Friday, April 29, 2011

The Bibliomancer’s Dream

When I read about Alinah Azadeh's installation 'The Bibliomancer's Dream, I tried to look for some pictures online. Sadly, I couldn't find too many pictures of the installation, but the description of the installation sounds great. Here goes...

Via Alinah Azadeh

This large-scale installation took the form of a set of twelve two metre high bookshelves arranged in a circle with writing desks and scrolls attached.

Following the ancient ritual of bibliomancy (the art of divining with books) visitors to the installation were invited to select a book at random and pick a line or verse in order to learn a truth or simply inspire the imagination. Used by many cultures throughout history and each with a preferred text by which to practice the tradition, bibliomancy has long been viewed as a way of seeking guidance or answering a question

Writing their discovered text onto a giant length of ribbon, the wisdom seekers cranked up the scroll by means of a medieval-style pulley which spooled through the bookshelf like flying poetry.

Like some sort of primitive Ipod, The Bibliomancer’s Dream shuffled words and sentences around the library, allowing others to share the magic of randomly created poetry.

“The Bibliomancer’s Dream is a chance to share a playful, universal and poetic practice which I have drawn so much creative inspiration from for my artwork and which my mother brought alive for me as child through her love of the great Persian poets”.

The Bibliomancer's Dream

Image Source : Prodromos Sarigianis

The Man behind Blossom Book House

Amongst the Books at Blossom

Via Citizen Matters

An inconspicuous building on Church Street, Blossom Book House or Blossoms, as book lovers fondly call it, is one of the few surviving second hand book stores in Bangalore. Started in 2000 by Mayi Gowda, Blossoms has grown a few floors in the last ten years without losing its inherent ability to be welcoming and accommodating.

"In 2000, when I started Blossoms, I was hardly 23", began a shy, yet highly energetic young entrepreneur arranging a shelf of books smiling tirelessly at every customer who walks in. Hailing from an agricultural family in Mysore, educated to be an Electrical Engineer, Mayi Gowda believes he took a huge leap of faith when he started Blossom book house. "That was ten years ago. I did not belong to a well-off family and I had to set this place up with my own money", he says.

"Blossoms started as a small store of about 100 Sq. Ft. Since then, we've grown into a 4000 Sq. Ft. store on Church street filled with books across the three floors of the building.

"The biggest problem those days were the sourcing of the books. When I decided to quit my job and start blossoms, I had no knowledge of the business. I set this place up with a collection of my own books, about 1500 of them. Then we started sourcing books from Majestic and later Chennai. Now fortunately we have a huge network of our loyal suppliers from across the country and that problem is well solved".

Drawing an inference from his business he says, "Reading habits among Bangaloreans have definitely improved, if sales at Blossoms is anything to go by. Parents seems to be encouraging children to develop a reading habit and bring them to the store".
The reading habits of Bangaloreans in vernacular languages has also increased in the last few years, he notices. "As a child, I have read so many books in Kannada. Most books will not even have the names of authors on them. But now many Kannada books are being published and there is high demand as well. Byrappa seems to be the most popular author in Kannada", he reckons.
Gowda's business principle is a simple but effective one. He believes that "in any business, if you offer a good price and provide a good service, customers will keep coming back".
On Blossom's ‘buy back' system he says, "A lot of people love reading and so buy books. But once they finish reading it, they either have no space to store them or just have no use for them anymore. In such a case, they can bring it to us and get half the money. We are in the business of selling used books. So it's a win-win for both the parties", he adds.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : johntrathome/John Roberts

Rachel Walsh's Interweb Project

Came across Rachel Walsh's Interweb project and had to share this project with all of you. The brief for Rachel's Interweb project was : “Explain something modern/internet based to someone who lived and died before 1900”. According to her blog, she decided to explain Amazon’s Kindle to Charles Dickens. She also made the actual covers of all the small books she created and the final outcome consists of 40 little books.

Image Source

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The All Bengali Crime Detectives - Book Launch

About the Book:
In a middle-class Calcutta neighborhood, the lives of four recently retired men take an unexpected turn when they stumble upon a crime. Will the unlikely ‘detectives’ be able to catch the criminal? Or will they unravel something even more sinister? The Protagonists grab this exciting opportunity to rise above their mundane existence. They defy the ordinary, stretch their boundaries, and in the process discover something precious. Meanwhile, a lot is going on in the Paara (neighborhood) - a rather difficult match-making process for a ‘wheatish complexioned’ daughter, rivalry between two neighboring clubs over Durga Pujo, squabbles between the ‘outdated’ seniors and the younger members of the local club, attempts at an impossible romance by a road-side Rome…

About the Author:
Suparna Chatterjee was born and brought up in Kolkata. She has traveled extensively, having lived in three continents, before finally moving back to India. The All Bengali Crime Detectives is her first published work. She also writes short stories, poems and adventure stories for children and young adults. Her first musical play Anand and Benaifer has been staged in Mumbai and Bengaluru. Her other passions include traveling, art, music and meditation. She is a volunteer with the Art of Living Foundation. She currently lives in Bengaluru with her husband and daughter.
(Thanks for informing us about this event Chintan!)

