya Bisineer (the founder of Memetales) on twitter about 2 years ago. When Maya told us that she would like to use our CC-licensed books to create apps for Memetales, we were happy to send her the books and have them converted into yet another format.

Via Memetales
... Memetales evolved into a publishing platform for publishers along with a super compelling gamified e-book reader for kids. Today, the mission of Memetales is always innovate to get the best children’s stories to children in the most engaging and innovative ways, while making it viable and profitable for the creative individuals who create the stories.

About the app
A variety of children's stories and picture books (with audio) - with something for every child at every reading stage! Keep kids excited and motivated with points and stickers.

For our first release, we have partnered with diverse publishers and author/illustrators to bring you a wide selection of stories.

Basic books, books for first time readers and longer classic tales as well. Books can be read with audio playback (autoplay) or without it.We even have one Spanish story!

* 20 Free books when you register
* Read with audio or without
* Kids get points every time they read a book.
* Kids earn stickers for reading more and more.
* Kids unlock a book related game when they read a book (games included with 5 books)
* Parents are informed of the stickers that the kids earn via e-mail. A great way to be involved in your child's reading journey!
Click here for more information and to download the app . So, if you've got an iPad or an iPhone, we hope you can check out this amazing app developed by Memetales and give us and them your feedback on these books.

Learn more about Memetales, follow their blog and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Lost Stories : Stories from our Disappearing Mountain Forests

Via Goobe's Book Republic

A reading of stories based on the forest shaman and with gems of little known aspects of the various beliefs and practices of tribal communities and the use of the energy of the earth. The stories are based on some of the disappearing myths and legends of the various tribal communities around the eastern himalayan region, mainly from the kiranti community which is one of the oldest groups of communities living in the region.

The book 'The lost stories', will be up for sale and display at Goobe's Book Republic on Church Street. The book is intended to help us raise funds for Acoustic Traditional's forthcoming event 'Indigenous Storytellers Festival' in Bangalore sometime in August.

Date: 28th & 29th (Storytelling & exhibition) – 5.00 pm onwards
30th: Exhibition ( whole day)
Location: Goobes Book Republic, #11 Church Street, Sheesh Mahal Building (near KC Das), Bangalore 560001
Find more information here.

Street Writing Project

Via Neatorama

Storytellers drew inspiration from the people passing through Aotea Square in Auckland, New Zealand. The stories were projected on a large screen, where folks could see themselves woven into the stories. The stunt was a promotion for the BNZ Literary Awards.

Sangam House Writers Residency

Via Sangam House

The word sangam in Sanskrit literally means “going together.” In most Indian languages, sangam has come to mean such confluences as the flowing together of rivers and coincidence. The intention of Sangam House is to bring together writers from around the world to live and work in a safe, peaceful setting, a space made necessary on many levels by the world we now live in. Our residency programs are designed for writers who have published to some acclaim but not yet enjoyed substantial commercial success. Sangam House seeks to give writers a chance to build a substantial and influential network of personal and professional relationships that can deepen their own work, in effect, expanding and diversifying literature. We understand that literature can and must remain a thriving force of illumination for our times.

Assembling writers from various cultural backgrounds broadens the scope of each individual’s work. Exposure to regional and national trends in literature, to multiple political and economic obstacles and varied social and cultural milieus enhances each writer’s understanding of his/her work, as well as his/her own notions of identity and home. We recognize the dearth of such opportunities in South Asia and strive to encourage the work of those writing in all langauges, regional and dominant. Such a unique environment enriches the work of its participants and the texture of international literature. Our program also facilitates interaction between the visiting writers and the local communities. Cultivating such an intersection infuses the local communities with inspirations and new ideas, while allowing each participating writer to deepen his or her understanding of the diverse emotional and social climates in which literature is conceived and received.

Applications for 2012 must be received by July 31, 2011.

Dates for 2012 Sangam House Session:
January 5-March 29

How to Apply:
All applications must be submitted electronically. Instructions and forms can be found at

All notifications will be provided electronically by September 15, 2011.
Click here for more details.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bangalore's New Age Libraries

Via Citizen Matters

Think about libraries, and what comes to mind are long, dusty rows of somewhat mangled books, and grumpy librarians. But new generation libraries in Bengaluru are far different.
These libraries are not too high-brow, nor are they content with being collectors of classics or most popular reads alone. They engage with readers, consider their preferences while expanding collections, and are easily accessible with online book catalogues and door delivery options.

Suman H M, 19, second year degree student at Jyothi Nivas College, has been a member of Just Books library for the last one year. "They are convenient as I can opt for door delivery any time. But I prefer to go and collect books myself as the library is close to my home," she says. Just Books has 13 branches in Bangalore., a two-year-old library in Jayanagar 9th block, takes an even more reader-centric approach. In its website, it has an option which allows members to order a book which the library does not own. The library will buy the book and lend to the person who ordered it, within seven days.

"We wanted to give more flexibility to readers. Some 50-100 books get published every week. We buy 40-45% of books ourselves based on reviews, current reading trends and pre-determined demand," say Bhavna Desai and Dilip Kumar, Founders of
For whose those reserve books, they are made quickly available. Being online libraries, they do not have difficulty finding customers either. "There are readers from places as far as Hebbal and Yelahanka. They order books for home delivery, but drop in at the library once in a while," says Vani.

Some libraries also give spaces for socialization and ‘family time'. Shany Augustine, Founder of the library Fun n Books in Kothanur, says that mostly families come to the library together. Started in late 2010, the library has membership of 47 families now. She says that libraries can be an alternative for families to spend time together, as compared to malls.

