Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Events

1. MIAOW! - Author interaction with Alankrita Jain

Via an email sent by Tulika Books

(Please click on the image below for more details)

Find out how a black cat with green eyes became a white cat! Meet Alankrita Jain, creator of Tulika's latest bilingual- MIAOW!

Date and Time : 1st October, 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location : Goobe's Book Republic, 11, Church Street, Sheesh Mahal Building, Bangalore- 560001. Ph: 08030577190


2. Toto the Auto

Time : 2nd October, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Venue : Crossword bookstores, Kemps corner, Mumbai

Join us for an exciting event with stories, singing, dancing and loads of fun. For 3-6 year olds. Free gift for all kids

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Celebrating International Girl Child Day with 'The Upside Down Story'

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

After two exciting days, our live Write-a-thon has finally come to an end! Thanks to the efforts of an all-women team consisting of authors, illustrators and translators, we have completed a beautiful story called 'The Upside Down Story'. What makes this story even more special is that it is being launched today as a part of our International Girl Child Day celebrations, and Pratham Books Champions' in cities across India will be reading this story to children in their localities.

So go ahead - click here to download the 'The Upside Down Story' in different languages and spread the joy of reading!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pratham Books Champions : Spreading the Joy of Reading in Cities Across the World

If you didn't already know, we have a SUPER SUPER SUPER community of people who are always ready to help us spread the joy of reading. Once again, our awesome friends have volunteered to give wings to the story we are creating on the occasion of International Girl Child Day.

We are creating an illustrated book in 4 languages in 2 days. Amazing eh? But, what is the point of the book if it isn't reaching kids. So, we put out a call for people to become a Pratham Books Champion and we received many responses.

The following people have confirmed their participation and will be spreading the joy of reading in their cities:
  1. Brij and Rashmi - Bangalore
  2. Neela Gupta - Vadodara
  3. Nisha Sharma Agnihotri - Delhi
  4. John Yengkhom - Dimapur
  5. Anitha S Jebaraj - Chennai
  6. Shilpa Krishnan - Chennai
  7. Subrat Goswami - Bhopal
  8. Rathy - Chennai
  9. Sangeetha - Hyderabad
  10. Rashmie Jaaju - Delhi
  11. Nithya Sivashankar - Coimbatore
  12. Anuraag Trivedi - Jaipur
  13. Sandhya Sharma - Delhi
  14. Monika Manchanda - Bangalore
  15. Anupriya Iyer - Singapore
  16. Anisha Oommen - Cochin
  17. Radhika - Washington DC
  18. Anitha Ramkumar - Hyderabad
  19. Mohammad Faisal - Mau
Good luck with your storytelling sessions!

Note : If you are interested in conducting a session in your community, download the book and use it. It would be great if you could take photographs of the session and write about it so that we could share it with the rest of our community. In case you want to be a Pratham Books Champion in the future, feel free to email us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org. Thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Illustrated Book in 4 languages in 2 days!

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Don't miss the “live” write-a-thon!

Pratham Books has invited four authors to write a book in just 2 days. The story, illustrations and language translations will be done by an all-woman team. The write-a-thon will be relayed “live” on our new website That’s right, you'll be able to catch every word as its written. The story will revolve around a girl protagonist and free downloads of the book will be available from 24th September, International Girl Child Day.

To follow the write-a-thon, click here. And while you are there do visit our eStore, browse through our books, see what's in stock and buy our books online!

Here are the details
The author marathon will work as follows:
22nd Sept 12.30 – 2.30 pm : Roopa Pai starts the author marathon.
22nd Sept 3 pm – 5.00 pm : Subhadra Sengupta continues the author marathon.
23rd Sept 9.30 am – 11.30 pm : Anita Vachharajani continues the author marathon.
23rd Sept 12.15 – 2.15 pm : Mala Kumar concludes the author marathon.

In between the story writing sessions, four illustrators; Suvidha Mistry, Anupama Ajinkya Apte, Zainab Tambawalla and Tanvi Choudhury. will illustrate the book.