Penguin Launches Book Country, An Online Community for Genre Fiction

Via Publishers Weekly

Looking to support and develop writers of genre fiction, Penguin is launching a public beta of Book Country, a free online writing community and publishing services venture. In development for more than a year, Book Country offers writers a place to upload new works and receive feedback and criticism from a community of writers and readers; a place for agents and editors to look for new talent; and eventually the venture will offer a suite of self-publishing services that will offer e-book and print publication for a fee.

The Book Country online community is focused on supporting writers of genre fiction—from romance, fantasy, science fiction and thrillers to a range of contemporary hybrid genres like paranormal romance, urban fantasy and Steampunk. The site is free to use and anyone can get an account and begin uploading writing. However, the site is focused on providing feedback and support to developing writers and all Book Country members must first comment and review at least three works by different writers before they can start uploading their own works.

In a phone interview, Barton acknowledged that while Book Country is focused on developing writers, she expects to find new authors for Penguin through the site as well. But she also emphasized that Book Country will be “publisher agnostic” and encourages editors from Penguin as well as other publishers and literary agents to join the Book Country community.

Although Barton said that Book Country will eventually offer writers self-publishing services (e-books and print-on-demand) for a fee, she said the soft launch of the public beta site will focus initially on building the community.

Book Country members build a profile based on the genres they like to read and can then seek out writers working in that area. Members can “follow” writers, much like other social media platforms, and review their works and receive merit badges for a variety of contributions to the site. Barton emphasized that the review process has been designed to not only highlight the best writers but also to track and rate the most effective reviewers, those whose feedback has been deemed by the community to be the most useful and highlight them as well.

Book Country also features a Genre Map, a cleverly designed interactive literary “map” of the known literary world, that uses a variety of landmark titles in various genres (say Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress for Hard Boiled Noir) to point Book Country members to literary stars as well as literary hopefuls working in the genre.

...Book Country is an effort to discover and nurture writers of sometimes hard to categorize genre fiction. Barton said that when she was an editor she often encountered writing she liked, but didn’t think she could sell. She said that Book Country will offer writers a chance to “prove us wrong when they get rejected. They can show us there’s an audience for their work.”
Read the entire article here.

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Animal School

Our friend Chintan Girish Modi sent us this video some time ago.
An eye-opening reflection on how we view children and how we teach children in our current education system.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

International Postcard Swap for Families

The wonderful Playing by the book blog is hosting its annual 'International Postcard Swap for Families'. Zoe says...

Last year I held an International Postcard Swap for Families. Families from all over the world signed up, sent and received 5 postcards and – perhaps my favourite part – they included details of their favourite children’s books.

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m running the swap again this year and the time has come to sign up if you wish to participate.

The idea is simple – you sign up, you agree to send 5 postcards overseas, including a children’s book recommendation, and in return you will be sent 5 postcards from overseas each containing a children’s book recommendation.

The deadline for signing up is Tuesday 17th May.

1) Who is this swap open to?
All book loving families. The idea is for families to swap with other families so I anticipate most children taking part to be 0-15 years old. I am willing to try to pair up school classes but please email me separately if you wish to do this, and bear in mind that I cannot guaranteed postcards sent will arrive before any school holidays in June or July.

2) What is the deadline to send the postcards by?
Please have all 5 of your cards in the post by Tuesday 31 May. Please don’t sign up for this swap unless you are happy to write and send 5 cards internationally.

3) What should I write on the message side of my postcard?
It’s up to you but given that we’ll all have “met” via Playing by the book please include a kids’ book recommendation – perhaps something very popular where you live, or one of your kids’ favourites.

If your recipients have blogs you could read a few of their posts and comment on them on your postcard. If your kids are old enough they could write the cards themselves. Please consider including you own address – my experience from last year is that recipients are often keen to send a return postcard to those families who send them a postcard.