In the case of children, activities are aimed at developing their reading habit. In fact, activities are a major focus in most exclusive children's libraries. Discover Kids, a library in HSR Layout for children aged 2-10 years, facilitates learning through puzzles and toys, in addition to reading activities.

Bangalore is good for libraries, say library owners. Young floating population in Bangalore read a variety of books; also the city has more of elite population, which read more. While technology has helped new libraries grow, growth of the publishing industry may also have contributed to growth of libraries, they say.
"In mid-2000s, bookstores like Crossword started coming up and there was more focus on books as an industry. Demand was visible and more books were published too," says Kumar of
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Pratham Books

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Mad Terminator - A Story by the Children from Grace Support Shelter

Recently we received a mail from Tulika Bathija,a research scholar at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. She told us that as part of her data collection for the thesis, she had conducted a creative writing workshop and the children she was working with created a shared writing fiction book titled 'The Mad Terminator'.

Background to the workshop

This collaborative fiction endeavor is a part of a narrative writing workshop conducted for children between age group of 7-12 years. This workshop was organized as part of my Mphil thesis which aims at studying linguistic and cognitive maturity in children's narrative writing. As part of this workshop children worked on their mechanics, punctuation, descriptive writing, dialogue writing and how to create a plot structure. The workshop sessions began with story-telling from different childrens's story books to make them aware of features of narrative writing. The workshop was aimed at creating awareness about narrative elements and make children overcome the blocks of punctuations, ideas, sentence structures and other grammatical features to create a collaborative story together.

This collaborative fiction was done in stages from character creation, naming, creating the plot, the problem, solution in the story, designing the illustrations, editing and finally creating the blurb and the cover page.

These children are from a Home school in Alwal, Hyderabad called Grace Support Shelter which looks after children from estranged families and provides free education to children helping them accommodate in the main stream schools once they are ready to leave their interim home school. I worked with 17 children for this workshop since I was looking at a restricted age group. The children need linguistic help but have shown great enthusiasm in creating this story which is completely their brain child from its inception. The kids were excited and enjoyed the experience.
If you have enjoyed reading 'The Mad Terminator' and would like to help these children publish their talent, please contact Tulika Bathija : 09573480500

The Mad Terminator : A Story by the Children from Grace Support Shelter

Ideas versus Execution: Which Side of the Equation are You on, and Why?

Gautam, Bangalore team

Gautam John talks about his work at Akshara Foundation and Pratham Books on the TED Blog.
Once an Intellectual Property lawyer that guarded knowledge, Gautam John is now dedicated to radically improving access to information. From open-source children’s books to collecting and analyzing school performance data, Gautam works to bring systemic change to India’s education system through a freer flow of information.

You have been a lawyer, an agriculturalist, an entrepreneur, and more. What first got you interested in working in education?

I was fortunate to have an absolutely brilliant education, going to some of the best schools in Bangalore. It wasn’t until I started working that I discovered my experience was far more an aberration than the norm in India.

Because I had done a lot of work previously with an agriculture-based business, where I went out to rural areas and dealt with farmers, I soon realized that education was something I’d taken for granted. The more time I spent in rural India, the more I realized how important education is. Education allows people to make a choice. It allows people to change jobs, and gives people flexibility to do different things.

I wanted to do something in the education field that was larger than one child, one school, or one cluster of individuals or institutions. I wanted to do something that was able to bring about systemic change.

How does your work with Pratham Books and Akshara Foundation help you work toward that systemic change?

Both organizations have these really large, ambitious goals. The mission statement for Pratham Books is “A book in every child’s hand.” I used to be an avid reader as a child and I know how important reading can be to a child. Akshara’s mission is “Every child in school and learning well.” Both organizations have allowed me to take on these goals using practical tools.

There are already innumerable children’s books in print in the world. Why is Pratham Books’ work publishing children’s books so important?

There are two issues there. One is that the Indian market is multilingual. We have 21 constitutionally recognized languages. There certainly aren’t a sufficient quantity of quality books being produced in these 21 languages.

The second issue is just the sheer number of books being published. For roughly 300 million children, we don’t produce many books. For every child in India, there is roughly one-twentieth of a book published. In the United Kingdom, there are six books produced for every child. So there’s a huge gap between the variety of languages of books being published in India, and the sheer number of books being published.

What’s going on behind the scenes at Pratham Books?

We’re trying to build an entirely new publishing model. The reason Pratham Books was set up was simply because there weren’t enough low-cost, high-quality children’s books in multiple Indian languages being published.

We’ve been working with interesting licensing models. We build community with technology to grow the number of titles that are distributed in the country, and to grow the quantity and variety of books produced. We also utilize it to publish in new languages, to publish in new formats and new mediums, and also to be more inclusive — that is, publishing for children who would otherwise not have an opportunity to read, like the visually impaired and blind.

The model has two components: online and offline. For the large part it’s online: we use pretty much all digital content.

We publish seed content online and use Creative Commons license. Then the online community creates the magic. It translates our books into French and Italian and Spanish and Assamese and languages that we don’t publish in. It converts it into iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle versions, and in to Braille.

We also have the offline community that acts as a sort of free agent of bridges between the online and offline community. They find places that need books and they help take this digital content and translate it into physical forms.

How does your offline community reach people who need books?