Pratham Books' editors will also translate the book in Hindi, Marathi and Kananada too. If any of you are interested in translating the book into other languages, please mail us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

The story that will be created over the 2 day period will be used in storytelling sessions across the country on the 24th of September on the occasion of International Girl Child Day. Pratham Books' Champions [storytelling volunteers] will conduct sessions at orphanages, Government Schools, community libraries in their localities. So far we've had many volunteers sign up for this from different parts of the country....Nagaland, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Chennai, Vadodara, Delhi, Bhopal etc. We will update this list soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lit for Life

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Date : 25th September, 2011

Source : Email sent by Siyahi

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pratham Books at the Singhania School Book Exhibition,Thane

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Browse through our latest range of exciting titles at the Singhania School Book exhibition. You will find our books at the Small Wonder Library stall. See you there!

Venue: Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Near Cadbury, Jekegram, Thane
Date and Timing: 1pm - 7pm on 16th September
10 am - 7 pm on 17th and 18th September
Contact No: +91 9819090375

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Support Our Entry and Help us Win the Times of India Social Impact Awards

Wohoo.....we are so honoured [and super excited] to be shortlisted for the Times of India Social Impact Awards .

These awards were initiated as an attempt to encourage and honour the efforts of those who came together to fight for change. They who refused to sit back and watch. They who took the plunge and brought about Social Impact. We started this journey by inviting applications, and were overwhelmed with the response we received from organizations across the country working in the fields of Education, Heathcare, Livelihoods, Environment, Empowerment & Advocacy.
Pratham Books has been shortlisted under the category of 'Education'. If you know and like the work we are doing, do show your solidarity and support by commenting and voting for us on this page.

A Sleepover at the Library – Stuffed Animal-Style!

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) blog features a post written by Kris Lill about a wonderful library programme.
This has been our experience with our Stuffed Animal Sleepover programs. Yes, that’s right! We have a sleepover at the library — but just for stuffed animals.

Basically, it works like this: children are invited to bring their stuffed animals to the library for a bedtime storytime. During storytime, we encourage children to help their stuffed animals listen to the stories and say the rhymes together. As storytime comes to a close, we sing a lullaby and pass out board books for the children to read a bedtime story one-on-one with their stuffed friends. Finally, the children tuck their animals into “bed” (I spread a couple of blankets on the floor), say goodnight, and go home.

The next day, children pick up their stuffed friends, along with a craft item their animals “made” and a memory book of their animals’ overnight adventures in the library. The memory book includes a link to more pictures we’ve posted on the library’s Flickr account.

The first time we held this program, I was amazed by the strong reaction we got – from both children AND their adults. Children were excited to get their animals back, and to look at the pictures of their overnight adventures in the library. They were very interested in seeing the different locations within the library their animals visited – one child even walked around the library with his photo-book, looking for the exact spot in which his animal’s photos were taken!
Read the entire post here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Creating a Literary-Rich Environment for Kids

Found this excellent article by Alta Allen which lists out different ways in which one can create a literary-rich environment for kids. Alta says, "As an elementary educator who structures her classroom environment by focusing on reading across the curriculum, I want to share some of the successful strategies and practices I have found. Together, I call them SEARS — "Students Engaged Authentically with Reading Strategies."
Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time is a time that is set aside daily for independent reading by both students and teachers. Every person in the class is to drop everything and read. DEAR time takes in consideration a variety of student interests and ability levels, because each student selects for himself or herself the book or books he or she wishes to read.

The major goal of DEAR is to encourage students to read independently for extended periods of time. I usually begin the year with 5 minutes, later increase the time to 10 minutes, and get students to read for longer periods of time as the year progresses. By the end of the year, my students are usually reading for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Many times they will beg for more time to read.

It is a fun way to read literature books and makes them more genuine and appealing to students. I usually copy the book and then highlight the parts for each student to read. Actors and actresses get together to practice reading their parts. There are no props or costumes. They will rehearse several times as a group before presenting their production to other classmates. Students are assessed according to clarity of voice, appropriate volume, inflection when reading dialogue, and overall group cooperation. My main purpose for using this kind of reading is to get students enthusiastic about reading stories by allowing play with oral language and giving students opportunities to feel at ease and not threatened when reading in front of their classmates.

In literature circles, students choose their own reading books. I provide a list of books that are available for circle time and copies of the actual books. Sometimes I focus the selections on a specific theme, literary strategy or genre of literature. Then we create temporary groups based on the students’ book choices. There will be several different structured groups of four to five students in each literature circle. Groups meet at a regularly scheduled time to read, take notes, and, finally, discuss their books. As students read their books silently, they are encouraged to take notes in written or graphic form on ideas or topics that they may want to discuss with their group. Students have different roles as they openly discuss their literature. The roles that I include in my literature circles are the discussion director, graphics guru, culminating project chairman, debriefing dictator, and word wizard. The discussions are informal, and, upon completion of the discussion, students write or illustrate individual reflections in their literacy response notebooks.
Click here to read all the tips that Alta shares.

