Friday, March 30, 2012

NCPA Summer Fiesta

The NCPA Summer Fiesta returns in 2012 in a bigger, better avatar, with a wide range of workshops and plays for children.

In 2012 NCPA Summer Fiesta returns to focus on diversity over and above quantity, both within and between workshops. The dance workshops have a range of forms including Jazz, Bharatanatyam and Kathak through which various children's activities such as retelling the Panchatantra will be explored. The theatre workshops include but are not restricted to theatre games, activities, acting, improv, and comedy. Apart from these there will be a few creative writing workshops and a handful of workshops across the spectrum of music, arts & crafts, and puppetry. To ensure that evenings can be a time for the family, the NCPA will once again have children's plays that can be enjoyed by everyone from the 6 year old to Dada-Dadi and Nana-Nani.

Our friend Chintan Girish Modi is also conducting a workshop for 12 to 14 year olds from 2nd to 4th May at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai. Registrations have started - sign up now!

About the workshop :

"Are diaries only for wimpy kids? Can diaries become friends who listen without advising, who understand without asking all the embarrassing details, who can hold secrets without spilling them? This hands-on workshop will get participants to explore how they think and feel about themselves through games, activities, music and stories. Participants will be encouraged to express themselves in inventive ways, with and without words. What if a secret diary is found? We`ll learn about code language too."

To register, go to and look for 'Dear Diary' or email

Messing About with Words to Increase Literacy

The Book Chook blog has an excellent post on having fun with words.

"... I have a strong belief in the power of messing about with words. Children are hard wired to enjoy nonsense, (as are Book Chooks!) and playing with language is something they take to immediately.

Here are some activities we can use to encourage kids to play with language, develop their literacy skills, and have fun. All can be used by a parent, or adapted for the classroom."

What's Missing?

Not really a formal game, What’s Missing is when a parent or teacher leaves out a word and asks children to identify it. It might be during an often-read story or nursery rhyme: “Humpty Dumpty had a great ...” Children will join in enthusiastically to provide the missing word. It’s also great fun when Dad substitutes one word in a story: “So the three bears went off for a walk in the marshmallow.” Giggles and groans of "No Dad!" will greet that one. 

Rhyming Time

Encouraging your kids to play with rhyme is really beneficial to both their reading and spelling. By working out that "stink" rhymes with "sink" they are also unconsciously absorbing that chunk:ink, making it easier for them to decode "pink" and to spell "think". Combine What's Missing and Rhyming Time so children have the fun of providing a rhyme. This can start in read alouds, where you first let your voice slightly emphasise the rhyming pairs, and even slow right down on the rhyming word. Next read-through, leave a little gap and make your voice go up just before the rhyming word, so that kids can jump in to supply it. "Hickory Dickory Dock, The mouse ran up the ...?" This works well with rhyming poetry like nursery rhymes, songs and finger rhymes. 

Magnetic Letters

Having magnetic letters and words on the fridge encourages kids and adults to leave messages for each other, make words, and even create short poems. It's an easy strategy to implement that puts the focus on messing about with words, and makes children's functional literacy part of everyday life. 

Take a look at the entire list of fun activities The Book Chook has compiled. Do you and your family have any fun word rituals?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Harry Potter Breaks E-book Lockdown

When the Harry Potter books finally went on sale in electronic form on Tuesday, it was as if Harry himself had cast the "Alohomora" spell on them -- the one that unlocks doors. 
In a break with industry practices, the books aren't locked down by encryption, which means consumers can move them between devices and read them anywhere they like. 
If "Pottermore," J.K. Rowling's new Web store, proves a success, it could provide a model for other authors and publishers and undermine the clout of Inc., which dominates e-book sales. 
E-books from major publishers are sold in encrypted form today. The text of a book is scrambled so that only authorized devices and software can read it. For instance, a book bought from Amazon can be read only on the company's Kindle e-readers and on its Kindle applications for smartphones, tablets and PCs. It can't be read on Barnes & Noble's Nook e-readers. 
Publishers insist on encryption in the form of "Digital Rights Management," or DRM because they believe it stops piracy. It also helps e-book retailers like Amazon defend their business models, keeping non-Amazon books off Kindle e-readers. 
Charles Redmayne, CEO of Pottermore, says that "Harry Potter" books are probably the most pirated in the world already, even though --or rather because-- there have been no legal electronic versions until now. Fans have scanned or even re-typed the printed books to make them available in electronic form. 
"We believe that people should have the right, once they've bought the book, to read it on any device that they chose to," says Redmayne. 
Of course, there's another reason Pottermore is going DRM-free. It wants to "own" the relationship with the customers -- the Potter fans -- rather than have them go to other retailers. And the only way to get onto all reading devices without dealing with the other retailers is to sell books without DRM.
Read the entire article here.