We’ve been working on some different models. We’ve been working on using post offices, trains and rural malls to see if we can use them as points of distribution. We’re starting an experiment with a cell phone provider to see how we can push content out via cell phones. As everyone keeps saying, 500-odd million people have cell phones in India, which is over 50 percent of the population.

We’re always trying new models. About a year or so ago we tried to see if we could use vending machines to sell our books at train stations and bus stations.

You were instrumental in bringing about an open-access business model at Pratham Books. Is it really a money-making model?

It’s surprising, right? We’ve been experimenting with this model for two years now. Our sales have actually gone up over 50 percent every year. The market is so vast. In India, giving away your content for free does not affect the largest part of your market, which is not online. The books are priced at cost or just under cost.

Even when the content is online, there is something about reading books in the printed form. Because we do it in such scale, we’re able to price it at very low costs.
Read the entire post here.

Books from 16th and 17th Centuries now in Full-Colour View on Google Books

Via Inside Google Books

To date, we’ve scanned about 150,000 books worldwide from the 16th and 17th centuries, and another 450,000 from the 18th century. With our growing list of partners, we expect to scan many hundreds of thousands more pre-1800 titles.

In digitizing books from any century, we try to create clean images with black text and color illustrations on white backgrounds. This helps enhance readability, save storage spaces and serve illustrated pages faster to readers. However, partners, researchers and other readers have frequently asked us to show the older books as they actually appear, for a couple of reasons: First, these books are interesting artifacts. They have changed their appearance over the centuries, and there is a cultural value in viewing them. Second, because of aging and bleed-through, it can be very difficult to display the images as clean text over a white background; in many cases it’s actually easier to read the text from the original (what we call "full-color") images.
Read the entire article here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Books for Low-Income Kids

Similar to how Pratham Books hopes to get 'a book in every child's hand', an organization called First Book is trying to provide books to children from lower-income families in America.

First Book, an organization that distributes brand-new children’s books, sometimes for free, sometimes at deeply discounted rates, to nonprofits around the country. A huge number of families can’t afford daily necessities, and Bornstein argues that books aren’t “luxuries, like silk scarves,” but rather an integral part of a child’s development. He concedes that simply handing books to children won’t solve the education crisis in low-income communities, but, after all, books in the hands of children can’t hurt the situation, either.

In 2008, the First Book Marketplace pulled in publishers, buying swaths of children’s books at deeply discounted rates. What the publishers lose in profits they make up for in security: “Because the organization could aggregate sales across its network, it could make bulk purchases and remove the publishers’ biggest risk: returns.” Bornstein is pretty enthusiastic about the program: “The First Book Marketplace is trying to do for publishing what micro-finance did for banking: crack open a vast potential market that is under-served at significant social cost. The organization’s goal is to democratize book access, but along the way, it may end up reinvigorating the book business.”

But then there are the broader social issues at work: placing a book, used or new, in a child’s hands is not necessarily the start of a life of reading, no matter what the cost. “Get real,” wrote one man from Chicago. “Children's books at rummage sales are often $0.10 apiece. That's where we get most of ours. I suspect that the real problem is uneducated parents simply not taking the initiative to spend the time and (minimal) money required on this. Libraries are free and ubiquitous too.” Bornstein does highlight the disparities between libraries in poorer and richer communities, but the commenter has a fair point. But for every child who doesn’t read and won’t, there’s a child who doesn’t read and would like to. Even if First Book can’t solve the systemic problems, there’s nothing wrong with getting books in the hands of the kids who will treasure them.
Read the entire article here.

Illustration Love

More reading and book-related illustrations we've come across on the web:

writer's block

"The Bookworm", 1850, by Carl Spitzweg
Source : Carl Spitzweg (via John McNab / Michael Donovan)

The Best Channels Since 1465 (04.11)

Source : Booklover

A Rainy Day with Ruskin Bond

Mayank Austen Soofi gives us a glimpse into the life of 'Mussoorie’s living landmark' - Ruskin Bond.

Ruskin Bond at His Desk

The world is, according to a saying, only the size of each man’s head. Deodar trees, misty hills, night trains, haunted spirits, leaping langurs, mountain air, unhappy women and lonely children make the world of Ruskin Bond. And for 60 years, millions of readers have shared this world.
“I’m a little more successful than I thought I would be,” he says, on reaching the six-decade milestone as a writer. Bond, 77, was first published in August 1951 when The Illustrated Weekly of India carried his short story My Calling.

The unassuming author, born to Anglo-Indian parents in Kasauli, has all he wished for: a home in the hills, a loving family which looks after him, thousands of books, pen and paper and an income from the royalties he receives from the sale of his books. Bond has published more than 80 titles, many of which are still in print. “I belong to the middle class, no, the upper-working class gentry,” he says.

Mussoorie has been his home since 1964, and Bond is the town’s greatest monument. From hotel managers and shopkeepers to cab drivers, vegetable sellers and coolies, everyone knows the way to Ivy Cottage, Bond’s home, which is as much of a tourist attraction as the hill station’s ropeway ride. Many locals also know his landline phone number (Bond doesn’t keep a cellphone). Tourists knock daily at his home. In summer, they come in such large numbers that Bond has to go underground. In all seasons, every Saturday evening (from 4-6), Bond is sighted at the Cambridge Bookstore on Mussoorie’s Mall Road, where weekend revellers from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh flock to him for photos and book signing.

