Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Illustrated heroes solve the mysteries of Chemistry.



The mention of chemistry brings to mind complex chemical equations and odours that make one cringe their nose. Chemistry has always been true to its name and while most of us studied it because we had no choice, its mystery still shrouds many of us including me. Everyone who has been through high school will surely have not so fond memories of memorising the Periodic table.

With its massive collection of 118 elements, the periodic table has a lot to say than just sit their respective boxes in the textbook. The mere look at the periodic table is known to bring out yawns and learning about them is sure to invite sleep. However, this perception was changed, all thanks to the efforts of the Japanese artist Bunpei Yorifuji.

His book aptly titled “Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic table personified” is a great way to learn the Periodic table in the most unforgettable way. This comic inspired take on the Periodic table is a complete fun way to learn and understand the elements and their characteristics. The book expresses each element with a view, attitude and style that reflects the chemical properties of the element, era of discovery and natural states. With a variety of beards, hairstyles and style these micro-vignettes enthral their readers and bring them to a point where science gets as whimsical as ever.

This book is a must read for everyone who wishes to befriend Chemistry rather than just memorise it. With chemistry and creativity walking hand in hand, this book is definitely a fun way to know the elements better.

Get to know the elements better here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Story telling like never before at the Kahaani Festival.

Picture source: http://www.kahaanifestival.com/

Stories and story telling have always been a part of our lives. We all have grown up with stories narrated to us by our grandparents or parents. In a way, these simple stories have been instrumental in making us the people we are. However, we are currently living in a phase where reading and story telling have been reduced to a dwindling tradition.

The Kahaani Festival sponsored by Pathways Schools, Teamwork Productions and Pratham Books is all set to revive and reinvent the art of story telling. This festival is going to be a celebration of story telling, where stories will be told in the form of poetry, puppetry, music and just about every possible way.

Packed with story telling sessions by some of the best story-tellers and performances that will educate and entertain, this festival is definitely going to be a colourful riot of stories, expressions, voices and creativity.

The festival will be held on the 17th and 18th of November 2012 at Pathways School, Noida. Be there and experience the richness, grandeur and glory of a dwindling tradition as it revives itself. The festival is free for all and open to everyone.

Read more about the Kahaani Festival here.

November celebrates the Picture Book Idea Month.

Source: PiBoIdMo 
There have been a lot of contests for writers of all genres. With the NaNoWriMo coming up in November most writers would put themselves on a literary abandon for 30 days and nights. However, all those who love picture books can now put themselves on a PiBoIdMo abandon which is the Picture Book Idea Month designed on similar lines of the NaNoWriMo.

The challenge includes creating 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. First started in 2009 to compete with the NaNoWriMo, this challenge has found a great following and lots of participants. The number just keeps increasing year after year. There are some prizes to be won too. The brainchild of Tara Lazar, a picture-book writer herself, the PiBoIdMo has been an inspiration for many.

So join the bandwagon and let the creativity talk through pictures.

To know more click here.


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Mumbai Lit Fest is back!

Image Source: http://www.litlive.in/?cat=3

Festivities are in the air. Be it the Navratri, Durga Puja, Dusshera or the Mumbai Lit Fest, festivities are truly in the air. The fest is going to be an absolute delight for all the literature aficionados. First launched in November 2010 by Literature Live, this event has grown to become bigger and better.

This year Mumbai will again host The Third Mumbai International Literary Festival from 31 Oct – 4 Nov 2012. The event this year promises to be more exciting and entertaining for everyone. With a record hundred plus novelists, poets, writers and thinkers participating in the main event, of which as many as 30 will be from abroad. With literature related plays and events lined up for the evening apart from the Experimental theatre, this festival is going to be much more than just books and poems. Live performances and plays are going to add more flavour and zing to this festival.

With workshops, reading and writing sessions for adults and kids, The Tata Literature Live Lit fest is sure to make an impact on every visitor’s mind. A festival promises to be a great combination of intellectual fare and mind blowing performances which will make not just the Mumbaikars but everyone attending it want more.

To know more about the Mumbai Lit Fest 2012 click here.

NaNoWriMo comes calling….

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/people/ajwalkley/

Ever wondered what it would be like to have literary abandon for 30 days and nights? Though the name sounds silly, but the objective of the NaNoWriMo is anything but silly. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a platform and opportunity to all the budding writers to cook up their very own novels.