Fun Fete 2012, Bangalore ~ For Autism Awareness

Via an email sent by Chintan Girish Modi 

About Communication DEALL

The Communication DEALL (Developmental Eclectic Approach to Language Learning) program grew out of concern for the increasing number of children identified with developmental language disorders such as those seen in Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) and the near total lack of early intervention facilities for these children, in India.

Sau Saal Per Sau Kahaniyaan : 100 stories for 100 years of Bihar

Bihar Government, Pratham and Pratham Books worked together to create a set of 100 storycards to celebrate 100 years of Bihar. 

How would these stories be generated? Who would participate? How can a variety of people
contribute to this effort? A writing workshop was organized. Many different kinds of people
participated - government school children, school teachers, well known writers, journalists,
illustrators, artists and cartoonists, professors, even some panchayat members.

Read the report below to learn more about this project.100 Stories for 100 Years of Bihar

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pratham Books Champion : Aparna George

As part of Litworld's World Read Aloud Daycelebrations, we decided to ask our community if they would conduct storytelling sessions in their cities. 50 awesome champions decided to take part and 'celebrate the power of words'. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Today's story comes from Aparna George who conducted a storytelling session in Bangalore. Aparna is a software professional turned homemaker, now having a lot more time to pursue the interests that she has grown to love. Her current activities are kitchen gardening, as well as composting and the related waste segregation activities. She prides herself on moving as close to zero waste as possible.  She has always been an avid reader and have tried to inculcate the love of reading in her children from an early age. Aparna has been a fan of Pratham books ever since she came across us online, and loves the concept of affordable reading, while not compromising on quality! Follow Aparna by visiting her blog :

Aparna writes ...

7th March was World Read Aloud Day - don't you just love the sound of that name? When Pratham Books announced this a few weeks back and asked for Champions to conduct reading sessions all over India, I immediately volunteered. After all reading is one of my favourite activities, and one I try hard to inculcate in my children. So reading aloud to a group of children seemed like my cup of tea :).

I later realized that it was a weekday, so it would be a bit of a task to try to gather children together in the evening, what with all being busy with their hobby classes and their homework. So I went along and asked Neetha Harish who's the Director of Siksha Montessori House of Children that S goes to, if I could do the reading session at their school. She is always open to interesting activities, and also a fan of Pratham Books, so she immediately agreed too and I was all set :).

I received this lovely book called Yakity Yak a few days before the big day, and spent time going over it a couple of times trying to figure out how to make it more interesting for children to listen to. The book is all about a little Yak who (you might have guessed it!) talks a lot and makes a lot of friends because of it :)!

On 7th morning, I landed up bright and early at Siksha, and immediately got into reading to the first group of about 20 children. Now this was my learning group, as I realized that reading the story verbatim was not enough to engage the attention of children as young as 3 years old. With some sound effects (Whoo Whoo Whooooosh!) and showing the pictures while I was narrating, they seemed to understand the story, and asked questions and responded to discussions along the way.

I read to 4 groups of children over the morning, totally about 80-90 children I think, and I like to think I did a bit better with each passing group ;). As they also had Holi celebration in school the same day, we didn't have time to get into any follow-up activity to the story. But I left the book with them, and Neetha will try to have some art/drawing sessions based on the story within the next few days. I will scan and add the results to this post soon :). Below are some photos of the children, one of them taken later as I missed it out on the same day.

For me, it was a wonderful experience, and a learning one definitely as I have never before tried to engage the attention of a varied large group of children. Kudos to the teachers who manage to do this every day of their teaching careers, and in my personal experience the teachers at Siksha excel at it! Thanks to Pratham Books for coming up with this wonderful initiative to introduce more children to the world of books and reading, and may they carry on with publishing many more such interesting and engaging stories for children of all ages.

Thank you Aparna for spreading the joy of reading!

Click here to read the stories sent in by all the Pratham Books Champions.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

Chennai's 'Green' Library

Via Deccan Chronicle (via @IndLit)
Chennai’s first green library has come up on the CPR Foundation premises with more than 6,000 books and journals on environment. 
The library has books on topics such as air pollution, biodiversity, environment education and wildlife. 
CPR foundation director Nanditha Krishna told Deccan Chronicle that the library has more than 400 international documentaries on environmental issues. 
“We want the younger generation to learn about green issues across the globe. This library is open to the public. We want to promote reading on environmental problems and solutions through this library,” she said. 
Government school headmistress Vijayalakshmi, who visited the library last week, said she took notes on water pollution. 
“I want to teach children about water pollution. Many of them do not have access to safe drinking water. All the students have to be educated about protecting the environment and taking safety measures to avoid water-borne diseases. This library helped me a lot,” she said.
For further details contact 044-24346526/24337023.
Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Campfire Young Writer of the Year 2012

Via Campfire

This competition gives you the opportunity to have a go at writing your own story and of winning great prizes in the process.