“I’ve been congratulated as the author of Kipling’s The Jungle Book and occasionally mistaken for Enid Blyton,” says Bond. “I’ve also been believed to be Jim Corbett. Can’t believe that I shot so many tigers!” Once a proud parent brought his little boy to Bond’s house and requested him to autograph their copy of “his great book”, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Bond signed as Mark Twain.

“My room is like a railway compartment,” says Bond, whose early stories were set in trains. “When there is a storm, the room is like a ship in a stormy sea.” Pointing to the door, he says, “This is my computer.” On it are pasted paper scraps of publishers’ phone numbers and cuttings of book reviews. A steel trunk below the bed has some of Bond’s most treasured possessions: old issues of the Indian State Railways magazine, The Madras Mail newspaper, and the first edition of The Room on the Roof, his first novel.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : ShayarGautam

Conference on the Future of Publishing

Via publishing next

Driven by factors such as the Internet and readers’ and authors’ need for instant gratification, the publishing industry today is witnessing seismic shifts in its profile. The changing landscape, one filled with technological innovations that occur with alarming regularity and one that, in turn, fuels large expectations from readers, places an imperative on the publishers’ community to not only move with the times but even bet on the future. Almost all aspects of the publishing cycle, including the creation, development, production, distribution and marketing of books have been affected by new phenomena such as social media marketing, “enhanced” books and business process outsourcing. Publishers must scurry around to make sense of these changes without taking their foot off the pedal and risking business obsolescence.

publishing next is an attempt to understand this changing environment as also envision where the industry might be headed in the future and help those involved meet the challenges that these changes will pose.

publishing next will bring together all those associated with the publishing process and those who have influenced it, with the purpose of creating an ecosystem that will allow everyone to learn from and collaborate with each other and assimilate the best ideas that are practiced today. Such a gathering of experts, practitioners and learners will allow questions to be posed and answers to be searched so that the road ahead is not a minefield but an exciting path to tread upon.

The conference promises to be an exciting potpourri of new ideas and traditional publishing practices seen in the light of new technologies, a series of discussions that will simultaneously excite and stimulate, and, of course, a mingling of the new and the veterans of an industry that feeds on the love for books.

Dates: September 16th and 17th, 2011

Venue: Goa

Registrations: Are now open. Registration fees are Rs. 10,000/- per person.
Click here for more details.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Become Someone Else Campaign

A simple and effective print campaign for the Mint Vinetu bookstore.

When one reads books, he/she starts living it and identifies (or not) with main hero. These print ads for the Mint Vinetu bookstore, which sells lots of classics, focuses on the idea of becoming someone else. And provokes people to try on different personas.

Image Source

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Elsa Mora's Miniature Books

Stumbled across Elsa Mora's delightful miniature books. Gosh, what a treat!

Don't forget to visit Elsa's blog and see her beautiful creations.

Image Source : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Volunteers Required for Storytelling Sessions

That's How A Pumpkin Grows

Via Seagull
A tie up between PeaceWorks and Vikramshila, Women’s Interlinked Foundation and Kolkata Police project Nabadisha

October 2010 we sent out a call for volunteers, to help us implement a project that uses the age old art of Storytelling.The response has been tremendous. Homemaker, teacher, student, senior citizen, journalist, naval architect, illustrator—profiles of just some of the people who have come forward to committ their time and dedication to the project. It’s a wonderfully diverse group of people who, we believe, will bring a tremendous amount of insight to the project, not just by reading or telling stories but also bringing valuable life experiences into their work.

We have made a small beginning by launching the project in five centres: Disha Foundation, Child Care, Kalighat Police Station, Bhawanipore Police Station, Beniapukur Police Station.

We hope to gradually add many more centres. We can only take this project with your support.

If you have a passion for telling stories and have 2–4 hours to spare every week, call us today at 24556942/43 or write to
Image Source : Alberto+Cerriteño

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing in Regional Languages


After being felicitated on Friday for receiving the Tagore Literature Award for her work Badlondian Bahaaraan, Dogri writer Santosh Khajuria did not mince words in holding Dogri-speaking people responsible for what she called the “sorry state” the language has been reduced to.

“Just like those who negate their mothers once they reach the pinnacle, these people seem to feel ashamed to speak their own language,” she said, adding, “This can end up killing our traditional languages and we may lose a really rich trove of our cultural legacy in the process.”

So, is translation the only way out of this situation? Khajuria admitted wryly, “I don’t know. Maybe we should look at translations into other Indian regional languages and not English alone.”

While Brajnath Rath who got the award for Samanya Asamanya (Odia) felt translations should be encouraged as it will help writers cast their net wider, S Ramakrishnan, who won the award for Yaamam (Tamil) lamented the lack of good translators in India.

“Lack of good translators means that regional writers are constrained even if we have to get our works translated,” he said, adding, “Do you think Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism would have reached global audiences if it weren’t for the brilliant translation?”

I’ve written 23 books and get to hear nothing. One of my books was translated into English and I was amazed at getting 29 letters from readers in a week,” said Debabrata Das who picked up his first award ever for Nirbachita Galpa (Assamese).
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : LIANG Hai

Indian Comics Get an Exciting New Spin

Via The Telegraph

What happens when a mysterious virus attack that reduces its victims to feral savages breaks out in Bangalore? Will the lone R&AW agent who enters the city find any survivors, and can he beat the odds and come up with a cure? Or, will the city succumb to the attack of the zombies?

Or would you rather follow the storyboard of young Kalki, a seemingly average teenager who hunts modern-day demons at night. Is this the return of Kalki, the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu? And can he tame the dangerous demons who are stalking the world.
Forget alien superheroes in underwear. Forget even the epics — as you’ve known them so far. The storyboard’s exploding as a host of new comic book publishers are creating a graphic new world of Indian comics.