November is the chosen month for all those writing aficionados to brew up their thoughts and concoct a novel in 30 days time. The word count for the novel is 50,000 words, which is approximately 175 pages. The NaNoWrimo is open to just about anyone who wants to write. It is not about what or how you write; it is all about crossing the finishing line with 50,000 words woven in sentences making perfect sense.

While the NaNoWriMo is mainly designed for the adults, the Young writer’s program is designed to suit the needs of the young writers. They do not have a word count to follow and the word count allotted to them varies for different age groups.

What is NaNoWriMo: Whipping up a novel of 50,000 words from scratch.

Who can participate: Anyone and everyone who loves, likes and wishes to write.

Why participate: For the fun of writing and expressing your creativity in an unleashed manner.

When: Join the list anytime. All you need to do is register on the official NaNoWriMo website. The writing begins on 1st November 2012 at 12:00:01, to make your name in the winners list you need to submit the entry on or before 30th November 2012 at 23:59:59.

Whether you are a published author, first time writer or a writer who writes for the fun of it, just sharpen your creativity and get ready to go on a writing spree. I am ready, are you??

Writers who want to be a part of NaNoWriMo can register here.

To know more about NaNoWriMo India click here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fighting bullies and bullying with books.

Source: Publishers weekly
Bullying has been a part of everyone’s childhood; many of them have been the victims of bullying through school. This has been one prominent reason for many children to stay back home and avoid school. Many countries have seen a number of tragic incidents due to bullying.

October is a month dedicated to preventing bullying and hence been aptly named the National Bullying Prevention month. Bullying has taken such an ugly turn that it has given rise to a number of support groups and campaigns. With the number of tragic incidents on the rise, parents and others have now taken an active initiative against bullying.

Children should be made aware of bullying and its effects.This time Spookley, the square pumpkin is the spokes-pumpkin for the second time this year. Spookley is the star of the popular book The Legend of Spookley, written by Joe Troiano and illustrated by Susan Banta. This pumpkin will educate and inform children about how to handle and prevent bullying, through a digital toolkit which contains Spookley videos and a lot of other anti-bullying resources and books.

Read more about Spookley and his fight here.

Frank Cottrell Boyce bags the Guardian Children’s fiction prize

Source:blog.schoollibraryjournal.com

The Guardian Children’s fiction prize for the year 2012 was awarded to Frank Cottrell Boyce. This is one of the unique awards which is judged by the writers. In its 45th year now, this award has a prize of ₤1,500. With this award in hand, Frank Cottrell Boyce joins the likes of Alan Garner, Dick King-Smith and Diana Wynne Jones who have been popular names in the children’s literature circuit.

This book by Cottrell Boyce was the most unusual winner amongst all, because it was not written for commercial purposes. Cottrell Boyce was commissioned to write the story for charity by the Liverpool based Reader Organisation. 50,000 copies of this book were given out for free. Cottrell Boyce won the race by beating Roddy Doyle, the late Russell Hoban and Eva Ibbotson, to win the grand prize.

This is not Frank Cottrell Boyce’s first achievement in the field of children’s literature. He also won the Carnegie medal in 2004 for his novel named Millions which was later made into a movie by Danny Boyle in the same year.

The judging panel consisted of Julia Eccleshare, editor of the Guardian’s children’s books along with authors Cressida Cowell, Tony Bradman and Kevin Crossley-Holland. The judges claimed that the “The Unforgotten Coat” contained a reflective and insightful message which was rolled well into an humorous story in its original state.

The story talks about two brothers from Mongolia who are studying at a school in Bootle, Merseyside, however, situations force them to return to their homeland. The story is narrated from the perspective of their friend Julie who is almost as old as them.

Inspired by a true story, this book is a must read for everyone. Do read this interesting tale of two brothers and their homeland.

Read the full article here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Say “No Violence, No Silence” the poetic way with Prajnya

Source : www.prajnya.in

Gender and sexual violence have been topics which have been always been brushed under the carpet. The silence on these issues only aggravates the problem. It’s time to break the silence and voice the concerns loud and clear. Prajnya invites anyone who likes to write, to come and voice their concerns in the form of a poem.

The topic for the poetry would be Gender violence in any form. The poetry can be written in either a Haiku or the Tanka format. The entries will be accepted in three languages i.e.; English, Hindi and Tamil.