Shedding light on Multilingual Publishing

"How are different languages responding to each other and to the ubiquitous creep of English in our lives? How are authors, filmmakers and songwriters responding? And just as importantly, at which frequency is the book publishing industry receiving these signals?" asks Manisha Chaudhry, Head- Content, at Pratham Books, in an article. She makes an eloquent response on the challenges and joys of multilingual publishing in the current issue of Muse India, a literary e-journal with the primary objective of showcasing Indian writings in English and in English translation to a broad-based global readership.
"As if difficult access and low choice were not daunting enough, there is the issue of price. Individual book buying is not a priority spend. Multilingualism only adds another level of complexity to a difficult situation. Assuming that it was possible to choose, in which language would a child like to buy a book? .....So why would anybody want to be a multilingual children’s publisher of ‘story books’? Because there are sudden shafts of sunlight in this grim picture that give us compelling reasons."

You can read the entire article here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This International Literacy Day, spread the joy of reading!

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Pratham Books believes in spreading the joy of reading to every child. That's the reason why we're offering free downloads of 20 of our books in 15 different languages. Read them to your children, share the link with your neighbours and friends and let's pledge to make India a reading nation.

Click here for a free download, and celebrate World Literacy Day by sharing the stories in different languages.

Book Launch : For Kids by Kids

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Via an email sent by Scholastic India
Scholastic India is happy to invite you for a multimedia book reading of its latest release—For Kids by Kids- The Best of Scholastic Writing Awards 2011.
The Genre of the book is both Fiction and Non-fiction.
The winning entries have been selected by the renowned authors- Ranjit Lal, Asha Nehemiah and Abhijit Gupta; and the Publisher, Amar Chitra Katha -Sayoni Basu.

The book launch is scheduled on Friday, 9th September 2011 at Reliance Time Out, Axis Mall First Floor, B- Block New Town, Kolkata from 6:00 PM onwards.

Dr. Reena Sen will be launching the FKBK book and will distribute the prizes to the winners. A founder member of the West Bengal Spastics Society – now Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, Dr. Sen is a member of the Governing Body and the teaching faculty and at present, her designation is Executive Director. During 1984-87 she lived in Kochi where she founded Raksha, an NGO that continues to thrive as a nodal centre for disability in Kerala.

About the book

For Kids By Kids: The Best of the Scholastic Writing Awards 2011, featuring selected award recipients from The Scholastic Writing Awards of 2010-11, showcases the new and exciting voices of our country’s best writers between the ages of ten and sixteen.

Drawn from over 2500 manuscripts, this anthology contains short stories and non-fiction pieces in a wide array of genres, styles and subjects. Read on to find out what Indian children think, dream and write about …

Book Quilts

Found some gorgeous pictures of book quilts and blocks on Flickr.

Mom's pillow shams

Image Source : Urban Crunch/ Jaclyn

Meg's Beehive Block

Image Source : Karissajo/ Karissa

Bookshelf Quilt
Image Source : bethssms/ Beth Ward

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From Farm to Plate

We've already talked about Pushpi Bagchi and her book which aims at getting kids to think about the food they eat. Pushpi agreed to write a guest post for us on a topic related to her book and this post tells you how to create edible gardens.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we seem to be growing apart from our food!

Convenience foods and full time cooks have made their way into our kitchens and we’ve forgotten the story of our food and very few children seem to be aware of where their food comes from. While doing research for my graduation project while in Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, I had one parent tell me her 4 year son was shocked when he’d visited a farm and saw potatoes growing in the ground- in the mud. His reality was that fruits and vegetables came from supermarkets- the end! I heard another story of someone’s nephew who thought our everyday milk in tetra packs were factory made. He was quite appalled when he found out that milk actually comes from cows or buffaloes... he did his best to set the record straight for anyone else who might have been disillusioned like him. Why is it that we are becoming so estranged from our food when it impacts us and the world around us on an everyday basis?

If we lose touch with our food we also forget how precious it is, and how much time and effort is put into putting together one meal. If we know and understand the story of our food, from farm to plate, we will actually appreciate the true value of what we are eating.