The new players are determined to prove that comics aren’t meant for children alone and that they can produce world-class comics in India. So they’re coming up with fresh tales to reach a growing base of readers.

Consider this. In the last three years, publishers like Vimanika, Campfire, Arkin Comics, Level 10 and Manta Ray have entered the frame. Three months ago, comic book “fanatic” Jatin Varma launched Pop Culture Publishing. Later this month, comic book artist Vivek Goel will launch his imprint Holy Cow Entertainment. And others are coming too.

The new publishers are producing everything from serialised comics to magazines to graphic novels. There’s even a self-published 250-page anthology, Comix India. Campfire began by retelling classics like Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist in graphic form. And Vimanika is focused on mythological tales like I Am Kalki. Level 10 wants to tell comic stories in every genre from sci-fi to horror as long as they’re set in India while Manta Ray is dealing in realistic tales. And Comix India’s Bharath M. is even doing non- fiction comics.

The players are confident of the genre’s growth. After all, the country’s first comic convention, Comic Con India, held in February, drew over 15,000 footfalls over two days with visitors even dressing like comic characters.

“We’re selling passion, not comics,” says Karan Vir Arora, who founded Vimanika Comics in 2007.

Like the other entrepreneurs, Arora was inspired by Virgin Comics, which reinvented Indian comics in the 2000s — with the rise of satellite television, comic books had started losing their popularity in the 1990s.

Virgin shut down in 2008 and now has a new avatar Liquid Comics. But it changed the game by bringing in international titles and also by showing that Indian artists and writers could create comics like Devi and Ramayan 3392 A.D for international audiences.

If the new players are reinvigorating Indian comics, the existing majors are ramping up too. For instance, Diamond Comics is launching comics in south Indian languages. And it’s working on a 24-hour channel too. “It will be based entirely on Indian content,” says Gulshan Rai, managing director, Diamond Comics.

Yet, there are challenges ahead. Goel feels the biggest challenge for the new entrants is to “make their books available regularly”.

The other big challenge is distribution. While the entrenched players reach Tier 2 and 3 towns, the new ones are struggling for visibility in the metros.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source

Monday, May 16, 2011

Words and More (Kids) : Encouraging Creative Writing

Do your children love writing and want to showcase their work somewhere? Words and More (Kids) may be the place to go...

Imaginantes (Artwork assets)

Words and More (Kids) is an effort to encourage creative writing by children (between 7 and 18 years) in a variety of genres: stories, prose, rhyme, poetry, articles, or any other format. We welcome all entries and will provide editorial support and help to all youngsters who wish to express themselves through the written word.
We wish to encourage children to express their creativity and their thoughts in writing, give them editorial support and guidance, and provide to them a platform where they can see their efforts polished and presented attractively.

Even though kids all over the words are reading books less and less, preferring audio-visual media, their creativity, nonetheless, remains undampened.

All around us there are kids with countless stories and poems in their heads that never make it to paper or the computer, simply because they either don’t have the confidence for it, or because they feel, in this era of global audio-visual exposure, that there is no point to it. Plus, with the hectic pace of contemporary life and their parents’ and guardians’ busy schedules, they lack editorial guidance and are afraid of attracting ridicule due to grammatical errors.

It is here that Words and More (Kids) steps in. We welcome entries in all genres (prose, poetry, stories, rhymes, articles, etc.) from anyone between 7 and 18 years of age who wishes to write and be published on the net on a forum dedicated to children. (The age limit, however, is not strictly enforced. Efforts of slightly younger or slightly older writers are also welcome).

We sincerely believe that besides bringing out the literary talent in yougsters, this will help our children to be more clear-thinking, articulate and expressive individuals.

And just in case any one has any doubts, Words and More (Kids) is absolutely free … a labour of love and a small step towards building a global community of creative, free thinking youngsters.
Click here for more information.

Image Source : Alberto Cerriteño

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Acoustic Traditional - Spring Sessions

Via Acoustic Traditional

Acoustic Traditional cordially invites you to an evening of storytelling based on its extensive work on the folklore of the ‘Kirati’ community, alongside an exhibition of rare stories, myths and legends featuring the record breaking banner (Limca Book of records 2012 edition) on folklore.

The event also seeks to launch a ‘Book’, a compilation of rare and on-the-verge of extinction stories shared by various storytellers during the first ‘Indigenous storytelling Festival ‘ organised by Acoustic Traditional in Sikkim 2010. The festival was represented by storytellers from various tribal communities from Sikkim, Darjeeling, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Bhutan and Tamil Nadu.

14th May 2011
Time: 5.00 pm onwards
1. Book release and inauguration by Chief Guest
2. Story telling session with discussion
3. Exhibition: Exhibits on indigenous stories (rare graphics)

15th May 2011
Whole day exhibition
5:00 pm: Story telling session

16th and 17th May 2011
Continuation of exhibition for the general public

Venue :
Page Turners Book Store, Kannan Building (next to GK Vale),
89, MG Road
Bangalore, India
Click here for more details.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Season of Storytelling in Delhi

Samina Mishra's first storytelling event with the primary school students of the MCD school in East Nizamuddin

Via Time Out Delhi
The reader looks up from her book. Seated on a rug at her feet, in the Gurgaon bookstore Books-a-Buddy, she’s the MC at Wednesday’s weekly story-telling session. The audience is small but loyal, and this is just one of the many venues where stories are a regular event.