This is not a competition and hence there would be no winners, however selected entries will feature in the Origami Poetry Books. The last date to submit the entries is 10th November 2012. So get started and voice your opinion in a poetic way.

For more details click here.

The Bookwallahs are here….


 The Bangalore Literature Association and Asia Link invite you to The Bookwallah Travelling Writer’s Festival.  This is an event one shouldn’t miss, where else would you find 6 writers, a nomadic library which has spanned a distance of 2000kms by train.

The Bookwallahs arrive on the 9th November 2012 and will be hosted at the Bangalore International Centre. The team includes Chandrahas Choudhary, Annie Zaidi and Sudeep Sen along with Australian writers Michelle De Krester, Benjamin Law and Kirsty Murray. The team will travel across South India all through November, presenting public events along with a lot of conversations and making connections as they move along.

This tour is a part of the Bangalore Literature Festival which will be hosted from 7-9 December 2012 at the Jayamahal Palace. This event aims to bring out the who’s who of the literary world in the city.

So be there at 6pm on the 9th of November 2012 to welcome the Bookwallahs and share some conversations, connections and smiles.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wimpy goes Digital!

Image Source Natalius.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is quite popular with a lot of children. For all those who have read the book will know well about Greg and his adventures. Known to be a realistic fiction novel as stated by Wikipedia, this one has garnered enough praise and applause. It also had the distinction of being named the New York Times bestseller.

The book shows the struggle of a middle school goer Greg Heffley and the instances he faces and the soupy situations he keeps landing in. Written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, this is an adventurous tale of the funny things that one encounters while growing up.

While the latest in the series, the seventh book will be out in November, readers can now read the old books in new way. Starting October 30, the books will be electronically available as e-books. The e-books will come with their own Wimp e-book logo. The latest offering in this series will be released simultaneously in the e-book and hardcover formats.



Read the full article here.

These are a few of my favourite children’s books….

conjure_real

Reading can be monotonous especially if the book lacks the bright and vibrant illustrations. It is these illustrations that trigger the wheels of the mind to get started and imagine a story just as effortlessly as one would watch a movie. I belong to a generation where reading meant extensive feeding on the Jataka tales, the Panchatantra and the good old Chandamamas and Tinkle. The next level from here included reading Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and the likes. Then came the era of magic and wizardry and Harry Potter became a hot favourite of the entire generation. Soon there were books like Eragon which fuelled the imagination that the Harry Potter series had started.

All through, one thing didn’t change and that was the joy that reading got along. The books, the stories, the smell of the fresh pages and the excitement to know how the story shaped has not changed much. To this day, these books are read with the same enthusiasm and zest.


Here goes my Top 5 list

1.    The Panchatantra, The Jataka tales: These books will always stay on the top spot because they were and still are the ones responsible for arousing the curiosity in a child’s mind.

2.    Tinkle magazine: With each character so distinct in memory, this one definitely needs a mention. Be it Shikari Shambu or Suppandi, their fame and name are both unmatched and unforgettable.

3.    The Giving Tree: This book by Shel Silverstein has an important lesson to teach. Based on the story of a boy and his love for a tree is put up in the most lucid and touching style. While the book talks about the tree and the boy during his growing years and how the tree stump proves to be useful to the boy, now an old man, even after it is cut down.

4.    How the Grinch stole Christmas: This heart warming tale by the Dr Seuss is one of my all time favourites. The Grinch and his effort to steal Christmas takes a setback when he realises that happiness comes from sharing and caring. With these two in tow celebrations are always possible even without grandeur. This book celebrates the true spirit of Christmas with simplicity.

5.    Everyone Poops: This book by Taro Gomi and Amanda Mayer Stinchecum is a humorous, yet a scientific approach to learning the natural processes. A part of the ‘My Body Science Series’, this book talks about poop and its importance and comparison to other living creatures in a humorous way. One of the most ideal books for children getting their potty training.