So, let’s start at the beginning. Everything we eat was first grown somewhere by someone.
“Knowing how foods grow is to know how and when to look for them; such expertise is useful for certain kinds of people, namely, the ones who eat, no matter where they live or grocery shop.” - -Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara King Solver
Attempting to grow vegetable gardens in urban spaces would be quite a challenge, especially for those of us living in apartments. But there is a solution- balcony gardens. My family has had thriving balcony gardens since forever and not only do they make fantastic “green” spaces, they are not as high maintenance as back yard gardens. To experience and appreciate the simple joys of growing food, one can start with herb gardens. The best part about growing a herb garden is that to start off, you don’t even need to buy seeds, you’ll most probably have the basics in your spice cabinet. Coriander seeds, methi (or fenugreek), and dried red chill are staples in most Indian households. All you need are some small containers (cookie or jam tins?), some good quality soil, and a sunny spot put on your balcony or even a window sill. For details on how to grow a herb garden you can take a look at my edible garden guide book here:

I can say from experience that most children love gardening- I think it has something to do with feeling the soft, cool, squishy soil between your fingers. And don’t forget the rewards, having dal or biriyani dressed with coriander you growing in your own home is fantastic!

Next on our food story- hunting and gathering.

Encouraging a Love for Reading


Via GilroyPatch
... one of the best ways to guarantee a successful scholastic experience for your child is to encourage a love of literacy – and it starts at home.

“Try to carve out some time to read to your child every day,” says Jordan. “Your child will begin to look forward to the time with you and will be exposed to more literature that way.”

“If your children see you read for work and school as well as reading for pleasure, it makes an infinite difference,” said Yoshimura.

Here are some additional pointers you can use in hopes of having your child pick up a book instead of a seat in front of the television:

  • Read with your child for at least 30 minutes a day. Make the process interactive by asking questions to ensure your child is comprehending what your reading. Make this process a routine.
  • Read yourself. If your child sees the enjoyment you gain from reading yourself, chances are it will rub off.Make up additional endings to a story, this helps your child to use his or her imagination and eventually will lead to your child’s understanding of plots, characters and the author’s message. Learning through imagination will help a child gain insight to story sequence.
  • Before you read the text of a story, do a “picture walk.” Look at the illustrations and guess what might happens before reading the book. This will also peak a child’s interest in a book.
  • Choose books for your child based on interest. If your child loves scuba diving, chances are that any book on the topic will be interesting to them. The act of reading becomes second to the subject matter itself.
  • Talk about books you like and dislike. It’s important for your child to see that it’s OK to not like a story, that’s how you determine what book you would like to read next.
  • For youngsters, read street signs or material posted at stores – anything that will engage your child and help them put together sounds. Learning how words are strung together will help your child to develop strong phonics skills.
Click here to read more tips.

Image Source : Pratham Books

Illustration Love

A lovely set of book and reading-related illustrations we've come across recently.

Library/Books Round Robin
Image Source : alcott1 / Mary Ellen

humming bird girl

Image Source : nyappykun

Image Source : Piia Lehti (via bibliolectors)

Image Source : `thundercake

Film Screening: Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime, a film directed by Paromita Vohra will be screened at 6.30pm on Friday, September 9, 2011 at the  Smriti Nandan Cultural Centre, 15/3 Palace Road. The Director will be present at the screening.
Synopsis: Who owns a song – the person who made it or the person who paid for it? Is piracy organized crime or class struggle? Are alternative artists who want to hold rights over their art and go it alone in the market, visionaries or nutcases? Is the fine line between plagiarism and inspiration a cop-out or a whole other way of looking at the fluid nature of authorship? When more than three fourths of those with an internet connection download all sorts of material for free, are they living out a brand new cultural freedom – or are they criminals? Full of wicked irony, great music and thorny questions Partners in Crime explores the grey horizons of copyright and culture in times when technology is changing the contours of the market.

For more details, please contact: +919845766808 or +919916158217

Please note that non-members of Smriti Nandan are encouraged to pay Rs. 49/- or above towards the Auditorium.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bookshelf Love

Sharing pictures of a few great looking bookshelves we've come across recently. Which one do you like?

Legion Pallet Table (spotted on Cool Material)

Image Source : dkzdani

Image Source : teachingliteracy
Image Source : Dripta Design Studio

Yellowleg : The Discerning Traveller's Bookstore

Yellowleg is a Bangalore-based online bookstore - a bookstore for travellers! Woohoo!

Ready for a journey, but don’t want the usual anthology of guidebooks to help you plan your itinerary?