Past experience of hosting swaps has taught me that swap families are often very generous. Sometimes families include small gifts and letters as well as postcards. If you would like to do this, please feel free to do so but there is absolutely no obligation to do anything more than send 5 postcards.

Really, it’s up to you what you do, but the idea is to send a little bit of fun, joy and a great book recommendation or two around the world!

Click here for more details on how to participate in this postcard swap.

Our Books Reach Epiphany School

In the month of February, we were donating a few of our books and one of the recipients of these books was Epiphany School in Pune. We heard about the school from the Vipul Shaha, a Teach for India Fellow. Vipul told us that there were 6 TFI Fellows teaching at his school and all of them has started a classroom library with many English books. He also said...
The libraries have become a big hit with kids and their English reading fluency has remarkably increased apart from other benefits such as Reading Comprehension. Teach for India fellows do not teach local languages i.e. Hindi and Marathi. Parents have started approaching us pointing out how the kids are least interested to learn these languages and how they see a big gap between kids' level of English and the local languages. If we can include the Marathi and Hindi titles in our classroom libraries, it will hopefully create an interest in these children to learn those languages as well. The Marathi and Hindi teachers too will have an alternative medium to teach their subjects (they always keep asking us for ideas and ways to make their classrooms more fun and creative).

Lastly, about our school--it caters to the marginalized sections of society--kids coming from low income--daily wage earner families. Parents are educated up to 7th to 12th standard at maximum in most cases, English is not spoken by anyone in their communities, semi-slum living conditions, crime, alcoholism, corporal punishment are some of the issues faced at home.
We were happy to send 90 Hindi and Marathi titles to the school Vipul was working at. Recently Vipul wrote back to us to inform us about how the books were being used in the classroom. He says...
The packet of Hindi and Marathi Pratham books were received with great excitement by children in Class 2, 3 and 4 at Epiphany School, Guruwar Peth, Pune. I personally used a Marathi story to conduct a lesson in Marathi (which I had never done with the kids before). I must say that it was the most super-hit lesson in my two years of teaching ever as all the kids could completely comprehend what I was saying, they loved the pictures, found the story extremely funny (the washer-woman gives bath to giants). The books are now handed over to Marathi and Hindi subject teachers. They conduct reading class for kids using these books. Also, the end of the year oral exams were based on these storybooks wherein kids had to read a paragraph or two from Pratham books. Kids love these stories and find them more interesting than the usual SSC textbook.

Thanks so much!

Thank you Vipul for being such a great and enthusiastic teacher and for helping us get closer to our mission of 'a book in every child's hand'.

Summer Sale at Katha StoryShop

If you don't know about the Katha StoryShop, you can read about it here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Revenge of the Octopus - An Exhibition of Toys

The Srishti Toy Lab is conducting an exhibition of toys on 27th-28th April, 2011 at Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore.

Via Facebook (via Chintan Girish Modi)

In an evil plot the Octopus™ is stealing the ability to play from children around the world. He has locked them inside huge apartment complexes, making them study all day long and forcing them to play the cello.

In the Eight Kingdoms™ a rebellion has slowly been brewing, a set of young designers have joined together to create a whole new set of toys, that will liberate children from the Octopus and allow them toy play again. Now to squash the rebellion the Octopus have invaded the eight kingdoms. To free our brave designers and allow children to play again you will need to visit Chitrakala Parishad, on April 27 and 28th. Hope to see you there!

Click here for more details.

Revenge of the Octopus! An exhibition of Toys!! from Toy Lab on Vimeo.

Urban Leaves Summer Camps for Children

Via Urban Leaves (via Indu Harikumar)
In our urban lifestyles, our children have lost touch with their earth, their soil and their food.For them, the milkman gives them milk and all vegetables can be bought at the supermarkets all the year round.

Our lives are getting caught up in this automated world. We struggle to control our environment to suit our mechanical lifestyle. In our struggle to control our environment, under the pretext of food security, we land up eating food that comes half way across the world and is labelled as 'healthy', 'nutritious' and 'fat free'.

Does it not make sense to go closer to nature by making it part of our urban lifestyle?
It is our endeavour at Urban Leaves to learn, share and grow the free gifts and joys of nature, to create an ocean of greenery in the city sheerly by tuning ourselves to the harmony of nature. Such involvement can liberate our minds from the clutter of day to day 'jobs' that we need to do in this urban world just for our survival.

The simple act of harvesting our own food, teaches us that true joy lies in simple pleasures that are spontaneous, natural and humane. Children are most sensitive to such joys, and they deserve to be exposed to nature to learn the magic of creation by the hands on experience of building their own sustainable farms.