What are your favourite books?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Children's Dreams - Our Spanish Connection




Last year, Roger Omar from Spain read about Pratham Books in our blog and wrote to us. This magazine editor had a fascinating collection - of dreams! "Since 2002 I have been personally collecting dreams written by children in different countries. Now I am printing some accordions fold-mini books, each one containing six illustrated dreams dedicated to the city where the dreams were collected," he wrote. Roger's work has gathered into a book of dreams, El monstruo decolores notiene boca (The Colored Monster Has No Mouth). He asked illustrators from around the world to illustrate the 150 dreams. After visiting our Flickr pages and website, he wanted to join us in our mission to promote reading and books among children in India. He translated a set of dreams written down by children in a village called Villavva in Navada, Spain, our colleague Rajesh Khar translated them from English into Hindi. Roger got the dreams illustrated by Fred Blunt, Madrid-based Ernesto Ramírez designed the book, the Pratham Books team worked on the Hindi layout, and soon 'Orange Pajamas' was ready for the world.



Roger supports the idea of free education. So after he shipped a box of mini books, we distributed them to kids in India. The pictures here show children reading the dreams of children across the globe, sitting in the Akshara libraries in Bangalore.


You can see more of Roger's wonderful project here. Thanks a ton, Roger, may all your dreams come true!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chuskit on the Big Screen!

http://www.flickr.com/people/prathambooks/

Remember Chuskit, the little 9 year old girl from Ladakh who finally went to school despite all odds? Chuskit is back and this time her story will unfold on the big screen. The endearing story of this little girl is going to make watching it come alive on screen worthwhile. While the book was well received, it also saw some extremely talented people churn out their own versions of the story plainly on illustrations. The Retell, Remix and Rejoice with Chuskit Contest held through April and May 2010 saw some exciting and enthralling stories from the participants. The best part about this contest was that it was also open to the print impaired people, thanks to the efforts taken by Inclusive Planet. While Vibha Batra and Aakash Pandey were the winners, the response shown and the efforts taken by all the participants were highly commendable.

The journey of Chuskit from print to larger medium is really worth applauding and a matter of joy for Pratham Books.  Documentary filmmaker Priya Ramasubban, after spending a decade of making documentaries is now moving a step ahead and venturing into filmmaking with Chuskit as her first project. Inspired by the story and her sister Vidhya’s extensive work in Ladakh, Priya couldn’t think of a better story for her first endeavour. In an interview with Citizen Matters she spoke her heart out about her experiences, her views about the book and also the challenges to be faced while handling a project like this. Another important thing about this feature film is that fact that Priya hopes to crowd fund this venture of hers.

To help Chuskit come alive on the big screen you can contribute here.

Chuskit goes to School can be ordered here.

Read the full article over at the Citizen Matters Bangalore blog

Update:

It was a successful fundraising campaign and the money was raised with seven hours to spare!

Creating a Storm with Makkala Toofan and Child Rights

Dear friends, we sure have a right to watch interesting programmes on TV, and a new Kannada programme promises to be a sensible and fun-filled watch.


Our friends at the Concerned for Working Children (CWC) have invited us to watch the series, and we're looking forward to it. Via CWC: The Concerned for Working Children, a Bangalore-based NGO recently nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2012 is proud to announce the launch of Makkala Toofan TV programme. Makkala Toofan will begin broadcast from October 21 (Sunday) at 12:30 pm on DD Chandana. It is a programme made with the participation of children and offers a media alternative that is fun and educative. In each of the Makkala Toofan episodes, celebrities speak about children's rights. The celebrities who feature in Makkala Toofan programme are Mr. Chandrashekar Kambar, Mr. Suresh Heblikar, Mr. Rahul Dravid, Mrs. Vasundara Das and Mr. S. G. Vasudev.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ramleela strikes again, this time with a difference




After the monsoons and just before the winters come calling is a period of time which is full of festivities. The magnificent Navratri is more than just dancing away doing the Garba and the Dandiya. Each day has a unique significance, a rich historical legacy and story of celebration.

The festival is a commemoration of the triumph of good over evil. The legend of Prince Ram artfully and dramatically put forward in an enjoyable way for anyone and everyone. Ramleela is not just a story telling blog but an experience one must not miss.

From the blog:
Ramleela is a resource site for youngsters who are fond of stories and love to act. This site will provide fun and interesting plays for young people of different age groups which they can act out themselves among friends or siblings at home or in the neighbourhood. The plays are simple and short, with no elaborate preparations or extensive caste required. A couple of cut-outs or props made of chart paper and simple homemade costumes, and you’re all set to perform. The dialogues are ready for you to learn, and if you want to create your own, well, so much the better!
Read more about Ramleela here.