Who Can Take Part?
 Campfire Young Writer of the Year is open to anyone studying in classes 5 to 9, across India. There will be a winner and a runner up for each class. An overall winner will be chosen from the five class winners.

What Can I Win?
 The overall winner will receive an iPad and an engraved trophy.
The class winners will receive an Android tablet.
The class runners up will win a Campfire hamper.

All winners will have their stories published as part of the Campfire Young Writer of the Year Anthology.

What is this Anthology All About?
 The Campfire Young Writer of the Year Anthology will bring together the stories of the five class winners. Each story will be adapted into the graphic novel format by a Campfire writer and will be illustrated and coloured by the Campfire art team.

Deadline for entries : 22nd April, 2012

Click here for more information. 

IndiaSocial Summit 2012

The second edition of the IndiaSocial Summit 2012 is happening on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th April in New Delhi. Gautam John from Pratham Books will also be speaking about 'The Future of Content' on 4th April (11.45am-12.30pm). 

Via IndiaSocial

Summit Theme

Parallel themes for this year’s conference work upon present needs to scale & integrate and working upon vision for the future.
  • Social is business
Convinced about the impact of social media on brands and organisations, the need has moved to integrating social into organisation wide processes; looking at scaling up presence, size and spends ; developing long-term strategies and programmes; look at usage and participation beyond marketing; measure impact on brand health, marketing success, sales, efficiencies, collaboration, innovation, customer service; understand influence and influencers; and more.

The conference will focus on helping businesses integrate and scale social.

  • Brands for the future
It is no longer good enough to stay on top of the present as things changing rapidly. Let’s take a look at the future; the future of everything business – the future of brands, of marketing, of content, of media, of insights, of reputation, of commerce

It will be a platform for business, learning and community engagement bringing together marketers, media owners, agencies, social media practitioners and the community. We aim to create a unique experience for each participant segment.

Click here to see the list of speakers and to view the schedule. You can book tickets online only till 30th March. 

Pratham Books Champion : Ritika Chawla

As part of Litworld's World Read Aloud Daycelebrations, we decided to ask our community if they would conduct storytelling sessions in their cities. 50 awesome champions decided to take part and 'celebrate the power of words'. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Today's story comes from Ritika Chawla who conducted a storytelling session in Mumbai. Ritika is a second year fellow with Teach for India. She teachs grade 3 at MHB Municipal School in Malwani, Malad, Mumbai. Hery class has 72 students from low income backgrounds and her life revolves mostly around them. Before joining TFI, she was working as a Business Analyst in Delhi. She loves reading, watching movies and talking. Follow Ritika by visiting her blog :

Ritika writes ...

On 10th March, 2012 (Saturday), 70 champions of grade 3, MHB Municipal School, Malad and their teacher celebrated World Read Aloud Day. They read the story - Samira's Awful Lunch. While the teacher read the story, the students asked and answered questions about the various characters in the story including the cow, ants, sparrow, crow, butterfly, etc. and what they ate and why. The students heard the story with rapt attention and were excited to answer every question. 


The activities that followed after the story were learning names of new vegetables and drawing them. The students also drew the characters and named them. This helped in building vocabulary for the kids in a fun learning way. They were also asked to carry to class one food item they did not like. After hearing Samira's story, most of them realised the importance of eating proper food. The session did not end there. After drawing what the students didn't like and answering the reason for their dislike, every child in the class made a promise to atleast try and eat the same once. We also had a discussion on eating a balanced diet and its importance and how everything that we ate contributed negatively or positively towards our body.

On the following Monday, many students shared with the class of what they didn't like and they still tried it. The outcome was that alot of students in the class now don't create a ruckuss over their tiffin and try eating things, such as green vegetables and the most disliked vegetable - bittergourd (karela) has also become a part of their diet.

A story goes a long way in adding to the learning of a person. Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today and I hope the story of 'Samira's Awful Lunch' does add learning to the lives of many children like it did for my students.


Thank you Ritika for spreading the joy of reading!

Click here to read the stories sent in by all the Pratham Books Champions. 

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

Safeena Husain - Rejuvenating Government Schools

Via TEDxTalks

A lack of infrastructure, missing teachers and poor quality of education in government schools keep many parents from sending their children to school, especially girls. In rural Rajasthan, only 1 in 100 girls makes it to class 12 and only 15% of children can read a simple story. In her presentation Educate Girls founder Safeena Husain will demonstrate with practical, first-hand experience how she creates a sustainable environment for empowerment within the communities that will thus lead to systemic change in the Indian educational scenario.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The WISE Prize for Education

Via wise-qatar
Established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, the WISE Prize for Education recognizes an individual or team of up to six people for an outstanding, world-class contribution to education.