For the first time, Urban Leaves announces their Summer Camp for children. Help us to share

Activities :

1. Compost kitchen waste
2. Make nutrient rich soil called Amrut Mitti
3. Plant a veggie, and a butterfly garden
4. Nature trail - Know your trees, birds, butterflies, insects, etc
5. Create wetlands / fish tank
6. Make self watering cans
7. Plant a herb and learn about medicinal plants / home remedies
8. Mosquito control without using chemicals
9. Nature poetry / stories
10. Fun with bird names - anagrams
11. Build trellises, drip irrigation
12. Re-cycle kitchen /wash basin water
13. Know your seeds / masala ingredients

Venue :

Maharshtra Nature Park,
Opp Dharavi Bus Depot,

Timing : 8 am to 10 am

Duration :
1st Batch : 1st May to 7th May
2nd Batch : 8th May to 14th May

Fees : Rs 1200/- per head
You can register for the summer camps here.

If this topic is something that is of interest to you, then read the post about Pushpi Bagchi's book 'A Garrulous Gastronaut’s Guide' and this wonderful interview with Katie Smith Milway ,author of 'The Good Garden'.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deadline Extended : Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest (Just for the Kids)

We've been enjoying the remixed entries for the contest that we ran to celebrate World Storytelling day. And we got a flood of entries around midnight of April 20, the official closing date! The last minute rush! Thank you, folks!

We noticed that most entries have been from adults. Since school holidays have just started, we've decided to give children (below 16 years) some more thinking time and have extended the deadline to 9th May 2011.

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.

The 'Lost' Dr. Seuss Stories

Via npr

Every now and then a treasure-trove of seemingly "lost" literature is discovered. The latest such find is a collection of stories by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. Seuss scholars and collectors have known about these stories for a while, but fans will have the chance to read them in a new book to be released by Random House next fall.

To start with, however — were these stories ever really lost? Random House children's book publisher Kate Klimo says no. "Nothing is really ever lost in this day and age."

Maybe "scattered" would be a better way to describe it. These are not half-written stories found in a dusty attic after the death of the author. These are stories that have already been published. Dr. Charles Cohen, a Massachusetts dentist with a passion for all things Dr. Seuss, simply managed to collect them all in one place.

"They came out in the '50s in magazines," Cohen explains. "And then when the next month's magazine would come in, people would throw away the old one. And those stories were forgotten. And literally it's been 60 years for some of these stories and very few people have seen them."

While doing research on the children's book author, Cohen began tracking down original copies of the stories. But he needed a way to support his habit.

"I would find some of these magazines that these appeared in and I would purchase them on eBay for $2 or $5 from people who didn't know they had these Dr. Seuss stories in them," he says. "And then I would list them on eBay and explain what they were. So a $5 magazine would bring in $200 or $400, and that was a great markup for me."

A Random House art director who worked on the Dr. Seuss books saw some of these items for sale on eBay, and began wondering about them. Klimo says they decided to look up this Dr. Seuss-obsessed dentist in Massachusetts.

"This is Dr. Seuss before his name is synonymous with children's literature. This is Dr. Seuss before we knew him well," says Phillip Nel, a children's literature professor at Kansas State University.

In these stories, says Nel, you see themes and character traits that will become more fully realized in later works. And, he says, you can hear the unmistakable rhymes that are so characteristic of the best-known Dr. Seuss books.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source

Button Book

Indu Harikumar sent us a link to this absolutely adorable book.

Via stephaniebutton

Image Source

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Penguin Threads Deluxe Classics

If you love book covers, wait till you see these gorgeous book covers by Jillian Tamaki. Oh wait, they aren't just any book covers.... they are embroidered book covers!

View more images of the book covers here.

Image Source : Jillian Tamaki Sketchblog

Monday, April 18, 2011

Call for Nominations : International Children’s Peace Prize 2011

Via childrenspeaceprize

The nomination round for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011 has officially started. Organizations and governments have been addressed to nominate a child between the age of 12-18 years old, who they think is performing extraordinary efforts to improve or implement children’s rights for themselves and children in their environment.

In still too many countries children’s rights are not at all or only partially recognized and implemented. The fact that there are children who will stand up for these rights and make sure that they are uphold, is very important. The Children’s Peace Prize gives these children a platform to speak and is a recognition for their work.