Originally Grandma’s turf, traditional story-telling has taken a backseat with parents’ lifestyles getting more and more frenetic. “In fact, a lot of the parents bringing up their children are not regular readers,” said Rabani Garg, owner of Reading Caterpillar, a children’s book library. “It’s commendable that they use [bookstores] to fill what might be a void in their child’s life.” These events might be the best way to bring a non-reader into the fold. “A session is very different to Mama reading bedtime stories. There are group dynamics at play here and you end up getting so much more out of a book and the interaction.” Much as adults do, kids can learn interpersonal skills and empathy from exposure to books. “Story-telling helps children in many ways, not the least of which is resolving conflict on the playground, dealing with issues that crop up in real life and much more,” said Swati Roy, co-owner of the children’s book store Eureka. “There is often a real world connection that the child makes.”

Devika Rangachari, children’s author, and one of the organisers of the Habitat Children’s Book Forum, says that the assumption that one will make a good storyteller just because they write for, or work with, children, should be dismissed. The sessions at the HCBF are called book interactions, not story-telling, because the children meet to read, discuss and interact. “Many parents who are too busy or don’t care will never take their child to a library or read to them,” said Rangachari. “All they do is ask if their child contributed during the session. Only 30 per cent are interested in the child enjoying a book. It seems to be yet another boasting point for them along with tennis and ballet-lessons and foreign trips.”

n fact, a great story-telling session can be an introduction to aspects of a child’s own culture – not just through the subject, but through the format.
Red the entire article here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Innovative and Interactive School in Bihar

Via The Better India

Chandrakant Singh hails from Chamanpura village of Gopalganj district, a place you probably couldn’t find on a map unless you’re actually from there. But this audacious Bihari has put this nondescript village on the world map.

In two short years, Chandrakant Singh has established a world class school that will enrol it’s 500th student in the new academic year of 2011-12. He chose this village as the ideal location for such a school not because it’s his ancestral home, but because the landscape here is still devoid of a single electricity pole. This shrine to learning and nurturing talent is run entirely on generators.

The Chaitanya Gurukul Trust was set up with the vision to “Educate, Enlighten, Empower & Emit’. A vision that inspired a hundred villagers to give their land (which the Trust purchased at 30% more than market price) to set up the establishment.

Chandrakant Singh tapped in to all his networks to raise funds for this school. As an IIT alumnus, a former TATA steel employee and a researcher at GM at the time, he urged 3000 people to join in. The request was not a casual email soliciting funds, but a thoroughly researched business plan for a school that would eventually become self sustaining.

“It’s important to prove that given the same opportunities, every child is capable of academic excellence“. Singh is certain that the school will change the fortune of this remote village with each successful student and soon it’s reputation for quality of education and leadership in academic best practices will highlight the plight of the surrounding villages.

The classrooms and other facilities here would be the envy of even the priciest private school in India. Technology is seamlessly woven into every aspect of student life. Sports and extracurricular activities are used to hone leadership skills, for moral guidance and team building. Teachers from many cities in India and abroad teach eager students via Skype!

“There is such disparity in our educational system currently. How can a student from a fancy private school in Delhi and another who learnt his lessons sitting on a cement sack in a village in Bihar, be expected to compete at the same level? I want my students to feel free and empowered by their education. They will eventually become model citizens for our country”, says Singh.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source

Monday, May 9, 2011

India's Promise and Peril

Reading time at Christel House India

Via Hindustan Times
Last month, Rajbala was the first girl ever to appear for Class 10 exams in modern-day Rajasthan's block of Kishangarh Bas, where the female literacy rate ranges from 6% to 25% (nationally, it is 65%). Rajbala is a Dalit. She, her parents, both agricultural workers, and five siblings live in a two-room house.

"My parents never wanted me to go to school," said Rajbala. "They needed me for house and farm work. But I persisted. I convinced them."

Rajbala's achievements showcase the determination that drives the world's youngest nation, which has raised its literacy rate by 9 points to 74% in the last decade.

India now has the world's largest demographic dividend, or share of working-age people — about 781 million between 15 to 64 years old.

Rajbala's story also represents why India is in danger of forfeiting that dividend.

The demographic dividend of the world's youngest country is in danger of becoming a democratic liability because its public-education system is failing.

As the demand for a better tomorrow through education becomes one of the biggest expectations changing Indian politics, delivering it to what is now the world's youngest country is a formidable challenge.

By 2020, the median age in India will be 28, in China 37, in the US 38 and in western Europe 45. But this demographic dividend could turn into a deficit if these young people — more than 500 million are under 25 — remain under-educated, unskilled, unemployed or unemployable.

By next year, India could be short of 5 million with the right skills, says a report from the Boston Consulting Group, at a time when there already are 1.3 million unskilled and unqualified school dropouts and illiterates.

There is little time to lose if young people like Rajbala are to make the transition from school to the job market.

Now take India's primary school enrollment figures — at 93%, these are impressive.

But the quality of such education for children between six and 14, the base for all future learning, shows a consistent decline.

Nationally, there has also been a decline in the ability to do things such as basic math and recognise numbers.

It doesn't matter if you fail in a government primary school. You will be promoted anyway until Class 8.

The mundane task of setting learning targets is vital to reversing India's quality slide. "There's a need to clearly outline the learning outcomes that must be achieved at the end of Class 2, Class 5 and Class 8 in order to give substance to Right To Education Act," says Madhav Chavan, head of Pratham.
Read the entire article to find out how three states tried to improve the education system in their regions.

