Thursday, June 28, 2012
The organisers told The Hindu that as many 150 publishers with over 10,000 titles would participate in the fair.
It is now branded as the South India’s second largest book fair, next only to Chennai. Timings of the fair have been extended to facilitate book lovers from far-off places to visit the venue.
The highlight of the event is that one author and one publisher would be felicitated and one book released every day.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
|Image Source : Sitomon / Ramón|
Thursday, June 21, 2012
As I started writing this note there was soft music playing on my laptop. Soothing, energising, non-intrusive. Soon other sounds went up in the air...the sound of a car reversing to the tune of a stuccato 'Sare jahan se achchaa', mobiles going off with all strange ringtunes. But now, these irritants don't bother me much - for the mind is filled with music already from over the years: the music of my mother and mother-in-law, and other members of the family - many happy afternoons spent listening to Ranjini, Shubhapanthuvarali and Chenjuruti and other ragams; the music of our children - listening to and singing along with all kinds of music; the music of a faraway land - a young niece stunning us with a solo in a school choir; the music of the hills - an evening of kajris and thumris with a petite senior lady singing along at a dear friend's flat in Delhi - the sweetness that music brings into our lives!
Music knows no borders, they say. Or are there boundaries? For instance, can a washer-boy aspire to learn classical Hindustani music from a maestro? On the occasion of World Music Day, celebrated on June 21 every year, let me introduce a bit of music into your life - in the form of a book 'Bishnu, the Dhobi Singer'. This happy story is written by Subhadra Sen Gupta and illustrated by Tapas Guha, and at 64 pages, it is the first long book published by Pratham Books. Available in English, Hindi, Kannada and Marathi on our online store here. I enjoyed the book, and the music it brought to my mind!
And so I say, thank you for the music....
First, on getting the kids to reflect upon the story:
“Read out the title of the story to your students – Mr Forgetful. Ask them to think about the title and guess what the story might be about. The objective is to get them to reflect on how a title can often throw light on the plot. Elicit answers and put them up on the black board in the form of a mind map. If something sounds silly or weird, do not reject it outright. You have offered students an opportunity to use their imagination, and they might want to let it run wild as they predict what lies in store. It is often great fun to hear the amazing range of things students come up with. There is a lot of scope for laughter in the classroom as they share their thoughts. And there’s just so much more material for stories of different kinds to take shape!
This is what a mind-map could look like: [A box in the middle of the blackboard saying ‘Mr Forgetful. Arrows jutting out of the box, pointing in different directions. Each arrow corresponds to a student response -- 1. forgets his house address 2. forgets to do his homework 3. forgets to switch off lights and fans 4. forgets to have a bath 5. forgets what his mother sent him to buy from the market 6. forgets to brush his teeth]”
Then, on urging them to let their thoughts fly:
“Ask each student to choose an adjective and create a character possessing that quality. For example: Miss Naughty, Mr Happy, Miss Kind, Mr Cruel. These are just examples. Ask students to come up with adjectives. Fill up the blackboard with all the adjectives they come up with. Each student is expected to now write a story in such a way that the quality chosen by them is embodied in the characterization, and highlighted in the events and dialogue.
* Write along with your students. It is a great way to enter their shoes, and feel what they feel like. It is also tremendous fun. You cease to be just their teacher. You become a fellow writer, a comrade of sorts. They will welcome your participation and gain confidence to write their own stories and share them freely.”
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
via The Hindu:
“In my village, Dardpur in Kupwara, there are many children who still don’t go to school. I feel lucky that I came here and I have passed Class 10,” said Dilbar Khoja, who has scored the highest overall amongst the boys at 80 per cent, with 72 in Marathi.
Sarhad Founder Sanjay Nahar said the children make perfect ambassadors for both Pune and Kashmir. “When we got the children, the idea was to inculcate the local culture in them, without disconnecting them from their roots. We didn’t isolate anyone, and they study along with local children. We wanted to inculcate leadership qualities in them,” he said.
You can read the entire article here.
|Image Source : Nathan Naze|
“The heat would melt the tar on the road, as I walked back home from school with friends. None of us would notice that the stiff black leather shoes burnt the feet with concentrated heat. From home I would walk to the British Library, the melting tar would stick to the shoe. Despite all our claims of the lake-generated pleasantness, Bhopal burnt in April and May, as much as the rest of north India.
The library was an air-conditioned oasis. I was willingly lost, hardly noticing the air conditioning. Lost in Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man. Lost in Punch. Lost in Christie, Sayers and Wodehouse. Lost gazing at the stars, in a fascinating atlas of the universe. Lost in Toynbee, Greene and Yeats. Often understanding little but so completely lost, that is how I discovered the world.
For every book I read, I read many more back-covers. I probably learnt more from the back-covers than I did later at my four-year engineering programme.
Last week I took my mother to a shop near the library. While she shopped I went and just stood in front of the library which was no longer there. In its place there was another library, the Vivekananda Library. This was a June evening, not a May afternoon, after 25 years. And out walked a familiar face from the past, from the different library.