Therefore, KidsRights calls out to everyone worldwide to nominate a child who would deserve the International Children’s Peace Prize. The deadline for sending in nomination forms is 10th May 2011. The nominations can be send to

About Children's Peace Prize
The International Children’s Peace Prize is presented annually to an exceptional child, whose courageous or otherwise remarkable acts and thoughts have made a difference in countering problems, which affect children around the world.

Each year the International Children’s Peace Prize Laureate is selected from nominations from all over the world. An Expert Committee assesses the candidates and then selects the winner. The prize money of €100,000 that is attached to the Children´s Peace Prize, is spent by KidsRights on projects that are closely connected to the winners’ area of work.
Click here to read more about the prize and to download the nomination form.

Image Source

Skype Creates Exchange Platform For Teachers

We've been skyping with kids from Central Manor in Pennsylvania for a bit now, so it is great to hear that Skype is creating a platform for teachers to truly make their classrooms global.

Indian summer classroom

Via Wired

Teachers have long been using Skype in the classroom to invigorate lessons, but now Skype has responded by launching a new online platform that specifically caters to the education sector.

Skype in the classroom is a free global community created to allow teachers to find like-minded counterparts to help with relevant projects. The platform can be used to find teachers from around the world who are interested in some sort of shared learning experience. The technology lends itself particularly well to virtual language exchanges and field trips as well as a means for getting expert speakers to join classes from afar.

The platform, which has been in beta since December 2010 and has just launched, already has a community of more than 3000 teachers in 99 countries.

Teachers can sign up to the platform by creating a profile detaling their interests, location and the age groups that they teach. They can then post up their requests onto a central website (such as “seeking Italian-English language exchange project” or “cross-cultural awareness in rural farming communities”) to find like-minded teachers and classes that they can exchange ideas with. They can also search for prospective exchanges by student age range, language and subject.

One example is the exchange between the Villa Maria Academy in Pennsylvania in the U.S. and a school in Chile. A teacher in Chile delivered a talk on earthquake engineering from a classroom in Chile, which was relayed to the U.S. classroom and displayed in front of the students on a large screen.

Read the entire article here.

Image Source : DFID - UK Department for International Development

Asian Festival of Children’s Content


Theme: Connecting With Connected Kids

Once upon a cyberspace, children explored the world through libraries, bedtime tales and story books. Books are still around, but they are looking different. As technology puts media access into children's pockets and bedrooms, how do content makers stay connected with connected kids?

Get the answers at The Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) in Singapore from 26 – 28 May 2011. Organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore and The Arts House, this festival is back — bigger, better and bolder.

Join experts from around the world at Asia's gateway to the international children's content market. Celebrate, contemplate and collaborate on exciting new ways to engage, educate and empower the world's children on a global stage through uniquely Asian content.

About Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Over a billion children in Asia lack good resources, both for their education and entertainment. Those who have the means and the access, benefit from a wide selection of edutainment material available from the West. Asian material, even those available, is seldom promoted and is therefore left unexplored. Bringing quality Asian content to children is paramount as it would make children aware of Asia’s unique environment and cultural values, promote understanding of, and love for, the literary and visual arts. It will thereby lay the foundation for a good and all-round education.
Click here for more information.

Image Source

Friday, April 15, 2011

Call for Entries : DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

Via The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 has issued a call for entries inviting publishers from across the globe to make their submissions for the prestigious USD 50,000 award. The DSC Prize, now in its second year, will be awarded to the best work of fiction pertaining to the South Asian region, published in English, including translations into English.

The winner of the DSC Prize 2012 will be announced in January 2012. The deadline for submissions is April 20th, 2011. Owing to publishers’ requests regarding increasing the number of entries allowed, the eligibility criteria for the DSC Prize has been augmented. To qualify, books must have been published for the first time between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. Publishers can send in up to two entries per imprint; however, one additional entry per imprint may be considered if a publisher sends in a special waiver request.

Entry Forms along with the Eligibility Criteria and Selection Process are available here at the prize’s website at

The DSC Prize is a one-of-its-kind endeavor focusing on South Asian writing. The award is not author-ethnicity driven and is open to any work pertaining to the South Asian region – its people, culture, and diaspora. The DSC Prize brings South Asian writing to a new global audience and aims to raise awareness of South Asian culture around the world. The first DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was awarded to HM Naqvi for his debut novel Home Boy (HarperCollins India) early this year.
Click here for more details.

Waiting for the Harry Potter ebooks...

Harry Potter book series


A date for the release of the most eagerly awaited ebooks of them all, JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, remains tantalisingly unconfirmed despite excitable reports in the Scottish media.