“The idea of setting up a travel-books-only store came from my own experience. When I moved back to India in 2006, and wanted books on travel, I found stores here had little variety. I could order what I wanted online from sites, such as Amazon, but the shipping charges are so heavy. I decided to set up a facility in India where you can buy not just guidebooks, but also literature about unusual destinations across the world,” says Aashish Gupta, the founder of the site.

The site is hierarchically organized, and lets you search for books about specific places. For example, if you’re travelling to Indonesia, you’ll navigate through the section on Asia, then the South-East Asia region, then Indonesia, and finally choose a book listed under the three cities—Bali, Jakarta or Borneo. Under Bali, you get the usual Lonely Planet Indonesian Phrasebook and also find the Phaic Tan: Sunstroke on a Shoestring (Jetlag Travel Guide), and My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with an Indonesian Islamist by Sadanand Dhume.

As this online book store expands, Gupta has announced a trade-a-book service, which allows you to sell a book back to the website after you’re done with it and earn store credit.

Another value-added service that the site offers is personalized travel consulting. “No, this is not a place where you can get discounts on air tickets or hotel deals. We help you plan a trip or answer any questions that you may have,” explains Gupta. Yellowleg offers various packages for personalized consulting: If you purchase books worth Rs599, you can ask five questions; for Rs999, you can ask up to 10 questions. “We archive many articles from various sources, besides which we have access to many travel books from where we pull out this information.”
Read the entire article here.

Should Children Be Protected from Scary Stories?

Bed time stories

On the seventh page of “The Story of Babar’’ by Jean De Brunhoff, the little elephant is riding on his mother’s back when something awful happens: “a wicked hunter, hidden behind some bushes, shoots at them. The hunter has killed Babar’s mother!’’ The pictures tell the rest of the story - we see Babar happily atop his mother in one scene, crying by her side the next. The first dozen times I read the book to my son, when I reached that two-page spread, I would pinch the pages together to turn as one, and then skip on ahead.

It’s become a cliche that today’s parents are hovering helicopters, rushing to shelter children from even trivial harm.A recent paper by two Norwegian researchers suggested that well-meaning adults cripple kids’ abilities when they try to make playgrounds safer, since “risky play’’ presents children a crucial and necessary opportunity for growth and development. Such protectiveness extends beyond swing sets and slides, reaching into perilous pantries (high-fructose corn syrup!), the Internet (pedophiles!), and even the family bookcase - (death! sex! racism!).

It’s not surprising that many of us find ourselves censoring - even if we’re embarrassed to do it. Even a quick look at the most enduring children’s books reveals that there’s no escaping loss, danger, violence - all figure in some of the best children’s books of all time. And then there’s death, which Maria Tatar, chair of the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard University, calls “that big theme so strangely prominent in children’s literature.’’ There’s a reason for that.

“If you look at all the old fairy tales, and even the current ones like ‘The Lion King’ or ‘Finding Nemo,’ ’’ says Lise Motherwell, a Brookline psychologist, many “deal with the loss of a parent, often the mother.’’

These stories are popular with kids because of their subject matter, not in spite of it. “Those are questions and issues that kids are dealing with anyway and in many ways reading in books helps them deal with it on a developmental level,’’ says Motherwell. “They start to grapple with the feelings they would have if something like that were to happen.’’

It’s up to parents, she says, to provide a context to help their children handle ideas that both fascinate and terrify them.

While their children work on emotional issues, it’s a chance for parents to explore theirs as well. “I think I’m doing it out of wanting to protect him - but maybe I’m trying to protect myself, or misperceiving what he needs protection from,’’ Andrea Meyer says.

Learning that Babar’s mother was killed didn’t scar my son. He still asked for the book again and again, experiencing and re-experiencing a very scary thing from the very safest place he knows - his mother’s lap.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : Lars Plougmann

Using Comics in the Classroom

We blogged about MakeBeliefsComix 2 years ago (Read that post here). MakeBeliefsComix is a comic strip generator is extremely simple to use. They also have a page that suggests how teachers can incorporate the use of comics in their classrooms.

1. At the beginning of each new school year have students create a comic strip talking about
themselves and their families or summarizing the most important things about their lives. Let each student select a cartoon character as a surrogate to represent her or him. After students complete their strips, encourage them to exchange their comics with classmates to learn more about each other. Students can also create strips that summarize what their individual interests to help a teacher to learn more abo
ut them.

