Monday, December 31, 2012

Bal Vividha Children's Knowledge Festival

Those of you who will be in the vicinity of Jamnagar during 4-5-6 January 2013, please make a note of this!

bal vividha children's knowledge festival of Comet Media Foundation is on at Kandla Port Trust Township just near Vadinar. This time the theme is maths:"Playing with numbers" in keeping with the International Mathematical Union's declaration of the year 2013 as The Year of Mathematics of Planet Earth (MPE).

There will be shapes and structures, origami, rangoli, constructing of 3-D geometric shapes, games of strategy, children's science exhibitions and lots more to do with understanding maths. On sale will be children's literature in Gujarati, English and Hindi, educational
toys and other learning materials.

Contributing to the festival are some of the leading organisations working in the area of science communication in the country: ARCH of Dharampur Gujarat, Adhyayan of Mumbai, Centre for Environment
Education of Ahmedabad, Community Science Centre of Rajkot, Eklavya of Bhopal, Jeevantirth of Gandhinagar, Learning Ladder of Mumbai, Navnirmiti of Mumbai, Origami Mitra of Mumbai, Sarjan of Ahmedabad, Shishu Milap of Baroda. The festival is sponsored by Essar Oil Ltd and hosted by the Kandla Port Trust. The main invitees are the children of government schools in the area, but all others are welcome and must not miss this opportunity.

To prepare yourself to get there: Google up "IOCL Vadinar Gujarat" on Google map, you will get markers A & B. Look a little south east of that, the neighbouring compound is Kandla Port Trust Township, but it
is not labelled by Google. You will see a typical govt housing colony with rows of "quarters" with a squarish football field in the middle of the houses almost at the end of the colony. That is our mela location.

We will be in the squarish field at the end of the township from 4th morning till 6th evening, 9.00 to 5.00 everyday.

If you have any queries about the mela, hop on to the Comet Media Foundation facebook page and ask them.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Our friends from Aarohi wrote to us to inform us that one of the students from Aarohi Bal Sansar was acting in the film 'Hansa'. Suraj Negi, is the lead actor of the film directed by Manav Kaul. The film has already won two 'Best Film' awards: Audience Choice as well as the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) award at the Osian Cinefan film festival.

The film releases in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat theatres today (28 December) and runs through till 3 January.

We've seen the trailer and it looks great! If you are in Bangalore, the shows are at :
PVR Forum Mall, Koramangala: 7.30 PM
PVR Orion Mall, Malleshwaram: 10.00 PM

About the Movie
The Central Himalayas are what most consider an idyllic world. Below the eternally snow clad peaks are several villages. These are largely dependent on agriculture. The roads that pass by them connect them with urban areas, which even now retain an almost-mythical distance. The city however has begun to move in, with resource stress, dubious land deals and conflicts being the result.

The film accurately depicts the issues facing rural Himalayan communities today. Changing land use, urban migration, resource stress are all present in the world that Cheeku and Hansa must negotiate. At its heart, Hansa however remains a story about the resilience and magic of childhood..

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Quick Recap : Contests, Book Fairs and Discounts!

We just realized that we are doing so many things at the moment that it may be tough to keep track of what's happening. So, here's a quick recap to update you on all the fun we are having and all the fun stuff you can be a part of.


It may or may not be the end of the world. But it surely is the last day to vote for our storycard project. The last chance for you to help us win a grant. We need your support and we need it NOW.

(The easiest way to vote is by calling +912261850908 from your mobile. It is free! )



This Christmas you can make a difference by gifting the joy of reading. Gift your little kids books that will help them experience and explore the world of creativity and imagination at its best. We've created different book packs according to different reading levels. Make sure you avail the offers offered this festive season.

To buy or gift the Pratham Books' bookpack, click here.



We also have a stall at the Bangalore Book Festival 2012. The festival includes in depth discussions and forums with prominent authors, over 307 book stalls and thousands of books in different languages.

Be sure to stop by the Pratham Book stall and check out our special book sets and offers!