Neil Blair, partner at the Christopher Little Agency which represents Rowling, told book trade magazine the Bookseller last year that Rowling was "actively" looking at "all the options and opportunities" that digital technology offered. But since then there has been no more news, to the frustration of the many fans of both e-reading devices and the schoolboy wizard.

According to the Scotsman report, Rowling is still "actively" looking – but the author's spokesperson insisted there was "nothing more to say". Rowling's print publisher Bloomsbury also said there was no announcement to be made, other than that the latest boxed set, released last autumn, was doing "incredibly well".

"They are the biggest book property of recent decades, with a legion of fans who have read them a dozen times and want to read them again in the way they want," he said, calling the novels "seven guaranteed top-selling ebooks just waiting to happen".

Fans are desperate to devour them in digital form, but publishers will also be eager to see whether Rowling – probably the most famous brand name author in the world – sticks with Bloomsbury to produce her ebooks, or looks to bypass them and go it alone.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : bibicall / Hung Chieh Tsai

Children's Book Apps: A New World Of Learning

For all the parent with iPads and other e-readers, it may be time to hand over your gadgets to the kids!


If you have a smartphone or an iPad, you can download a kids' book app in no time. From classics to stories created specifically as an app, these enhanced e-books include narration, animation and interactive features. Some children are even getting their first exposure to books on a digital device.

Kripalani also has a 2-year-old daughter, Kentia, who loves reading Dr. Seuss — on her father's iPad.

"Boy, she can navigate on that thing — it's incredible," Kripalani says. "There's something about a child's ability to navigate by touching what they want, and I believe that's the magic here. It's just that the child is able to touch the tree or touch the bird or touch the word that they don't know, and that's really one of the things that just changes everything."

"As the app is reading the book, the individual words are highlighting," he explains, "so the child is getting an association between what they are hearing and the actual word that's being spoken at the time. They can also touch on any of the pictures and they get a picture word association, so if the child taps on the cat for example, the letters C-A-T float up and the narrator speaks in a clear voice: cat."

"What a 2- to 4-year-old wants in an app is to poke and be satisfied," says Richter. "So Milo has 80 different touch points and 125 different animations — and they are randomized, so every time the child enters, it's a different experience."

Other book apps developed by Ruckus are less interactive, but they might offer other options: substituting a well-known actor's narration with a parent's voice, for example. Richter says the possibilities are endless. He believes these apps are an entirely new art form.

"People ask, 'Are you creating books, are you creating games or are you creating animations?' " he says. "The answer is yes. That's what we set out to do — books you can play with and games you can read."

However, there are some detractors who say this new breed of children's "books" are not really books at all.

"One is that in a traditional reading experience, the reader is in charge," Nel says. "The reader acts on the book. With an interactive e-book, the reader does still act on the book, but the book also acts on, and depending on the adaptation, against the reader. So I would say it's not a book, it's maybe a relative of the book. But it's not quite a book."

Elizabeth Bird, a children's librarian at the New York Public Library, agrees that some of the bells and whistles in kids' book apps are distracting. She says it's important that all of the artwork and interactive features in an app are well integrated with the story. Obviously, not all apps are equal, she says, but the ones that get it right can take a book to a whole new level.
Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Matchbox Books

The summer holidays are here and if you want to keep your child occupied with some creative projects, we suggest you try making matchbox books like the lovely ones Indu Harikumar makes.

You can view more images of these books here and here. And you SHOULD/MUST drop by Indu's blog and sift through her creative treasure box! Click here to start your magical journey.

Events and Workshops



'Must Reads' is being conducted at Easy Library Bangalore, in collaboration with Kathalaya. Even with children who are readers, classics and good literature go un-picked. So this 5 day workshop introduces works by writers Ruskin Bond, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, E.B.White, and R.K.Narayan. Geeta Ramanujam will start the session by drawing a parallel between these writers and why they write for children. She will read excerpts from each of these writers. Followed by this, trained storytellers from Kathalaya, who are also avid readers themselves, will read aloud works from one of the above writers stressing on language and constructs, and also point out literary nuances that a child might miss while reading on their own. Children will be encouraged to read more at home for a discussion the next day. The workshop is nominally priced at Rs. 500 per child for 5 days, starting from the 14th of April.



Via Aurora Masum-Javed's Facebook event
Date and Time : Saturday, April 16 · 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Location : Jaaga, No. 16/1, Rhenius Street, Off Richmond Road, Opp Hockey Stadium Shanthinagar, Bangalore,

"Impossible Dreams" is a play written, produced, and directed by the 11th grade class of Shanti Bhavan. By dramatizing personal pieces about their own lives, they have created an awe-inspiring production that demonstrates the complexity and beauty of Indian youth.