The WISE Prize is enhancing the status of education by giving it similar prestige to other areas for which major international awards exist such as science, literature, peace and economics. 
The Laureate receives an award of $500,000 (US) and a gold medal. 
“It is our aim that this Prize should raise global awareness of the crucial role of education in all societies, and create a platform for innovative and practical solutions that might help alleviate some of the challenges which education faces around the world.” Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation 
The inaugural WISE Prize for Education was awarded on November 1, 2011 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, to Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairman of BRAC, before the world media and 1,200 leaders and educational experts assembled at the third WISE Summit held in Doha, Qatar.
Visit the website to find out more details about nominating a candidate. The nomination process for the 2012 WISE Prize is open until March 31, 2012.

Birth of a Book

Birth of a Book from Glen Milner on Vimeo.

A short vignette of a book being created using traditional printing methods. 

The Economist Crossword Book Award

Via Crossword

Objective of the Award:

The Crossword Book Award is one of the most prestigious and popular literary prizes in India. It recognises and rewards the best of Indian writing and ensures that works of merit reach a wider audience.


Crossword is committed to promoting books and the reading habit. We have observed that the institution of international book awards - The Booker Prize, The Commonwealth Prize or The Pulitzer Prize has gone a long way in promoting the awareness and the reading of good books. The authors gain recognition and are rewarded handsomely.

While several Indian writers have won awards abroad, we had observed that there was no equivalent award in India. We therefore decided to take on the role of encouraging and promoting good Indian writing and instituted the Book Awards, in 1998. It is the only Indian award that not only recognizes and rewards good writing but also actively promotes the authors and their books.


The Crossword Book Awards in its 11th year will be given out in the following categories:
Crossword Fiction Award.
Crossword Non-Fiction Award.
Crossword Translation Award.
Crossword Popular Award.The Crossword awards for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Translation & Children’s writing will each carry a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakhs, a trophy and a citation. The Popular Award entitles the winning author to a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh and a certificate.

In the case of a translated book, The Author and The Translator share the prize money equally.

In the case of a Children’s illustrated book, The Author, The Translator & The Illustrator share the prize money equally.

Click here to read the eligibility criteria for each category. Click here to send in your submission for the Crossword Children's Award. The last date for sending entries is 15th April, 2012.

The Sad Demise of Hindi Pulp Fiction

"The origins of pulp fiction in India can be traced back to Jasoosi Panja, an Urdu magazine that was published from Allahabad in the 1950s. Its publisher, Akram Allahbadi, was a prolific writer and trade unionist who produced some of the most popular works in Urdu pulp fiction," says N.K. Verma, chairman of Diamond Pocket Books. Prompted by the magazine's popularity, Diamond started the 'Rs 1 series' of Urdu paperbacks in 1958. A few years later, Hind Pocket Books published the first of its Hindi pulp fiction books, spawning a wave that was to grip the country's Hindi belt. "We had a diverse readership but our primary readers were women," Verma says. 
Sold as an attractive well-rounded package with piquant covers, this original kitsch was popular long before the term 'pulp fiction' became fashionable. Authors like Gulshan Nanda, Surendra Mohan Pathak, Anil Mohan, Ved Prakash Sharma and Ranu were household names, and hugely popular with housewives, college students, frequent travellers, old-timers and aficionados.  
"In the glory days, some 50-odd publishers mass produced these books, since people had little access to other media back then," says Surendra Mohan Pathak, the grandmaster of Hindi pulp fiction. Pathak's Painsanth Lakh ki Dakaiti (The Rs 65 lakh heist) sold more than 25 lakh copies over a period of 40 years, a record which remains unbeaten until today. 
Cut to 1992. Satellite television arrived in India, heralding a slow and painful death for Hindi pulp fiction. The industry witnessed a hard-hitting 80% drop, which prompted publishers to fan out to other genres such as biographies, spiritual and health guides, homecare and self-help books to stay in business.  
As pulp fiction hit rock bottom, writers and their creations slowly evaporated from print and from our collective memories. Even the holy trinity of pulp fiction—Pathak, Nanda and Ved Prakash—couldn't salvage it. "We were the stepping stones from which readers graduated to higher literature. When television stole our readers, we just watched helplessly," says Pathak, a veteran with more than 270 books in his kitty. Today, he feels, the readership is largely restricted to the lower-income groups and aficionados. 
In one of the darkest chapters of the pulp fiction industry, it was discovered that many publishers were employing ghost writers to counter established (and hence more expensive) authors. "Ghost writers demanded peanuts for their work and original authors were gradually discarded," says Pathak. 
In the past, there have been attempts to translate some bestsellers into English. "But it was not until Blaft Publications' translations that Ibn-e-Saifi's and my books were revived in public memory. Since then, I have received numerous offers for film adaptations and English translations," says Pathak. The Hindi industry, too, is trying to change tracks. Inspired by Bhagat's success, young authors are being encouraged to churn out 300-page light romantic novels; it is a different matter that these writers are required to pay Rs 25,000 as advance payments to publishers to print their books, says Pathak.
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tell a Tale : Storytelling Festival

Via assitejindia

 "Tell a Tale" is a festival of German stories in Indian Languages. It'll be assitej India's first event which will be held in 6 cities. The festival is open to all and does not have any entry fees. the festival is organised by our various partners in various cities.