The book fair is on till 23rd December, 2012
Venue: Tripuravasini, Palace grounds, Bangalore
Stall No: 242



Join us in a special story-weaving contest? We'll give you a set of words, linked to a particular place in India, and you have to dream up a story of your own, using those words.Weave your own story in less than 100 words. The winning stories will be featured on our blog and on our 2013 calendar.

Click here for more details on the contest.

Entries open for children below 14 years only!

The contest ends on 26th December 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pratham Books Calendar 2013 contest

 Pratham Books is all set to launch a special calendar for 2013. This calendar features a different place on every page, so you discover a new location in India with every passing month. Know Meghalaya, Kutch, Tawang, Hampi, Andamans, Gopalpur a little more closely through delightful illustrations and quirky facts that are sure to put a smile on your face! What's more you can weave your own little story and get featured on our calendar!

How to participate:
Choose your favorite place from the ones mentioned below. Take the key words associated with the place and weave your own story in less than 100 words. Winning stories from each place will get featured in our 2013 calendar.
Entries open for children below 14 years only!

Where and how to send the entry:
Send your entries to
The entries need to be sent in a word document.
Entries in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Urdu and Bengali are welcome.
Don't forget to mention your name, age and contact numbers in the email.

Contest Deadline:
Like all good things contest ends 26th December 2012. Only entries with the words given below will be eligible for the contest. Choose any place from the ones given below and use all the words associated with that place in your story!

Choose any one from the word -worlds given below:
•    Meghalaya: Thanksgiving | Jingbam | Riverside | Elephants | Rain
•    Kutch: Wildlife | Script | Ports | Largest | Embroidery
•    Tawang: Hello | Tea | Momos | Noodles | People
•    Wayanad: Caves | Eucalyptus | Elephants | Coffee | Fire
•    Sunderbans: Tiger | Goddess | Tidal wave| Boat | Forest
•    Andamans: Barking | Island | Lighthouse | Japanese | Jail
•    Ladakh: Telescope | Archery | Schools | Trails | Delicious
•    Bastar: Goddess | Myna | Road | Waterfall | Cave
•    Gopalpur-on-Sea: Lighthouse | Sunrise | Dolphin | Crab | Cargo
•    Hampi: Monkey | Forts | Visitors | Music | Stonemason
•    Jaisalmer: Library | Mirror-work | Fort | Border | Sand stone
•    Kolhapur: Chappal | Misal | Demon | Statue | Temples

Some sample stories to get you thinking:
Tawang: Hello | Tea | Momos | Noodles | People
Momos in Tawang
Gyume liked to eat noodles. He liked to eat momos even more. They were big, and steamed, and tasty and made him feel so happy! One day,when all the people he knew were away at work, he walked to the riverside to sit and dream about momos. Suddenly it started raining. A kitten started mewing. Gyume picked up the wet kitten and ran to let it into a hut that he saw nearby. "Hello, anybody home?" asked Gyume. "Oh thank you for bringing Kitty in," said an old lady. "Here, have these fresh momos, boy! And I'll make you some hot tea too. Happy New Year!" Gyume was so happy this was not a dream!

Wayanad : Caves | Eucalyptus | Elephants | Coffee | Fire
We were sipping hot coffee around a campfire when we heard a group of elephants trumpeting in the lush forests of Wayanad. The elephants looked a bit irate. Wonder what had offended them! Akash thought it was because we did not share our coffee and elephants must be coffee lovers. Bindya, influenced by hindi films tried to drug the elephants with a her duppata dipped in eucalyptus oil. This only seemed to aggravate them more! Finally we were able to take refuge in a cave. Ahhhh were those bats that we saw............and then we ran!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This Christmas spread Cheer, Joy and the Love of Reading.

Image source: Pratham Books
With Christmas round the corner and festivities in the air, it is the season to share, care and rejoice.
This Christmas you can make a difference by gifting the joy of reading. Gift your little kids books that will help them experience and explore the world of creativity and imagination at its best. 