Shanti Bhavan is a school that provides a safe haven and quality, college-bound education to the most impoverished children in Southern India. Located in a village near Hosur, the school offers medical services, clothing, housing, food, arts enrichment, sports opportunities, and full-day education to its 200+ students.



Via The Hindu

The international theatre festival for children, ‘The Little Festival', is back for its second edition. It will be held from July 1 to 10 at the Museum Theatre, Egmore, and promises to be bigger and better.

The festival features productions for children by adults from different countries, with one production by children for children.

The Goethe Institut and InKo Centre are festival partners, bringing in international productions. The Little Theatre will also be producing an original musical.

The festival this year will be curated, and the theme is ‘Moving…'

Children from all city schools can also participate in three competitions leading up to the festival. The contests include drawing for students in Classes I to V, short story with illustrations (maximum of 1,500 words) for those in Classes VI to X, and short film (maximum 10 minutes) for those in Classes XI and XII, all centred on the festival's theme.

There are a whole host of awards to be won, and the top entries for each contest will be displayed at the theatre during the festival.

Registration opens on April 15.

For details on the festival and the competitions, check out



We've posted this a little late, but if you live in Goa your child can still make it for the 'story writing, illustrating and bookmaking workshop'.

Via Bookworm (via Chintan Girish Modi)

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Via Kavade, Bangalore

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Illustration Love

Another dose of reading and book-related illustrations we've found around the web :

Image Source : Patricia Cantor (via Thomerama)

Image Source : Marina Marcolin

Little Red Riding Hood
Image Source : Tang Yau Hoong

Image Source : Yoko Tanji (sicca)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

WanderMonster : A Father and Son's Collaborative Drawing and Writing Project

If you are looking at starting a collaborative drawing and writing project with your kids, WanderMonster may throw up a few ideas.

WanderMonster is a project of Rob Kimmel Design.

Every day of school, from kindergarten through second grade, I have sent my son off with a sticky note fixed to the inside lid of his lunchbox. Each of these little pieces of colored paper bears a half-completed drawing and a half-written story. I anxiously await picking him up after school to see how he finishes these miniature comics.

Via Get Daddy Some Gin
How did the Wander Monster project come about? Why did you want to do it?

We’ve always drawn together, playing games like “exquisite corpse” and collaborating on pages in sketchbooks. A lot of subway rides have flown by quickly as we drew in my moleskine together. The Lunch Posts started when Ben was first learning simple reading and counting skills back in kindergarten. I would stick a Post It in his lunch box with a drawing of, say, three flying saucers and put a line where he’d have to fill in the number “3″ or I’d draw a lion and write “L I _ N” for him to complete. As he outgrew that and became a more and more solid reader, the lunchbox drawings kept pace with him.

Read the entire article here. Visit WanderMonster to view more Lunch Posts. If you liked this project, you may also like Daniel's Daily Monster project.

The Book Stand on Rokach Street

Stumbled across this photo on Yoel Herzberg's Flickr stream and loved the description of this book stand.

This book stand is situated on Rokach street in Neve Tzedek. It stands unattended all year long, a tin can & a slot in the door, serving as a cash register for passersby who pick a book of their choice. The cats sit on the books, in the drawers, on parking cars, only to give you a lazy stare, as you approach the tiny bookstore. On the door, the lady of the house leaves poems and quotations, to the delight of the regulars and tourists.
Know of any other quirky book stands in your town? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Paper Engineering Gone Wild

Some paper engineering magic to enjoy on a fun Tuesday!


Reputed for his standing ovations at the TED conferences, Rives is easily a wizard with words. He is funny, and he is clever. In this beautifully crafted verbal thrill, he shows us how precious paper can truly be. For Rives it is the combination of math and magic that gets him charged about the craft and the art of paper engineering. No plug in, just play. The result: a sheer origami delight that's a pleasure to watch.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Garden Gupshups

Via A Hundred Hands
Presenting Garden Gupshups. A Hundred Hands programme to encourage kids to get out and play in the garden- to observe, explore and dream while encouraging them to let their imagination run wild.

We are thrilled that Valentina Trivedi, story teller extraordinaire and nature lover, is flying down from Delhi to partner with us and spin some tales. With the Mangoes out already and the parrots and bulbuls arriving, it's sure to be fun!

The prices are for all 6 days inclusive of a picnic and goody bag!

Please sign up for the event by 14th/15th April, 2011.

