Monday, July 4, 2011

Rohini Nilekani on the 'Retell, Remix and Rejoice' contest and the power of Creative Commons




On the occasion of World Storytelling day, we announced our ‘Retell, Remix and Rejoice – 2’ contest where we invited our readers to remix one of our stories, retell it in a whole new way and send it in. After going through a lot of amazing entries, we finally zeroed down on our winners!

Ms. Rohini Nilekani, the chairperson of Pratham Books, was especially excited to see all the entries. Why? Well, she authored the book ‘Listen to my Body’, which was delightfully remixed and rehashed by all our storytellers! Ms. Nilekani goes by the pen name “Noni” and has written a number of lovely storybooks for Pratham Books. Her Sringeri Srinivas stories (‘Annual Haircut Day’ and ‘Too Many Bananas’) have been very  popular as has ‘The Moon and the Cap’. We asked her what she felt about the contest and the power of Creative Commons. Here's what “Noni” had to say:


“As the author of “Listen to my Body”, I was delighted to see that we had 34 people who so creatively took an existing set of pictures and conjured up their own tales! Clearly, the spider was a big hit. In fact, I had asked the illustrators Angie and Upesh to come up with some interesting device like a small character on the side, so that the story could be enhanced. I have found that children always like to have parallel stories running in the illustrations so that they can imagine bits of the plot for themselves. Certainly I remember my own children doing that a lot, especially with the Richard Scarry books but that was years and years ago! Anyhow Angie and Upesh did a really good job with the spider. And clearly many of our contestants thought so too. 
The world of the Creative Commons is wonderful. It allows us to share and co-create so many things. I hope this new culture will evolve from the creation of stories and software to the design of new tools for living and well being, maybe home design, water saving devices, even new drugs. Imagine the power of 6 billion minds working together for something beyond personal gain alone. That is the promise of such a platform. 
In the meantime, I hope many of you will stay in touch with us at Pratham Books and find many of your own means to reach more children with good books. Especially those children who may not have had the joy of disappearing into a good book. Or of rewriting someone else’s!”


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