Pratham Books brings out a fabulous spread of books this Christmas. Each of these books are put together according to the reading levels. From adventure to travel and animals to vegetables you will find an exciting range under the Pratham Books roof. The various book packs are going to be an absolute delight not just for the kids but just about anyone and everyone. Make sure you avail the offers offered this festive season and spread goodwill.

So what are you waiting for? This Christmas, gift books and spread smiles with Pratham Books.
To buy or gift the Pratham Books pack click here.

What are Story Cards?

Since we've been nominated as one of the contenders for the 'Spark the Rise Challenge', we've been talking about story cards all the time. But many of you may not know what story cards are (by the way : we've already managed to get 10million story cards to kids across India).

So, here's a short little post to give you more information on these cards :

The story of the Storycards is an interesting one! They are a living example of making an effort to reach the last child... Pratham Books has always been committed to increase penetration so that ALL children have access to good reading material. As Pratham's programmes began to touch the lives of more and more children through the READ India Campaign, there was a need for low cost material that could be distributed to the children. This was how the idea of creating story cards out of Pratham Books' titles germinated. In economically disadvantaged states, even the cost of a Pratham Books title would make it a discretionary buy whereas a story card can strengthen and encourage reading at a fraction of the cost and can be an attractive and motivational takeaway for a child. 
Read the entire article here

Rajesh Khar, from our editorial team, adds :

They were dramatically cheaper than books and could be printed in large numbers within the same budget as books/ reading material. The story cards looked different and gave Pratham the option of giving 'individual reading material' to children for the first time.

Educators have mentioned that the story cards are 'not intimidating like the books' for the first generation of rural kids who have barely started reading or are still struggling to learn letters/words. Children can finish a card in a shorter time duration and hence cards are more manageable in classrooms.

Rukmini Banerji from Pratham Books talks about the use of storycards :


Our project is an innovation in the publishing industry that takes learnings from the FMCG industry – a sachet of stories! A sachet that contains 5 different story cards at just Rs. 20. Story cards are cheaper than a book but still have a book-like feel in terms of shape, size, colour and matter! They have helped millions of children improve their reading skills because of their enjoyable stories, colourful illustrations and are presented in a durable, laminated format. The story card sachets will be retailed at kirana stores and railways stations in tier 2 and 3 towns where access to good reading material is an issue.

Empowering parents and children alike by making story cards available and accessible, at a price that they can afford - that's our idea, our innovation, our spark. Like it? Vote for it?

Read the entire project proposal here.


1. Give a missed call from your mobile phone. Call +912261850908 with your mobile phone to vote. A confirmation SMS will be sent to you after your call. Missed call votes will not be accepted from landlines. Only Indian mobile numbers can vote.

2. Alternatively you can also vote via SMS. Type in - MHRISE<SPACE>P06880 and send it to 54646
(Charges : Rs.3 per SMS) 

3. If you’d rather vote online, you can do so by visiting the site, registering on it and then voting. You can't vote without registering on the site.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Know more about our story cards on Facebook

Image source: LeadsFinderSoftware
We have been short-listed for Mahindra’s Spark the Rise challenge and so far we have managed to rake in about a 1000+ votes. However, we need more votes to ensure that the story cards reach the children. The last few days we have extensively bloggged, tweeted and posted about story cards on Facebook. We had a Twitter chat last week where a lot of questions were answered and discussions were held around story cards. This week we are having a Facebook chat for all of you.
Join us for a Facebook chat on the 18th December 2012 at 3pm and feel free to ask us all your questions regarding the story cards. We need your support and votes to help us get to the next level.

Help us make a difference, help us spread the joy of reading.

Join us on Facebook here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Spectacular book show at the Bangalore Book Festival

After the Bangalore Literature Festival, the festivities continue with the same fervour and zest with the Bangalore Book Festival. This 10-day books extravaganza is being celebrated along with the Sahityotsava which aims at promoting Book culture and reading habits among the young generation.

While the Bangalore Book Festival is being held for 10 days, the Sahityotsava will be held for 3 days and will host prominent authors. The Sahityotsava as well as the Bangalore Book Festival will see books and literature from different states and different languages in India come together for a grand display.