2. Have students create a comic strip story using new vocabulary words that are being taught. Having students fill in talk or thought balloons for different cartoon characters also helps students practice conversation and language structure in a meaningful context.

3. Have students break up into pairs or group teams to create their comic strips together. This approach encourages teamwork and cooperation, with students complementing the skills of their colleagues. The site also provides a structure for students to work individually as they create their own cartoon worlds using their imaginations. Look upon the site as a resource for literacy development and to reach out to engage reluctant writers and readers.

4. Having students fill in talk or thought balloons for different cartoon characters helps students practice conversation and offers a way to practice language structure and vocabulary in a meaningful context.

5. Create comic scenarios, scripts, or stories for autistic students as a way to teach them different kinds of social behavior and to read emotions by observing the faces of the different characters selected for the cartoons. Says one teacher who works with high-functioning students with autism, "I used the comic strips to create social stories focusing on behaviors we want to modify." Creating cartoons in which the characters speak for the creator also provides a way to help autistic and deaf students to communicate.
You can view all the ideas and suggestions here. Do you use comics in your classroom? If you have any tips to share with other educators, please post a comment at the end of this post and let us know.

Monday, September 5, 2011

KidsINK : Explore, Experience, Engage

KidsINK is a one day conference that offers students in Bangalore the opportunity to engage, experience and explore new ideas in the arts and sciences. The day will include speakers, performances and workshops in the areas of visual arts, performance arts, science and technology, and writing.

To read the full schedule and register for the event, click here

Guardian's Children's Books Website

This post has been long overdue. While we have been enjoying Guardian's children's books website which was launched a few months ago, we completely forgot to tell you about it. Well, better late than never!

Launched on World Book Day, the brand new Guardian children's books site has been designed and curated with the help of a dedicated editorial panel of 100 children and teens from around the world. They told us what they wanted, and we did our best to make it happen. And that's how the site will work: by children, for children.

Take a look around: you can read reviews, follow discussions, and watch and listen to the questions our panel have put to top authors, from Jacqueline Wilson to Malorie Blackman, Michelle Paver to Charlie Higson. There's age-themed content, a monthly podcast, a book club, extracts, quizzes, competitions with amazing prizes (win your height in books!) and much more.

The What on Earth? Wallbook

Our managing trustee, Suzanne Singh, just got back from the Jumpstart conference held in Delhi and she will be writing about the conference soon. She also brought back a pocket edition of a wonderful book called 'The What on Earth? Wallbook'.

The What on Earth? Wallbook – Pocket Edition – tells the complete story of planet, life and people from the beginning of time to the present day. This versatile pocket edition includes a magnifying glass allowing younger readers to explore, discover and learn about natural and human history for themselves in a fun, innovative and engaging format. On the back is a 100-question multiple-choice family world history quiz – the answers can all be found somewhere on the timeline (but only if you look carefully enough!).
Christopher Lloyd is the author of this amazing book. I've already spent more than half an hour looking at the book with the help of the magnifying glass provided with it. It is fascinating! Watch this video of Christopher talking about the history of the world in 20 minutes!

A History of the World in 20 Minutes! from chris lloyd on Vimeo.

You can view more videos of the book here and here.

Christopher Middleton finds a new 'book’ delivers the big picture of the past. “Suddenly I had the idea of trying to tell the entire history of the world on a single piece of paper.”

The result is The What on Earth? Wallbook, a 7-foot, six-inch-long chart, which starts out some four billion years ago, with the explosion that triggered the Earth’s birth, and ends just a matter of months ago, with the election of Barack Obama and the global credit crunch.

It’s a feat not just of historical and scientific fact-marshalling, but of sheer stationery logistics, too.

“The only way I could get started was by sticking 16 pieces of A4 paper together and laying them on the floor,” Lloyd says. “My aim was to join up human history with natural history, and demonstrate the interaction between them; to present the big picture that we so often fail to see, because school subjects are taught in such a compartmentalised way.

“And rather than writing a great, long 180,000-word book on the subject, I wanted to create something that people could dip in and out of.”

The result is a truly impressive example of information deployment, in which the reader is presented with a chronological record of all the most significant events in the Earth’s history. Such is the cleverness of the layout, though, that at any one point in the story you can see what was happening at the same time elsewhere on the planet.

So, while hunter-gatherers in North America were starting to use stone tools, Confucius was on a round-China philosophy lecture tour; Carthage was growing rich from trade in slaves and animal skins; Celts were spreading throughout Europe; and Mayans were making high-quality pots and figurines in South America.