(Click on the image below for a larger view)

P.S. - Valentina is an excellent storyteller and she conducted a few sessions for Pratham Books at last year's Bookaroo. You can read about the sessions here and here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Summer Course by the Academy of Storytelling

Via Kathalaya

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning with Kabir Workshop - 2011

‘Learning with Kabir’ is a four-day residential workshop for educators, offering a lyrical and critical immersion in the poetry, songs and ideas of Kabir, the 15th century mystic whose voice speaks in powerful ways to our contemporary worlds. The intention is to bring together a diverse group of educators who are seeding and growing ideas for journeying with Kabir into a variety of learning contexts—schools, colleges, universities, non-formal education and children’s publishing – to explore ideas related to mystic poetry, folk music, oral traditions, the politics of knowledge, the divide between self and other and the power of direct experience as opposed to received truths.

While being an immersion in the poetry of Kabir, we also want this workshop to be a platform for educators to share with each other their explorations with Kabir in the classroom. We are aware that each learning context has its own flavour, strengths and challenges; yet we hope there will be synergies by interactions with a wider community of fellow educators. While participants would primarily be persons/institutions who are already partnering in some way with the Kabir Project (, we are equally excited about making new friends and partners.

The workshop will combine structured group exercises with spaces for quiet individual reflection, and there will be lots of singing!

Workshop Facilitators –Shabnam Virmani & Chintan Girish Modi

Invited Folk Singer Resource Person – Mahesha Ram ji, Rajasthan

Venue/s: School for Ancient Wisdom, Bangalore
When: May 18-21, 2011
Where: The School of Ancient Wisdom, Devanahalli, Bangalore

We would like to limit the number of participants to 20 in the spirit of keeping it intimate and interactive, so please mail us at the earliest saying why you would like to join in, along with a brief paragraph or two about your interests, work, and expectations from the workshop. Mail Chintan at, or call up at +91-97427 15913

Travel expenses to and from Bangalore will have to be borne by the participants.

Participants with institutional resources to support workshop expenses are encouraged to contribute.
Image Source

Holiday @ Kavade

Via an email received from Kavade
The theme is to Observe, Create, Play (in no specific order, one leading to another). All these activities require personal attention & hence registrations are limited. Interested participants are requested to register asap/by 25th April 2011. Please note that the activities are an indicative list & will be confirmed along with your registrations.

(Please click on the image for a larger view)

Dates : 2nd-12th May (excluding Sundays)
Workshop timings: 10 am-1 pm (The Bannerghatta visit will be for the entire day).

Meet us at the Jalandhar Book Fair

Pratham Books is participating in the Jalandhar Book Fair which is being held from the 2nd-10th April, 2011. If you live in Jalandhar, drop by the book fair and come meet us. The book fair is taking place at the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall, G T Road, Jalandhar-144001, Punjab from 11am-8pm.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Passing on the Book Bug


In DNA (via Chintan Girish ModiAnita Vachharajani writes:
When parents tell me ‘My kid doesn’t read, what to do?’ I usually ask them if they read. Some laugh out aloud at the quaint notion of themselves as readers, while others look thoughtful and ask if I meant Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul. When I say ‘No,’ they reply cheerfully, ‘Then no, I don’t read. But I’d reeeallly like my kid to read!’

So I explain that to inspire their kids to read, they need to get excited about reading themselves. They look shattered. Obviously I should have said something sensible like ‘Soak three newspapers overnight, blend and pour into a purple glass and then pour into your child’s mouth while holding his nose shut and praying to the sun. You can be sure that he will begin reading on the sixth day!’

Unfortunately, human beings are essentially apes, and we learn by imitation. Little apes watch grown-up apes to figure out what is edible and what is not, what is to be loved and what is not. So if parents value shopping, video games and trips to the mall above all other activities, chances are their kids will too. If parents love football and hiking, chances are their kids will too. And typically, if parents read, chances are, their kids will read too.

So yes, mums-and-dads, the only thing that will get your kid excited about books is you getting excited about them. If you don’t read but genuinely want your kid to, here are some suggestions: buy interesting, age-appropriate books, and read them out to your child. If he or she is too young to get the ‘reading’, then tell the tale. Dramatically, with a sense of fun. While keeping a watch out for signs of engagement and/or boredom. Talk about books, spend money on buying them (yes, that is key) — you could, like us, also trawl through secondhand stores. While your jaw might lock with boredom, chances are your kid might get into a reading habit.

And who knows, maybe it’ll make a happy reader out of you too!
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : courosa / Alec Couros