Khan Academy turns a lifesaver in the dearth of teachers and textbooks


In a country as big as India, quality education has become a matter of concern. The teachers and the teaching quality are both dwindling at an enormous rate. This means many students are devoid of the basic quality education they deserve. In a scenario like this, the Khan Academy has risen like a messiah; this America based free tutorial service has made teaching and learning both easy.

Source: www.scooptoo.com
Schools in India are already using their services to strengthen their basics in Science and Maths. This is not all, the Khan Academy and its online tutorials have also been instrumental in preventing absenteeism, helping boost scores and in worst case scenarios take the place of teachers themselves. However, the real challenge exists in ensuring that all these videos are understood and accessible to the children. Dubbing the 3,400 Khan Academy videos into even three regional languages is indeed a massive task. 

Khan Academy is the brainchild of Salman Khan, a Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus. His simple tutorial videos made for his cousins had managed to not just teach them but at the same time make them quite popular among others too. This was when the Khan Academy came into existence. With grants from Google and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this humble academy has managed to reach out to a lot of students all over the world. India accounts for almost 3-4% of the users and also makes them the third highest traffic generators for the website.

The Sree Karpagavalli Vidhyalaya Middle School is an apt example of how the Khan Academy came to the rescue of this private school which was struggling to hold its roots. The online lessons not only meant teaching a concept but also ensuring that the student understood it well and at his or her pace. Taking a note from this a number of affluent schools are now turning to these online tutorial videos to teach. This means that the teacher spends more time interacting with the class and discussing ideas on a broader spectrum.

Education system in India needs a revival and a healthy one for that. The Khan Academy is like a step towards it. It cannot completely bridge the gap between students and teachers, but it is here to make a difference for sure.

Read the full article over at the New York Times India Blog.

Introducing Nimisha...




I am Nimisha Shirodkar, a Goan by lineage but born and brought up in Belgaum, Karnataka. I have a Masters in Medical Microbiology but a heart that loves to write. Working in the healthcare sector has its own pros and cons albeit I chose to change my path because I wanted to be associated with a job or work that allowed me to speak my mind out. Be it talking for hours together or writing for hours together I can happily do both.

I was an early reader, however, I was mistaken to be an autistic . That didn’t really matter because words had a magical effect on me. I was slow with numbers, for a matter of fact I still find it terribly annoying how alphabets get converted to numbers in algebra. Books have ruled my life ever since I learnt to read, a virtue which I owe to my mother who used to teach. I never really had career plans, not that I was less ambitious, it was just that I had made up my mind that I would do anything that was associated with books.

This was how I started working as an Academic and content writer precisely 4 years ago. I was pursuing my Post-graduation then. I now freelance as a consultant microbiologist, writer and editor and also train school children for competitive exams. I also train students from the rural background in English and communication skills.

The reason I chose to apply for this internship was ofcourse because it dealt with books, but another reason why I wanted to be associated with this internship was mainly because the idea appealed to me. Being a tutor and a teaching students belonging to different age groups I realised that most people lack reading skills. Making students realise the importance of reading is what I aim to do. I am well aware of the fact that I would not have much interaction with students or children in this internship but it will definitely help me work on my writing styles and skills. This internship is like a platform as well as a learning ground for me to not just enhance my skills but also learn a great deal.

This internship will definitely be a great experience because it is going to help me understand the finer points about the widely used social media and its uses. It will help me use my creativity. To sum it all in a nutshell this internship is going to help me widen my views and knowledge about the social media which in one way have evolved to become the windows to the world.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Knowledge by Identity

We're always excited when people tell us how they have used our books. And so we took permission from Arnab B. Chowdhury, founder-knowledge architect, Ninad, to share the email he had sent us. Arnab's case study titled 'When Technology Meets Health Care in Knowledge Society -Aurosiksha: online learning platform for blindness prevention workers' was one of the top four papers selected at SEARCC 2011 seminar (South East Asia Regional Computer Confederation). Thanks, Arnab, for sharing our book 'Forever Friends' with your nephew Ahan, and a big thank you for sending us this mail too!