Don’t forget to visit our Pratham Books stall there. Our stall number is 242 at Tripuravasini, Palace grounds, Bangalore.

The Schedule for the event is as follows:

Day-1: 14th December, 4.00 pm
Inauguration and Presidential address by: Prof. Chandrashekara Kambara, President of Advisory Committee - Bengaluru Sahityotsava

Day-2: 15th December 2012
Session 1: 10 to 11.30 am - Promotion of Inter Literature Understanding.
Participating Writers:

1. Dr. Rajendra Chenni - Kannada
2. Dr. Su Venkateshan - Tamil
3. Dr. Siddalinga Pattanashetty - Kannada
4. Sri. M. P. Veerendrakumar – Malayalam
Moderator: Sri. Sugatha S. Raju

Session 2: 12 noon to 1.30 pm- Writers and Contemporary Issues
Participating Writers:

1. Sri. Anandan - Malayalam
2. Sri. Devanur Mahadeva - Kannada
3. Dr. Samala Sadashiva - Telugu
4. Dr. Bargur Ramachandrappa -Kannada
Moderator: Dr. Natraj Huliyar

Session 3: 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm - Book Talk and Dialogue with Writers
Participating Writers:

1. Dr. Girish Karnad - Kannada
2. Su. Kandaswamy - Tamil
3. Dr. C. Narayana Reddy – Telugu

Session 4: 4.30 pm to 6 pm - Book Talk and Dialogue with Writers
Participating Writers :

1. Dr. S. L. Byrappa - Kannada
2. Sri. M. T. Vasudevan Nair - Malayalam
3. Sri. Sithakantha Mahapatra – Oriya

Day-3 : 16th December 2012
Session 1: 10 am to 11.30 am - Freedom of Expression and Social Harmony
Participant Writers:

1. Smt. Chitra Mudugal - Hindi
2. Prof. C. N. Ramachandran - Kannada
3. Prof. H. S. Raghavedra Rao -
4. Dr. Ramakanth Rath - Oriya
Moderator: Dr. K. E. Radhakrishna

Session 2: 12 noon to 1.30 pm - Writers and Inter-Linguistic issues
Participant Writers:

1. Dr. L. Hanumanthaiah - Kannada
2. Dr. M. Mukundan - Malayalam
3. Dr. Hampa Nagarajiah - Kannada
4. Sri. Sayad saleem - Telugu
Moderator: Sri. O. L. Nagabushana Swamy

Session 3: 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm - Poets Meet and Recital of Poetry
Participating Poets:

Dr. Viswanath Prasad Tiwari – ( Presiding)
1. Sri. Sachidanandan - Malayalam
2. Dr. Siddalingaiah - Kannada
3. Sri. Nagesh Karmali - Konkani
4. Amrutha Somashekar - Tulu
5. Sri. Utpala Sathyanarayanacharya - Telugu
6. Smt. Vanitha - Punjabi
7. Sri. Kailash Vajpeyee - Hindi
8. Sri. Amar Somoy Alpa - Bengali
9. Sri. Khaleel Mamoon - Urdu
10. Prof. S G Siddaramiah
11. Sri. Srihari - Gujarati
12. Sri. Sowbhagyakumar Mishra - Oriya
13. Sri,Vairamuttu - Tamil
14. Sri. Chandrakanth Patil - Marathi
15. Sri. Chandraprakash Deval - Rajasthani
16. Dr. K. S. Nisar Ahamad - Kannada.
17. Dr.Chennaveera Kanavi - Kannada
18. Smt. Harish Minashru - Gujarati
19. Smt. H. L. Pushpa - Kannada
20. Dr. Ajaikumar Singh - Kannada.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

For the love of asking questions! Lata Mani, author of Laxman's Questions interacts with children at NPS, Hsr Layout, Bangalore

Lata and I reach the venue well ahead of time and are impressed with the wonderful arrangements made by the school management. We are happy to hear that the 4th grade students have a course on writing a novel and are eager to meet Lata as this is their first interaction with an author and they are eager to get first hand tips!