Since 25 years change a boy, more than a man, he could not have recognized me. We chatted briefly, all he needed to know was that there was a time that I used to visit the British Library. His lament (in chaste Bhopali) started with “saheb, ab jaan nahi rah gayi” (there is no life any more). He said that they buy books with no thought, often from the shop across the road. The membership has dwindled. The staff runs the place for the salary they get, not for love; it’s a travesty of the memory of the great man whose name it bears.
Both of us were blinded by the dense fog of nostalgia. For me it was the discovery of the loss of the dearest of friends. The only solace being that perhaps things were not as bad as he made it out to be. I went back to my mother, who knows what the library meant to me.When I used to go to the British Library, I also used to visit the Hindi Bhavan, which was my gateway to Indian literature. It had a great collection in imposing glass cases and steel almirahs, but it didn’t have any jaan. I would select the books quickly and get them issued, never linger on, never get lost…..”
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
- Shobha Viswanath, Karadi Tales
- Sayoni Basu, Duckbill
- Praba Ram, Saffron Tree
- Venetia Ansell, Rasala Books
- Ganesh Devy, Bhasha Research Centre
- Vivek Mehra, Sage India
Monday, June 18, 2012
Yoohoo, here are the results of 'The Retell, Remix, Rejoice Contest' that we started on World Storytelling Day! Thank you contestants, for putting in time and effort to dream up stories and sending them to us. And a big thanks to all those who spread the word about the contest, and those who arm-twisted friends and family to send in entries!
Like most creative contests, this contest too had many dimensions, and was therefore tough to judge. Since the theme was Trees, most contestants had tree-cutting as a part of their story. But were they able to bring in humour, drama, the surprise factor? Would the stories hold a reader's interest? Many did succeed. You can check out all the entries here.
Our youngest contestants were five years old. Great to see storytelling being nurtured in the young! The remixed stories had ghosts, magic, time machines, Halloween.... Some people used all the illustrations, some used just one! So finally based on factors like creativity, originality, humour, use of illustrations and writing skills, here are names of the winners:
Below 16 years: Asavari Tiku for The Missing Words
Above 16 years: Priya Narayanan for The Jungle Cinema
The two winners will receive a printed book of their story after it has been laid out by our designers. This competition has been possible because we have released the original book 'The Jungle School' and all the illustrations under a Creative Commons license.A single story has given rise to so many more stories!
We would also specially like to thank five-year old Krutarth Shah for his story in Hindi, six-year old Myrah Raj for her story in Hindi, Meena Cahudhuri for her entry in Bangla, and Vidya B for her entry in Kannada.
Congratulations winners, and a big thank you to all the participants.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The last time I saw her, she was sitting on a peepal tree talking to a book. Smarika Kumar studies law at NLIU, Bhopal, and loves reading, kites and colourful things. She occasionally writes poetry and stories, much of which is deemed insensible.
A guest post by Smarika Kumar.
Last weekend, I finished reading a book called Sylvie and Bruno. One of his not so well-known books for little people, this one was written by Lewis Carroll in 1889. Though like Alice books, it is a weird book, with much apparent nonsense. But as the Red Queen would have said, “You may call it 'nonsense' if you like, but I've heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!"
Lewis Carroll remains one of the most liberating writers of children’s books. Liberating, because in his absurdity only the mind of a child, yet uninitiated into the phony ways of the world, can see sense.
He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk
Descending from the bus:
He looked again, and found it was
‘If this should stay to dine,’ he said,
‘There won’t be much for us!’
Carroll manages to weave out of this absurdity, a beautiful universe where anything is possible. Literally. A child turns into a fairy and a fairy turns into a child, a dodo creates a sea and runs a caucus race, crocodiles fly and porpoises tread on whitings’ tails. This boundless reach of the imagination offers to a child an escape from the usual 'No!' which she gets to hear from the adults all around her as she grows up, and which makes her limit her thoughts to the “practicable”. Today we are too busy training children to fight “the hard reality”, be the winner in a rat-race and to give up on “too crazy” dreams. We teach them to be careful, to be scared of unknown things, and to be planned and securitized citizens of an ordered world.
Like Carroll puts it,
“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle- will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?”
… and thus a world of sad, sad adults is born and thrives.
Carroll’s stories, on the other hand, almost seem to take the child by the shoulders, shake him hard and shout at him, “Helloooooooo! Not what they say! Whatever you want can happen! Whatever you dream is true! Nothing is too absurd! Not practical! Not an adult! Don’t be an adult, pleeease!” As if using all his strength to the last bit to save another child from being drained into the world of fife.
No other writer after Carroll has managed to do what he could, pull a person out of the humdrum of reality, throw him into a world of infinite possibilities and make him believe in the truth of it. Maybe Mother Goose before him, yeah, but certainly none after him.
Carroll reminds us that the world’s crooked wild. And that’s fun!
Purvi Shah, mother of two, was not comfortable with technology and e-books. She preferred reading out stories from books to her children. When an iPad arrived at the Shah household, Purvi's husband downloaded the ‘Annual Haircut Day app' for their three-year-old son. “Annual Haircut Day is one of my son's all-time favourite books. Although I was anti-gadgets, I showed the book to him on the iPad. That was his first brush with gadgets.” Purvi was taken aback at how comfortable her son was with the iPad. “He started flipping the pages and navigating the screen. He figured it all out on his own. Since it was an audio book app, he didn't need me to read out stories to him anymore.” This app, created by Fliplog, is just one among the many storybook apps created for smartphones and tablet computers based on Indian content.