Image Source : Dell's Official Flickr Page

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reminder : Last Few Days to Send in Entries for the 'Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest'

Hello hello! Just a quick reminder that the last date to send in entries for the 'Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest' is 9th May, 2011.

(Note : We are currently accepting entries from children below the age of 16 years only.)

So get your kids, nieces, nephews or grandchildren to put on their thinking caps and send in their entries. Entries can be in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada or Urdu.

A quick recap of the contest :

Take the images available here, weave your own story and email us the remixed version. Pssstt......Stories that are drastically different from the original have a better chance to win and yes the first prize winner for each category gets a printed, laid-out version of the winning cool is that!

Having starting trouble? Read our editor's remixed version of the book.

Click here to download the illustrations, instructions and read the original and remixed book,all at one go!

Contest details:

• You can send in your entries in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada or Urdu.
• Please send your entries in PDF, Word or Power Point format to along with your name, age, language of entry with the email subject line as “The Retell, Remix, Rejoice contest”
• Got any queries? Email us at
Last date for entries is 9th May 2011.

*By submitting your work you agree to a “Creative Commons – Attribution – Share Alike license” being applied to it. While we encourage participation from all countries, prizes shall be couriered only within India. In case winning entry is not from India, we will lay out the book and send you a high res pdf to print locally.

Bookaroo in Kashmir

After the successful celebration of books in Delhi last year, Bookaroo brings the joy of books to Kashmir.

Two days of exciting activities with story tellers, authors, illustrators, musicians and performers. And a fantastic book shop to browse in.
Pratham Books will also be participating and you can find our books in English, Hindi and Urdu at the book shop. You can view the entire schedule here.

Date: 7th, 8th May 2011
Time: 10am-5pm
Venue: Delhi Public School, Athwajan, Srinagar

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Sketchbook Project

Via ArtHouse Co-op

The Sketchbook Project is a traveling exhibition of sketchbooks created by artists like you.

Anyone – from anywhere in the world – can be a part of the Project. To participate and receive a blank sketchbook that will join our 2012 tour, start by choosing a theme.

Project Overview

After you sign up to participate in the project, we'll send you a package containing a custom-designed Sketchbook Project sketchbook with a barcode on it, your chosen theme, and detailed instructions about the project.


When you sign up for the project you will be able to choose from a list of 40 themes. You can select one for your book, or choose to have a theme randomly assigned to you. However, once you choose your theme you're stuck with it - so please choose carefully. If you select the "random theme" button, the theme will be indicated on the sketchbook when you receive it (so please don't email us about it prior to receiving your sketchbook in the mail). The themes are supposed to be a starting point, not a restriction, so remember to keep an open mind and consider the theme to be a guide.
You can read more about how to participate in this project here. The entry fees for this project is $25.

Cool Hunting tells us a little more about this project :
Five years ago, Shane Zucker and Steven Peterman, fed up with the challenge of making a living as artists, founded Art House as a student project.

Shane's father mentioned sketchbooks—what if people from all over the world paid to submit sketchbooks to be displayed? Between April and November of 2010, 28,000 people signed up to be a part of the Sketchbook Project and 10,000 of the sketchbooks sent out to people in 94 countries were sent back. The collection is now touring nine U.S.cities and you can even get a library card to check them out.

What is the meaning of paying to be part of an art project?
Eli: We're not telling anyone that they are going to suddenly become famous through this. Also, we don't sell any of the work. There's no financial benefit to anyone here. If you think about the resources that go into this tour and having a permanent space in Brooklyn, it adds up to a lot of money and time. As five people or even 100 of your closest friends, you could never do this, but when 10,000 people come together, you can actually do it.

Shane: For a lot of galleries, art is a means of commerce. They make money. That's just not us.

Read the entire article here.

Image Source

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to Make A Mini Book

Recently, we've been inspired by the different kinds of books people have been making. Remember Indu Harikumar's matchbox books? And the cute button book? Well, here's another book that you can create by using a soap wrapper. It is super simple and has a video tutorial to make things easy.

You can read the instructions to make this book on Creativity Prompt.

Navayana-Avarna Fellowship for NBT Publishing Course

Via Navayana (via Chintan Girish Modi)

In 2009, Navayana had sponsored five Dalit and Adivasi candidates for the Edit-Pub diploma course at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, as Avarna fellows. In 2010, Navayana had called for applications from five Dalit/ Adivasi candidates at the National Book Trust’s four-week Training Course in Book Publishing (in English) in New Delhi. However, only one Dalit candidate from Pune, Laxman More, applied, availed the Avarna Scholarship and successfully completed the course.

In July 2011, NBT is conducing the annual four-week course in Delhi. Navayana once again seeks to provide fellowships to five dalit/ adivasi students who get selected for the NBT course.

The details of the comprehensive course, where the best professionals from the publishing industry teach, are available at this link:

Last date for sending applications: 10 June 2011.

Course dates and timing: 5 July to 31 July 2011.
9.30 a.m to 5 p.m, Monday to Saturday.

Venue: Conference Room, NBT
5, Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, Phase II
New Delhi – 110070

Candidates must apply directly to NBT as instructed on the NBT website (and in the attached PDF on course information). There is no entrance test; any graduate may apply. There is no age limit.