Lata reads from her book “Laxman's Questions” as all children listen to Lata's impeccable English in pin-drop silence. One would think the kids were rather silent, but just as Lata asked if anyone had a question we saw a room full of hands go up in the air. The first question itself saw all 90 students get divided over their response - Is this book fiction or non-fiction?

Children were curious to know how Lata became a children's book author. And the story was quite cute! Lata's nephew gautam who stayed in the US had made Lata promise him that she would write stories for him. Thats what got Lata started. The bright students then came to the next question – Why did she choose this topic for the story and Lata took the kids back many many years when Bangalore was not so developed and from her room window she saw children climbing tamarind trees and kids riding bullock carts. It was this experience that she wanted to familiarize Gautam with and thereby developed the plot of “Laxman's Questions”.

Why did you decide to become an author? How many days did you take to write the story? How did you choose which questions to add in the story? The questions continued and we were not complaining!

About the author:
Lata Mani is a historian and cultural critic who began writing children’s stories at the request of her nephew Gautam. Her first two books for children, The Tamarind Tree and The Spider’s Web were published by Tulika Books in 2009. She has also authored the book Laxman's Questions, published by Pratham Books.

About the book:
Laxman’s head was full of questions: Why did seeing a bird fly make him happy? Did the birds who saw him feel just as happy? Read this book to see if you have such questions too.

Pratham Books -BLF outreach:

This session was conducted as part of an outreach program preceding the Bangalore Literature Festival. Pratham Books took the excitement of books right into the schools across the city. Pratham Books reached out to schools that were part of the Deccan Herald Newspaper in Education (DHNIE) program and also to Government and community libraries through Akshara Foundation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Find answers to all your questions on the Story cards

Illustration in Progress II
Since the last few days you have read and re-read our blog, tweets and Facebook posts on Spark the Rise and our story cards. Pratham Books has been shortlisted in Mahindra’s Spark the Rise challenge. We need your support through votes to help us move to the next level in the challenge - to help us get tons of storycards in the hands of children.

While we have tried to get through our idea of the story cards through blogs, Facebook posts and tweets, we would be more than happy to answer your questions, hear about your ideas, etc. Join us on 13th December 2012 at 3pm on Twitter and feel free to ask us questions about the project and the story cards. Make sure to send your tweets with the hashtag #PBCards.

Tweet your hearts out and help us spread the joy of reading!

P.S - In case you don't follow us on Twitter, our Twitter handle is @prathambooks.

Image Source : eston/ Eston Bond

Pratham Education Fellowhsip

What is the Fellowship?

The Pratham Education Fellowship is a full-time, paid commitment that aims to develop talented graduates and young professionals into leaders within the education sector of India. Fellows will work in various different roles, directly impacting low-income schools.

The fellowship program provides a challenging opportunity with on the ground experience in implementing large-scale education interventions. Pratham will provide fellows with rigorous initial training followed with ongoing skill and leadership development.

In the upcoming year both available fellowships will be with the Learn, Out of the Box Program.

What Fellowships are offered?

We are currently offering two distinct fellowship opportunities:
  • Management Fellowship – A two year fellowship program where fellows will develop their management skills by directly managing a field team of up to 10 people to implement the project in specific states.
  • Training Fellowship – A one year fellowship program where fellows will be developed into Master Trainers who will then work directly and closely with school teachers, providing them training and support through the program.
Learn more about the fellowship. The deadline for the fellowship is 4th January 2013, 5:00 PM IST.

The Great Build-A-Taranaut Contest

Via Taranauts

It’s time to get crafty! The next book in your favourite series – Taranauts: The Magic of the Dazl Corals – is due out in May 2013! If you want to be part of the mastastic eighth and final book, Do.Not.Forget. to take part in the Build A Taranaut contest. All winners will not only get super prizes, their names will also appear in the book!


All you have to do is what the contest line says – you have to BUILD A TARANAUT! Actually, you don’t have to stick with Zarpa, Zvala and Tufan, you can build ANY CHARACTER you like from the Taranauts series.