Gautam John, projects manager at Pratham Books, says their content can be copied, distributed and built upon by anyone. That's how a number of their titles have been used to create apps across multiple platforms, by companies such as NineApp, MeMe Tales and Fliplog. Tulika Publishers were one of the first publishing houses to work with content developers to produce digital books and apps across digital storytelling devices and portals. Niveditha Subramaniam, assistant editor, Tulika Publishers, points out that the content for these apps have to be tailored differently. “Content is key whether in the printed or e-versions of a book. The stronger and more imaginative the content, the more nourishing it is for the child. And that is the challenge for publishers like us.”
Read the full article here.
To download our books and enjoy them on various platforms click here.
Pratham Books' search for an illustrator for our proposed book about the Internet is over. We have found the illustrator for this book,through the Internet, of course!
First of all, a big thank you to all the people who sent in entries after reading our blogpost Calling Illustrators for a Book about the Internet! We could not acknowledge each contestant individually, but we do wish to say to each of you how touched we are with your work and your enthusiasm. The quality of work that was sent was so good that we do hope to work with many of you on other books in the future. It's a pity that many contestants who first sent us their portfolios could not follow up with sending samples on time owing to other deadlines.
The world wide web is indeed wonderful for it got us entries from across the globe: from many parts of India, from Cannada, Texas, Colombia, and Argentina, and from an Irish illustrator working in Germany! We wish to specially thank the following illustrators who sent in samples. Wherever available, we have provided hyperlinks to the respective websites here so that the whole world can see their talent:
Pallavi Verma, Lavanya Karthik, Kanika Nair, Mumul Rastogi, Aruna Rangarajan, Avik Kumar Maitra, Ramya Sriram, Smitha Sudhakaran, Elena Duff, Madhurima, Prosenjit Roy, Angela Gallo, and Mollie Gates.
And the person who gets commissioned to do our book about the Internet is......... Kanika Nair from Jaipur! Congratualtions, Kanika!
We believe Kanika's style of illustration and the samples she sent suit the nature of this particular book. We do look forward to working with the other talented illustrators on other book projects. Till then, we do hope you get to illustrate many delightful children's stories. Thank you all once again.
Image: A sample of illustration sent by Kanika Nair. This may or may not be used in the book.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Video games and mobile phones have taken their place. Kid’s favourite characters are no more Chacha Chaudhary, it’s the action heroes in the video games now. Action heroes who flaunt machine guns and have blondes along with them and are on a mission to kill the enemies are the latest idols. Bloodshed and abusive language is also part of these games. But, who cares? Kids are totally fascinated by ‘this’ world.
Rushil Suneja, a Std VI student, cheekily shares, “I don’t like to read comics at all. I only enjoying playing computer games or games available in the phone. Even my parents don’t buy me comic books as they know I would not read them and it would be their waste of money.”
Other arguments support this by saying that internet and television are now used for seeking information and the habit of slow and careful reading for understanding is definitely on the wane.
The mother of a young child Vertika Singh, says, “My son doesn’t even read school books, forget comics. He is mad about toys and the latest gadgets in the market. He loves cartoons but not comics.”
The easiest way to sell yourself short is to compare your work to the competition. To say that you are 5% cheaper or have one or two features that stand out--this is a formula for slightly better mediocrity. The goal ought to be to compare yourself not to the best your peers or the competition has managed to get through a committee or down on paper, but to an unattainable, magical unicorn. Compared to that, how are you doing?
|Story cards retailed in sachet format at small newspaper vendors|
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Trees are very useful. Buffalows can scratch against them. Birds can set up homes in them. Millions of species can feed off trees. Tree trunks come in handy when you're playing hide-and-seek. Or street cricket. Trees inspire great thoughts - what would Sir Isaac Newton achieved without the apple tree?
Well, everyone knows we can't do without trees. Just that there is a vast chasm between knowing something...and doing something with that knowledge. Some suggestions for all of us: buy less, recycle more. Cycle more, litter less. Give more, waste less. Drive less, read more.
Celebrate every day that you see a tree.
To check out some of our books with environment as a theme, look up The Tree, Laxman's Questions, A Walk Among Trees, Forever Friends or our Environment Series. Log in to www.prathambooks.org and buy books online.
Image: Cover illustration by Zainab Tambawalla for the book Laxman's Questions by Lata Mani.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Pratham Books recently launched two delightful children's stories, Kakuche Bal (Aunty jui's Baby) and Babachya Misha (Daddy's Mo), in Pune. They were written and illustrated by well-known children's writer, Madhuri Purandare. Written originally in Marathi, the books have been translated into Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and English. The books were launched in all 5 languages.
Read Sandhya's Marathi report on the storytelling session.
The Marathi newspaper, Sakal, also wrote about the event. Read about the storytelling sessions here.