Navayana shall play no role in the selection of the candidates. Candidates who happen to be Dalit/ Adivasi and are selected by NBT may then apply to Navayana for financial support ( Navayana shall pay the course fee (Rs 5,000) for up to five Dalit/ Adivasi candidates. NBT this year is also arranging accommodation for outstation candidates at Rs 3,000 for four weeks. Navayana shall also subsidize this amount. The total value of the Avarna Fellowship will be Rs 8,000.

NBT also has an internship program for promising students from which the selected Avarna fellows could benefit.

Click here for more details.

India's Booming Book Industry

Via Himal Southasian

The publishing industry in Southasia as a whole, and India in particular, has never seen better times. With a whopping 550 million people below the age of 30, and with a significant and consumerist middle class, book sales in the country could well surpass all expectations.

It is further estimated by the various associations that a total of 90,000 titles are produced every year, while the potential growth is pegged at an optimistic 30 percent per year.

Amidst this excitement, one still finds a fractured infrastructure that presents a huge challenge and a consequent opportunity for the industry. First, there is the challenge of finding interested and trained professionals. Publishing was, and in many ways still is, a family-owned and family-run business, which means that many people in the profession were literally born into publishing. Others claim they sort of ended up there by chance. When publishers aim for expansion and recruitment, there seems to be a clear lack of both talent and professional training.

With new technologies coming into the sector, there is also a pressing need to train editors to adapt. ‘An editor’s job is becoming more and more challenging day by day, because of the digital revolution,’ Karal says. ‘The new modes of delivery of content have thrown newer challenges to the editors, who are now, besides linguistic competence, required to understand the potentials of the new technologies to deliver content to the end user in the most preferred ways, and get authors to develop content that can make the best use of them.’

Browsing through Books

Still, while the need remains significant, the Indian publishing industry has clearly managed to nurture editorial talent. This is evident from the accolades that Indian writing in English has been receiving the world over. ‘Being an editor in India is hugely satisfying, though not monetarily,’ Mukherjee says, ‘because of the growing market and because there is scope for taking publishing decisions which can spark off trends. In India, some editors are adventurous, and the industry gives them the scope for that.’ This opportunity to commission offbeat books that can set trends in new writing makes the field particularly interesting.

There has certainly been an upsurge in shelf space for books, at least in the major metropolitan areas, while online retail outfits such as Flipkart and InfiBeam have belied earlier predictions to become serious players in the business in India.

In this vibrant atmosphere comes the next interesting player: the agent. Until just a few years ago, barely one or two literary agents were operating out of India. As seen in ‘mature’ markets, agents play a crucial role in identifying, nurturing and exposing new talent in ways that publishers tend to find difficult to do, preoccupied as they are with other matters.

The ‘new’ writer, then, has an interesting arena in which to work. With a growing market in the Subcontinent, the old argument of writing for a foreign readership is losing its logic. Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi, each selling over 50,000 copies in India alone, represent a new breed of writers who are able to defy previous notions of what the market demands. Literary quality apart (defined, in any case, by a handful of critics fighting for the scant space the media permits for reviews), the mood that these authors create lends a new flavour to the scope of English-language publishing in India.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Pratham Books

Monday, May 2, 2011

MangaIndia's Manga Contest

Drawing Manga

Via MangaIndia
Now accepting all entries!
So At your pencil or graphic tablet and good luck!
The future mangaka could be someone between you!

Mangaindia born by the will of three person of indian origin based in France to build a company who will bring to light indian artists talent to create manga type comics.

Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by July 31, 2011.

This competition is free and opened to all indians


Grand prize will be awarded 10000 Rupees and first 5 volumes of 'Bakuman'.

Second prize will be awarded 5000 Rupees and first 5 volumes of 'Bakuman'.

Third prize will be awarded 1500 Rupees and first 5 volumes of 'Bakuman'.

In addition, best entries will be published online in website and could be also published in iphone, ipad, other digital medias. There is also a very real possibility that best works will be collected and published in trade paperback form.

Theme should be one of the following:
Cricket - Kabaddi - Love story - Indian cooking
Click here for more details.

Image Source : plindberg/ Peter Lindberg

Illustration Love

Here's the regular dose of reading and book-related illustrations we've found recently.

Image Source : StephanieFizer

Image Source : Tae-Eun Yoo

Image Source : Taeeun Yoo

Image Source : Taeeun Yoo

Image Source : Denis Gingras

Book Launch - No Alphabet in Sight : New Dalit Writing from South India

BookPort will hold a book launch of No Alphabet in Sight : New Dalit Writing from South India, Dossier 1: Tamil and Malayalam, edited By K. Satyanarayana & Susie Tharu and published by Penguin Books India. The event ( Introductory remarks: Susie Tharu, K.Satyanarayana, Book release: Ravi D C, Receiving the book: T.Muralidharan ) will be held on May 4, 2011 from 2pm to 5 PM at Seminar Hall, Ashirbhavan,Kacherippadi, Ernakulam.

Discussion with and readings by C K Janu,C Ayyappan,K K Kochu,K K Baburaj,K K S Das,Sunny M Kapikkadu,,Raghavan Atholi,Pradeepan Pampirikkunnu,M B Manoj,S Joseph,M R R enukumar,S E James,V V Swami,Sanal mohan,Lovely Stephen,T M Yesudasan,Sunny Kavikkad and RekhaRaj will follow.

Pradeepan Pambirikkunnu will perform a musical interpretation of Poykayil Appachan's song "Kanunneeloraksharavum" at the beginning.
(A bbig thank you to Chintan Girish Modi for sending us information about this event).