Does that sound exciting or what? Rush to for more details - and get building!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Water conservation discussed with Pratham Book's “The Lakes of Darbhanga”.

Dodda Banasawadi Upper Primary school welcomed us with a large playground, freshly painted walls and a loud 'good afternoon Miss chorus from the children. Bhavya, a translator at Pratham Books and a young enthusiastic story teller had agreed to conduct 3 sessions here as a part of BLF outreach. The story was the same for all the sessions: Darbhanga Keregalu (Lakes of Darbhanga) written by Anupam Mishra and illustrated by Prashant Soni. The story talks about a Pandit, who keeps up his promise made to the midwife who helped deliver his first child and how the Dai uses the wealth for the welfare of the whole village.

The idea was to present the story with varying degrees of simplicity depending on the grade and engage children in a water conservation dialogue.

We started with a bunch of 30+ 5th grade students. They enjoyed the story. They had a heated discussion over whether the Dai did the right thing by spending the wealth on the lakes. Many felt she should have provided better housing to folks. The conversation concluded with the idea that judicious use of water is most important.

6th graders about 30+ students wanted to know what the crucial problem was that led the king to seek a young boy's advice.  Bhavya used her imagination well in answering that as the author has not specified the reason in the book. Here the details got more vivid and the conservation methods used in India were discussed at length. The children mentioned that around the corner from their school the local administration was building a lake to hold water for future use. The librarian confirmed this little piece of information with us.

7th grade students could read the book themselves; they also read the BLF English banner haltingly. They enjoyed the story. Again housing seemed to be first choice to spend the wealth on. It perhaps reflected the conversations at home and the aspiration for a better environment. The story session concluded with a task of children locating Bihar on the India map and marking Mithilanchal district.

The Headmistress and the students invited Pratham Books to return soon with more stories, while we returned with the satisfaction of having done a job well.

Vegetables play their part in the BLF outreach program.

As a part of the BLF outreach program in association with Deccan Herald we went to Devamatha Central School, Vidyaranyapura.  Radha HS, author of Onion’s Shawl was there to tell the onion’s story to a bunch of happy kids of the 2nd and 3rd standard. She started with some chatter about how vegetables are different looking, how no one vegetable is the best or the greatest. Then she read the story, discussed how everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Children looked in amazement as she added and subtracted words to form new words. With these rebus puzzles, she formed some vegetable names with pictures. She also asked children if they are aware of alternate uses for vegetables, as in dyes and decoration.
For the older class, she introduced them to parts of the book like the spine, the front page, the back page, the stapling, stitching, using gum for binding etc. She also talked about the process and the people involved namely the author, the illustrator, the printer, the publisher etc.
As the session drew to an end, the children had come up with many more words  and were brimming with happy smiles for they had learnt maths of a different kind.
(Car + (parrot-par)) = carrot! Have you ever tried addition and subtraction with words like this?  If not, give it a try.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meet us at the Bangalore Literature Festival

Yesssss, quite some action planned for this weekend at the first Bangalore Literature Festival!

Pratham Books, an outreach partner of BLF, is bringing Sringeri Srinivas to town, and this quirky farmer is looking for some fun! Join this long-haired character created by Noni, also known as Rohini Nilekani, as she narrates his crazy adventure in her book Annual Haircut Day. City-based theatre company Version Dot One will engage children in a dramatic expression of the stories.

On Day 2, we'd like you to join us for a short musical tour of India, with its delightful seasons. Mala Kumar , author of the Rituchakra series will read from the 5-books set while Manoj Seshan will provide the music in ragas associated with each season. After a coffee break on this wintry day, you are invited to stay on for a smart science session. Roopa Pai, author of the popular Sister, Sister series will talk about mad motorcyclists in the sky. She will also team up with Cloud Mentor to show you how to experiment with science. 