Meanwhile, a whole host of other, less human-powered happenings are documented in a series of parallel sections on the chart, entitled “Land, Sky, Sea and Earth”. As well as full-on floods, plagues and other cataclysms, space is also found for more unusual observations: the 20th-century explosion of the rabbit population in Australia (500 million), or the 14th-century Inca postal system, whereby runners were stationed every five miles along key routes, to carry messages encoded in rope knots, or quipu.

In all, then, this wall chart counts as a truly epic undertaking, in terms of layout, typography, design and sheer scale of ambition. Even the timescale has been drawn up according to strict mathematical guidelines; in the first section of the chart, 1centimetre equates to one billion years, in the second section it’s 250 million years and by the very final section it’s just five years.
Read the entire article here.

Anatomical Flap Books

Via Duke University Libraries

Animated Anatomies explores the visually stunning and technically complex genre of printed texts and illustrations known as anatomical flap books. These publications invite the viewer to participate in virtual autopsies, through the process of unfolding their movable leaves, simulating the act of human dissection.

Click here to view more images.

The Confluence : Indigenous Storytellers Festival, 2011

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Via Acoustic Traditional
The Festival of Indigenous Storytellers is an initiative of Acoustic Traditional to build a platform for our disappearing folklorists/storytellers across various tribal communities of India to get together and revive the tradition of oral storytelling towards conserving our rich but dying ancestral legacies from spiritual to cultural to scientific. The event is unique in many ways and will bring in various partnerships to emphasize the need for the preservation of this
disappearing tradition.

Stories are at the heart of any tribal community. With most of our history being passed down by word of mouth in the form of fables, myths, legends, rituals, practices or folktales, it is at the threshold of being lost forever. The Festival provides a great opportunity to revive this important tradition of storytelling through our disappearing storytellers - from shamans to medicine men to the elderly. By bringing them under one roof to share not only their rich folklore but also - and perhaps more importantly - their wealth of community knowledge such as myths, legends, beliefs, practices, medicine, spirituality and so on, all of which are on the verge of near extinction, it can potentially help revive interest in the value of oral storytelling both within and outside the participating communities. With a growing support of expert agencies and organisations, from environmental to developmental, it provides a great stage to bring out the relevance of these stories in the present modern context, apart from the mere pleasure of listening to them.

In many ways, the Festival is about the revival of our tribal cultures and our practices that have had strong links with sustainability and many other critical areas of survival, which are being lost to the modern world. This is the second year of the Festival (the first was organised in Sikkim 2010 with support from the State Culture and Heritage Department, Sikkim Government) and we are glad to open the invitation for storytellers from our tribal communities for their participation in this years three-day event to be held in Bangalore during the last week of September, 2011.

We are organising it in Bangalore this year at the Fire Flies Ashram between the 30th of September and 3rd of October 2011. For registrations, please download the Confluence schedule and registration guide.
Registration/Schedule here.

Click here for more details.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Diary of a Disappointed Book

The Diary of a Disappointed Book from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

This short film tells a disappointing year in the life of a book. Though they might often be our most treasured possessions, it is remarkable how easily books can be neglected, mistreated and sometimes even lost.

Book Review : Laxman's Questions

Via Young India Books

Laxman, a boy from a village in Tamil Nadu, sets off on a Sunday morning on his bullock-cart, to collect bales of freshly cut hay. The author vividly describes the journey to the fields, so much so that one almost begins to experience it - the thudding of the animals hooves on the dirt road, the tinkling of their bells and the chaotic traffic! However, the chaotic traffic poses quite a challenge to Laxman and his bullocks, as people 'never seem to realize that a bullock cart has no brakes!'

On the way, Laxman greets all his favourite flowering trees, the birds that sing, as well as those that soar. And as, he watches them his mind is full of questions. However, no one seems to understand him, except his grandmother. She tells him,that it was alright to ask them for asking, "questions are as important as the answers".

The story not only provides us a glimpse into the life of life a village boy but also sends two strong underlying messages - one is to appreciate the gifts of nature and second, not to hesitate to ask questions. Even when there seems to be no answer to them. Borrowing from the words on a popular advertisement 'Questions achhe hote hai!

Vivid illustrations with a lot of details for children to discover, add to the appeal of the book.
Click here to read more book reviews of children's books published in India.