The events in Delhi and Pune have already taken place. Here's the schedule for the events happening in other cities 

23rd March, Kolkata : Max Mueller Bhawan, 8 Ballygunge Circular Road.
10:30 AM
Organized by: JHALAPALA

23rd March, Mumbai : Ravindra Mini, Prabhadevi Mumbai
Organized by: Sahitya Kala Mandir

24th March, Chennai : Max Mueller Bhawan, No.4 5th Street, Rutland Gate
5:00 PM
Organized by: The Little Theatre

25th March, Bangalore : Band Stand, Cubbon Park
4:00 PM
Organized by: Rafiki

Pratham Books Champion : Anitha Jebaraj

As part of Litworld's World Read Aloud Daycelebrations, we decided to ask our community if they would conduct storytelling sessions in their cities. 50 awesome champions decided to take part and 'celebrate the power of words'. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Today's story comes from Anitha Jebaraj who conducted 2 storytelling sessions in Chennai. Anitha is a blogger, trainer, instructional designer, and social media enthusiast. She authors four blogs that include topics such as travel, lifestyle, photos, education, and work environments. She has been working for close to 11 years now. She is a good singer and foodie too. You can follow Anitha on Twitter at @ani_twits and visit her blog.

This is the third time that Anitha has volunteered to conduct a storytelling session. You can read about her previous storytelling sessions here and here.

Anitha conducted her first storytelling session at Violet School. She writes ...

I was delighted to meet Violet School Principal Ms. Lydia at 8:45 am in the morning. She said that as planned she wanted std 3rd to std 7th kids to listen to the Yakity Yak story. But the std 1-2 teachers wanted their children to also join the story reading session. So, after the assembly, the tiny tots sat down in a shady corridor for the story.

I (Pratham Books Champion Anitha Jebaraj) started the session with a short intro to the World Read Aloud Day (WRAD). When asked if they read books outside their curriculum, many of them told that they read Comics ( like Toystory) and Fairy Tales (like Cindrella).

We started the story reading by asking three students to hold up the Yak placards. One of the kids could identify the Yak. When asked what was special about the Yak - they said it was the hair (or fur). I read out the Yakity Yak story for them. The children gave quick answers to questions in between. When asked which proverb will fit well with the story the kids said, " A friend in need is a friend indeed."

Next, around 10 kids read out the Yakity Yak story - one page each. Prema of Team Everest motivated the kids. We wound up the happy event at 10 am. Then we took group snaps. The school management was kind enough to arrange brunch, coffee, and also dropped us back in main Chrompet in their school bus.

A big thank you to Violet School staff, Pratham Books, Litworld, and Prema. Hip Hip Hurray! Click here for more pics of the event.


Anitha conducted her second storytelling session at Advesa Trust. From Anitha's blog ... 

On the evening of 10th March, around 25 kids gathered at Advesa Trust rural library for kids to read aloud Pratham Books stories. Five children read out stories. Swaathi read aloud the "Yakity Yak" story. Santhosh Kumar read "En Udal Pesuvathai Kelungal" Tamil story. Kavitha read "Nilaavum Thopiyum" Tamil Story. Charumathy read "Kazhugum Aanthaiyum" Tamil Story. Lokesh read "Noyutra Parunthu" Tamil story. 

Pratham Books Champion Anitha Jebaraj coordinated the event. She gave inputs on how kids can improve their pronunciation, raise their reading volume/voice, and speak proper English or proper Tamil and not Tanglish!

Click here to view more photos of this event.

Thank you Anitha for spreading the joy of reading!

Click here to read the stories sent in by all the Pratham Books Champions.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

Providing Food for Thought at the 'Reading Restaurant'

Such a great way of celebrating reading while bringing kids, parents and teachers together .