8th December, 3.30pm Annual Haircut Day with Noni (Rohini Nilekani)
Near Banquet Hall, Jayamahal Palace

9th December, 3.15pm Season's Greetings! with Mala Kumar
Near Banquet Hall, Jayamahal Palace

9th December, 4.40 pm Curious Questions about Science with Roopa Pai
Near Banquet Hall, Jayamahal Palace

There are other events also happening as part of 'Makkala Koota' - the special section for children's children. Check the schedule for more information.

And while your tiny tots are busy having fun, you can also attend some interesting sessions at the  Bangalore Literature Festival! Click here to view the entire schedule.

The Times of India also carries an article on 'Young readers can book a date with writers at the Bangalore literature festival' : 
"As part of the run-up to the BLF, we created an outreach programme, during which we organized reading and storytelling sessions in various Bangalore schools in collaboration with Pratham Books," says Shinie Antony, co-founder of the festival who has also authored a children's book, 'Goddy Tales'. Close to 1,000 children from various city schools were entertained by authors like Roopa Pai, Kanchan Bannerjee, Radha HS, Mala Kumar and Vidya Mani, translators Bhavya M and Meera Tushar, and author-illustrator Greystroke. 
During the three-day event, three sessions with children will run parallel with the festival proper. On Saturday, Pratham Books founder and author Rohini Nilekani will interact with kids while reading from her book 'Annual Haircut Day'. "The children's section at BLF is a small step towards creating a larger ecosystem for children's writing in Bangalore and in the country; an ecosystem that will include writers, illustrators, designers and readers and will foster the growth of this often-neglected section of Indian writing," says Nilekani.
Pratham Books editor author Mala Kumar will take an interesting session on Sunday, that will incorporate reading (from her Rituchakra series of books on India's seasons) and music, with vocalist Manoj Seshan performing ragas associated with each season. 
Author Roopa Pai, whose fantasy series for young readers, Taranauts, was a huge hit at the recently concluded Bookaroo children's litfest in Delhi, will also conduct a session on Sunday, on her other series 'Sister Sister', answering questions that will demystify science. 

Pratham Books kicks off the outreach program at BLF with Happy Maths.

 As the Bangalore Literature Festival outreach program kicked off, our Editor Mala met some bright and happy students.'What would you ask for if you had a king who was ready to grant you anything?' asked Mala, while narrating the story of Vidyasagar and his strange request. The students of class 4, Deccan International School came up with many strange and not so strange requests and then the author of the Happy Maths series revealed that Vidyasagar asked for a circular plot of land with a certain perimeter.

This and many other interesting things came up at the outreach programme that Pratham Books has been doing in partnership with Deccan Herald's school programme and Akshara Foundation. Pratham Books is the outreach partner for the first Bangalore Literature Festival that starts on December 7, 2012. In her second session at the school, Mala narrated the story of Vinoba Bhave's pious mother and their experiments with rice grains. "There is a machine in Punjab that can count rice grains," insisted one student. On the whole, much number-crunching and tall tales happened in such a lively manner that the kids lost track of time and almost missed their school bus home! She really should have read from her book Time and Money, the third in the Happy Maths series.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Help Pratham Books Spark a Rise!

We've got some great news! We've been shortlisted as one of the contenders for the 'Spark the Rise Challenge'. We could win a grant to execute the project we've submitted. But we can only do so with your help and your votes! We need only a few seconds of your time (promise - just a few seconds).

The project we've submitted is a 'multiple language story card sachet'. As low cost as our books are, we have always believed that we need to experiment with innovative formats to push the price points lower and we are on the verge of breaking new ground with our story cards (mini books) in an ‘accessible & affordable to all’ sachet format .

A kirana shop with a Pratham Books Story Card Sachet
Success of our story cards at schools has inspired us to think of ways to reach these story cards to children at an easily accessible kirana store or a shop around the street corner in a sachet. A transparent sachet contains 5 different story cards at very affordable price point of Rs 20. Each story card is a story written and illustrated to fit a folded A4 size paper in 4 colours and laminated to last for at least 2-3 years. And these come in many language options too!