On a recent Thursday evening, Pecan Valley Elementary School Principal Merrill Ramsey, dressed in a formal white shirt and black bow tie, greeted students and their parents near the entrance to the school cafeteria to escort them into the “restaurant.” 
About 20 teachers dressed as waiters bustled around tables covered in white cloths, taking orders from about 50 students in pre-K through third grade and their families. 
The main course wasn't edible, though it was food for thought. On the menu were books, just books, all available for “takeout.” 
At the “Reading Restaurant,” students and their families decide what to order, and a teacher comes over to read their selection with those at the table. Later they take books home. 
While it mimicks a fancy dining room and bookstore — both in short supply near Pecan Valley — the restaurant is an unconventional approach to literacy. 
“I think elementary school is a critical time where you can help kids learn to love books,” said Lauri Peters, a dyslexia specialist at the school for 24 years. “So doing ‘Reading Restaurant' helps put books in hands of a lot of families that don't possibly have books at home to share with their children.” 
It also reinforces the message that parents need to read to and with their children, making it a priority in the home. 
“I think allowing them to choose their book gets them motivated,” Peters said. “I get goose bumps because reading is my love and the goal is to make reading fun. And watching parents reading with their kids gives me a positive feeling of what we can do when we all get involved.” 
“Getting the parents just to come to the school is important because many parents might have had a bad experience in school and they don't feel comfortable in a school,” Ramsey said. “So this event shows we can have fun with them, they get to know staff better and seem more willing to work with us.” 
The restaurant is only open one hour a year. At closing time, every child in the room strolled up to a table full of books — from Dr. Seuss' classics to “Curious George” — selected one and headed home to start Spring Break.
Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our Books Are Now Available on Attano

Over the next few days, we are going to share the different platforms we are available on. Thanks to the power of Creative Commons licenses, many organizations have approached us and gone on to make our content available in different forms, on different formats. Attano is one of them.

The first wave of Pratham Books’ PreSchool Books on theAttano Ebook Reader are now available on Attano is driven by wanting to create to smarter generation of students.

Some of the features of the Attano Reader are :

  • vibrant color rendition and interactive features
  • neatly organizing and storing books for anytime/anywhere access it makes it easy for parents to bookmark pages
  • highlight key points while also offering children the ability to colour and deeply engage with  content.  
31 of our titles are currently available on Click here to see all the titles. Users can read these eBooks on the PC, Android Tablets and the iPad.

Soumya Banerjee, CEO of Attano said, “As an early adopter of Attano’s platform, Pratham Books can now reach new audiences across digital media. In addition to offering titles from Pratham Books to existing users on, we are undertaking an ad campaign reaching high end users on Tablet Computers and audiences looking for Books online. We look forward to scaling our partnership with Pratham Books and bringing more delight into childrens lives. “

About Attano: Founded in 2009, Attano is one of the most exciting companies in the education space in India. With some of the strongest IP and experience in the use of tablet computers and cloud delivery in the education space their unique educational platform brings personalized learning solutions to students anytime, anywhere.

So, try out these books and let us and the Attano team know what you/your child think of them.

Learn more about Attano and the work they do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest is Back

20th March is World Storytelling Day. And we are back with our annual Remix contest - not just for our whacky 'mixers', but also for us and for all the people waiting to read more stories!

Read our book “Jungle School” in English, Hindi and Kannada to all the little ones around you. And if you are feeling more adventurous, dive right into our remix contest.

Forgot how it works? Here's a refresher course: Take the images available here, weave your ownstory and email us the remixed version. We've added a few more images to the pool of images so that you have more content to play around with. You may use how many ever images you want from the pool of images. This year's theme is “Trees”, so be sure to include them on your story. 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? 

Browse through our editor's  remixed versions of the original story.We have one in English and one in Hindi.

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

Contest details:

  • Contest will be for two categories: Above 16 years and below 16 years.
  • 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”
  • Results will be announced on our blog and website on or before May 30, 2012.
  • Got any queries? Email us at
  • The deadline has been extended. The new deadline is 21st May, 2012.
*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.

Book Review : Samira's Awful Lunch

Swapna Raghu Sanand wrote a book review for our book 'Samira's Awful Lunch' on her blog :

At the World Book Fair 2012, I bought a lot of books for my son, Jyotiraditya who loves it when I read out books to him. Wherever we go, I always tuck in two books for him in my bag. And I read out to him whenever he asks. I make sure I keep two new books always because it is wonderful to see my son's surprise and enthusiasm when he sees it. Today, when we went out and were at McDonalds, Adi suddenly asked me if I could read something out to him. I took out a book that I had bought for him. I wasn't sure if he would like it.

Titled "Samira's Awful Lunch," the book is short, simple and well conceptualized. It is written by Bharathi Jagannathan and Preeti Krishnamurthy. Pratham Books is the publisher.

The story talks about a problem we, as parents, tackle every day - kids who don't like to eat veggies.

The story revolves around Samira who doesn't like to eat healthy food.She tells her mom that upma tastes like wet sand and idlies are like balls - you can toss them, catch them in the air but don't eat them! As I read it, I could see my son 'connecting' with Samira totally! He was sympathizing with her 100%!

I wondered to myself:how will the story move on?