Story card examples

Story card sachet

We stand to win a grant from the Spark the Rise challenge and WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT to make this dream real. We need your backing now! A phone call, an SMS or the click of button is all we need to help bring these story cards to stores in India. 

Help Pratham Books reach out to many more children and readers
 by voting for our project on Spark the Rise.


1.  Give a missed call from your mobile phone. Call +912261850908 with your mobile phone to vote. A confirmation SMS will be sent to you after your call. Missed call votes will not be accepted from landlines. Only Indian mobile numbers can vote.

2. Alternatively you can also vote via SMS. Type in - MHRISE<SPACE>P06880 and send it to 54646
(Charges : Rs.3 per SMS) 

3. If you’d rather vote online, you can do so by visiting the site, registering on it and then voting. You can't vote without registering on the site.

Thank you for your votes :)

P.S - If you have any queries about the project, please write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

Rukmini Banerji from Pratham talks about the use of storycards

Pratham Books is a book publisher with a difference and with an audacious mission – to see a book in every child’s hand. We were founded on a cold January morning in 2004 and who would have imagined that in eight years we would have published 1570 children’s books in 11 Indian languages, distributed 10 million books and 10 million story cards to over 1,10,000 schools and libraries across 21 states and with a readership of over 25 million children.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Madness Mandali invites entries for The Water Glass Project.

Image source:  Madness Mandali
The Madness Mandali is back with their yet another innovative and adventurous venture aptly named The Water Glass Project. This creative group consists of professional poets, painters, designers, photographers, musicians and theatre troupes who are habituated to combining the beauty of written words with the
effervescence and vitality of light and colour, which is finally topped off with the dynamism of performance art.

The Water Glass Project (TWGP) is a month-long, concerted fiction novel writing challenge, where teams of two to five writers will be expected to write an original novel with more than point-of-view. The length of the novel should be between 20 to 30 thousand words. The winning novel will be published and promoted by Madness Mandali at no cost to the winners.

The challenge will run from 1st January 2013 to 31st January 2013. Registrations will be accepted from 1st December 2012 to midnight of 30th December 2012. Entry is FREE for anyone except those who have published an entire novel (self-published or otherwise). Those featured in journals and anthologies are welcome to participate.

To know more click here.
To register for TWGP click here.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our experience at the Bookaroo Fest.

Our Editor Mala Kumar writes about the Bookaroo Lit Fest in Delhi.
We've just got back from wintry Delhi after a wonderful time at the fifth edition of Bookaroo Lit Fest. Many of our authors and illustrators were at the 3-day event in the beautiful Sanskriti Kendra. The lawns were full of colourfully dressed kids. Clearly, both parents and children were spoilt for choice since there were so many interesting sessions happening simultaneously! We caught a large number of little kids hanging on to every word as our author Anupa Lal narrated a funny ghost story. We watched children reciting kadak-KADA-KADDAKKK as they followed Paro Anand's story about Bhabhloo Bear, illustrated by Suvidha Mistry. Natasha Sharma, author and illustrator of Kaka and Munni, had her hands full being the wicked Kaka, and the narrator, and getting children to make colourful collage work.

My colleague Manisha and I read from our books, the Rituchakra Series, illustrated by Priya Kuriyan. May I say that it was the perfect weather for an event around the seasons! A nip in the air, breezy, wintry sun! And the singing by Sanghamitra Ghosh was so melodious, and the little bit in Raag Miyan ki Malhar so true, that it actually rained! Umm...well, we cheated---our colleagues Rajesh and Suraj made it 'rain' while Sandhya waved a dupatta to create the ambiance. The next day's session was a reading from our newest book, Rukmini Banerji's Counting on Moru, illustrated by Nina Sabnani. As a tribute to Moru, the fellow who loves numbers, and to the great mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujam, whose 125th birth anniversary it is this year we conducted a maths activity. The beautiful terracotta horses at the open museum of terracotta art lent themselves very well to mathematical problems indeed!
From one book fest to another, we've jumped right into being the outreach partners for Bangalore Literary Fest. More about that in another blog post.