It moved very well. Samira meets interesting characters who give her other food options.The options are logical from their perspective but it makes Samira realize that the options her mom gives her is more suited to her palate.

Moral of the story: Veggies taste a lot better and healthier than you think.

When the story ended, Adi said, "Please read it again. One more time."


Click here to buy the book. If you have reviewed any of our books, send us a link to your post so that we can share it with our community. If you want to review a book, but don't have a blog, please email your post to us and we can share it on our blog. You can mail us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Brain on Fiction

On the platform, reading
AMID the squawks and pings of our digital devices, the old-fashioned virtues of reading novels can seem faded, even futile. But new support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience. 
Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life. 
Researchers have long known that the “classical” language regions, like Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells. 
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto (and a published novelist), has proposed that reading produces a vivid simulation of reality, one that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.” Fiction — with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions — offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings. 
It is an exercise that hones our real-life social skills, another body of research suggests. Dr. Oatley and Dr. Mar, in collaboration with several other scientists, reported in two studies, published in 2006 and 2009, that individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective. 
Read the entire article here.

Image Source : moriza / Mo Riza

Storytelling at Rangashankara

(via an email sent by Rangashankara)


The Goethe-Institut and Ranga Shankara's AHA! celebrate World Theatre for Children Day with an exciting event for the young and young at heart. Experienced and talented storytellers draw upon a sackful of best-loved German and Indian stories for children, transporting the audience to hidden places, through adventure, mystery and magic, filling the air with excitement! Look forward to a mesmerising experience! 

Stories by the following performers:

Padmavati Rao (English) or Pinty Akka as the kids fondly refer to her is a storyteller, theatre practitioner and educationist and has worked extensively in Theatre for Children. She has written/directed various plays for children like First Leaf, Robinson and Crusoe and Devil’s Tree to name a few. 

S. Surendranath (Kannada) has worked extensively on Indian mime. He is also trained in the GRIPS Theatre module of Germany, a movement that fosters theatre for children. He is one of the founding members of Sanket Trust and the Sanket group which has plays like Naa Tukaram Alla, Neenaanaadrenaaneenena? in its repertory. 

Arati Punwani-Sunawala (English) founded the Tarantismo Creative Dance Company. She has been dancing professionally for the last 10 years. Arati has also acted in several plays and has chreographed musicals in the city. 

Sundar (Kannada) is a well known Kannada actor and has been seen in Kannada plays like Heegadre Hege and Ratnan Prapancha. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pratham Books Champion : Sujata Suri (Deep Foundation)

As part of Litworld's World Read Aloud Day celebrations, we decided to ask our community if they would conduct storytelling sessions in their cities. 50 awesome champions decided to take part and 'celebrate the power of words'. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

Today's story comes from Sujata Suri who works with Deep Foundation in Delhi. The session was conducted by Sujata Suri. She overseas operations at DEEP Foundation. She is also associated with UNESCO's initiative, A Ray of Hope, and is volunteering as Advisor & Liaison(India). 

We celebrated World Read Aloud Day on the 7th of March, 2012 at Deep Foundation’s flagship reading room – the Henny Penny Libraries located at Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. Deep Foundation’s Library initiative already has 14 such Libraries/reading rooms under it’s wing and we are looking at opening another 11 in the next six months.

Books can play a very important role in shaping our lives and it is a well researched fact that human development is greatly advantaged by reading books. Unfortunately, with the changing times and the advent of the LCD revolution, inculcating a reading habit is becoming increasingly more difficult amongst children. A well read child always contributes effectively and positively towards nation building.

We at DEEP Foundation realize this importance and are attempting to provide a pleasant and fun filled platform for the young and tender minds to expand their potential in the world of books. Henny Penny Libraries , a joint effort by DEEP Foundation and A Ray of Hope – UNESCO Youth Ambassador For The Culture of Peace (, is a modest effort in that direction. Together we attempt to reach out to the underprivileged children who may otherwise spend their entire childhood without ever having read a proper “storybook” and miss the immense pleasure that one gets when they hold a new
storybook in their hand.

Our children come from the neighboring villages of Kishan Garh and Mehrauli and they are children of daily-wage migrant labour.

Today we conducted the session with our older children. Since all of them have started reading reasonably fluently, we experimented with different stories. Each one got a book that they read aloud to the rest of their friends. Subsequently, we tried to create a new story from 3 different stories. We used the Pratham Level 1 and level 2 books for this purpose. That was a fun exercise and we all enjoyed being creative.

Since this was a day before the festival of Holi, the story telling session ended on a colourful note with colour, the traditional “gujiya” and other sweetmeats.

We plan to conduct similar sessions in our Najafgarh centre and also with our younger children at the Vasant Kunj centre this weekend.

Thank you Sujata for spreading the joy of reading!

Click here to read the stories sent in by all the Pratham Books Champions.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

Meet Us At NGO India 2012 and CSR Live Week

If you are in Delhi, you can meet us at two events this week :

1. NGO INDIA 2012
Date : 16th - 18th March, 2012
Venue : Epicentre, Gurgaon 

NGO India is a not-for-profit initiative designed to allow large and small not-for-profit organisations based in India and overseas to network, share best practices and positively engage with key stakeholders from domestic and international corporates, local and national government and the general public.

There are workshops and conferences that you can attend and there is also an exhibition that you can visit to learn more about the participating NGOs.

Visit their website for more information.

Date : 20th - 21st March, 2012
Venue : Epicentre, Gurgaon 

The CSR LIVE WEEK is India's most exciting and comprehensive gallery and exhibition on corporate social responsibility. The event offers a platform to all leading Corporations, Social Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, and NGO's to showcase the social initiatives adopted and supported by them.

Visit their website for more information.

*Our stalls at both these events are mainly for display purposes and not for sale.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Volunteers Needed to Conduct a Summer Camp at Ahambhumika

We've known the Bhopal-based organization, Ahambhumika, for a while now. Subrat Goswami is also one of our champions (1, 2). We received an email from them about the summer camp they want to organize. Here are the details : 

Ahambhumika wants to organize a summer camp for the children of Bodakho village. The dates for this camp are 9th - 18th April, 2012. The aim of the summer camp is to teach the children basic English, computer classes, art and craft activities, paper mache craft, photography and videography. In case you hav another skill which you think the children will benefit from, share your idea with the Ahembhumika team. The age group of the children is between 8-12 years and the medium of instruction/interaction will be Hindi.

During the camp, volunteers will have to stay in the village.

Click here for more details about volunteering for this camp.

Who Decides What Gets Sold in the Bookstore?

Seth Godin writes an excellent piece on what could happen in 'a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores'.

I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography. 
Quoting here from their note to me, rejecting the book: “Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link.” 
And there’s the conflict. We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing. Apple, apparently, won’t carry an ebook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon. 
That’s amazing to me. It must be a mistake, right? 
First, because the web, like your mind, works best when it’s open. Second, because once bookstores start to censor the books they carry (business reasons, personal taste, etc.) then the door is open for any interest group to work hard to block books with which they disagree. Where does the line get drawn? 
I think that Amazon and Apple and B&N need to take a deep breath and make a decision on principle: what’s inside the book shouldn’t be of concern to a bookstore with a substantial choke on the marketplace. If it’s legal, they ought to let people read it if they choose to. A small bookstore doesn’t have that obligation, but if they’re seeking to be the one and only, if they have a big share of the market, then they do, particularly if they’re integrating the device into the store. I also think that if any of these companies publish a book, they ought to think really hard before they refuse to let the others sell it.
[Should YouTube be able to block videos that promote Vimeo? Should Bing refuse to link to Google docs if you search for it? What about the Comcast cable box on your TV--should CBS be off limits?]

Read the entire article here.

Encyclopedia Britannica Halts Print Publication after 244 Years

Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Ed
Its legacy winds back through centuries and across continents, past the birth of America to the waning days of the Enlightenment. It is a record of humanity's achievements in war and peace, art and science, exploration and discovery. It has been taken to represent the sum of all human knowledge. 
And now it's going out of print. 
The Encyclopedia Britannica has announced that after 244 years, dozens of editions and more than 7m sets sold, no new editions will be put to paper. The 32 volumes of the 2010 installment, it turns out, were the last. Future editions will live exclusively online. 
For some readers the news will provoke malaise at the wayward course of this misguided age. Others will wonder, in the era of Wikipedia, what took the dinosaur so long to die. Neither view quite captures the company or the crossroads. 
"The company has changed from a reference provider to an instructional solutions provider," Cauz said. He projects that only 15% of the company's revenue this year will come from its namesake publication, mostly through subscriptions and app purchases. "The vast majority" of the remaining 85% of revenue is expected to come from educational products and services, said Cauz, who declined to provide dollar amounts but said the company was profitable. 
"The transition has not been that difficult," he said. "Everyone understands we needed to change. As opposed to newspapers, we felt the impact of digital many years ago – we had a lot of time for reflection. Everyone is very invigorated. 
"We are the only company that I know of, so far, that made the transition from traditional media to the digital sphere, and managed to be profitable and to grow." 
"I understand that for some the end of the Britannica print set may be perceived as an unwelcome goodbye to a dear, reliable and trustworthy friend that brought them the joy of discovery in the quest for knowledge," Cauz wrote in a company announcement. The product will improve, however, when it finally leaves the space constraints and black-and-white finality of print behind, he said.
Read the entire article here.

Image Source :  miyagisan / Matt