"Interestingly, I have been experimenting with a couple of Pratham books with my 1.10 year old nephew - Ahan, for the past four months. One of your books has provided a perfect tool for him to learn to identify animals and human relationship via the illustrations - using both English and Bengali. He started this identification process via the sounds that each of the animals makes :) He is also pretty high on musical intelligence and dances with the metronome and all genres of music. This experiment has added an interesting food for thought to our pedagogy research on Sri Aurobindo's Integral Education system where 'Knowledge by Identity' is one of the advanced cornerstones. Interestingly, every year, we submit an action research report on observed practices centered on Integral Education to DSIR (Dept. of Scientific and Industrial Research, Delhi) on behalf of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. So thank you and your team @ Pratham Books!!


Photograph by Arnab B Chowdhury,of little Ahan taken during one of the many interactive learning sessions with 'Forever Friends'.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rohini Nilekani on Pratham Books

Rohini Nilekani in an interview to Kavitha Rao of The Christian Science Monitor:

Image: Namas Bhojani for CSM

"My mission is to put a book in every child's hand," says Rohini Nilekani. That's an ambitious goal anywhere, but especially in India, where there are more than 300 million children, most of whom can't afford books, or even read. 
Ms. Nilekani is founder-chairperson of Pratham Books, a nonprofit publishing house that uses innovative ways to tap India's vast market. 
"The children we reach are first-generation readers," she says. "Their parents probably don't know how to read. They may never have bought a book in their lives." 
Set up in 2004, Pratham Books is an offshoot of Pratham, one of India's largest nonprofit groups, which supports education across India. 
"Pratham was already teaching millions of children, but there was no [high-]quality content out there. What there was was too expensive," Nilekani says. So Pratham Books was set up to bring "as many [high-]quality books as possible, as cheaply as possible, in as many languages as possible, to the unreached child," she says.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Here comes the camel bearing prizes....


Finally, our camel has ambled up to our office to deliver an important consignment.......a list of winners for our poetry contest that we announced in August to celebrate the launch of our book 'Here Comes the Camel and otherpoems' by Prayag Shukla.


Thank you contestants for all your entries! We enjoyed going through them, and were thrilled that so many of you had been bitten by the poetry bug. ( Click here to view all the entries received) Since we had set no rules other than that they should be original, judging them was quite a challenge - how do you compare a cute little poem about a potato with a serious one about the environment? How do you weigh a haiku written by a primary school child against a poem written in verse by a middle-schooler? We looked for original, well-written poems that flowed well, and lifted our spirits. 

So dear contestants, if you don't see your name on the list below, please do not feel too bad....just write another poem! Some had sent poems they'd written earlier and won prizes three years ago. Some children had probably not understood that we asked for original poems. Thanks anyway, for copying them on paper so nicely and even drawing colourful pictures around them. We even got one lovely poem that was first written many years ago and was published in a collection called A Child's Own Book of Verse in 1917.
The sun and the rain in fickle weather
Were playing hide and seek together;
And each in turn would try to chase
The other from his hiding place.
At last they met to say, "Good-by,"
And lo! a rainbow spanned the sky.
And finally congratulations to the following contestants.

English: Below 16 years:
Ruhee Parelkar - TheSick Class
Aishwarya - Do yourBest
Kritika Narula - Forthe love of Love
Treya Mukherjee - IWonder
Imran Alexander Batra - Imran's Time

English: Above 16 years:
Sonali Chaudhry - Gobble the Ghost
Tanya Srinath -Lumos
Vidya Vasudevan - The Potato

And in true Pratham Books' multi-lingual ishtyle here are a few reflections on the language entries - and yes list of winners too!

Language Category: Hindi

अंतर्राष्ट्रीय साक्षरता दिवस पर जब प्रख्यात हिंदी कवि प्रयाग शुक्ल ने एक सादे से समारोह में बच्चों को अपनी कुछ कविताएँ गा के सुनायीं और प्रथम बुक्स की प्रतियोगिता की घोषणा की तो कोई नहीं कह सकता था कि इतनी बड़ी संख्या में बच्चे कविताओं में और उनको गाने में रूचि लेंगे | देश के कई भागों से बच्चों ने प्रतियोगिता के लिए अपनी नन्हीं कविताएँ भेजी | न केवल बच्चों ने बल्कि १६ वर्ष से अधिक के युवाओं ने भी अपनी कविताएँ भेजीं ! इन सभी को पढ़ के वास्तव में आनंद आ गया | जैसे प्रयाग जी की कविताओं ने सहज ही सब के दिल में प्रवेश पा लिया, वैसे ही सभी प्रतियोगियों की कविताएँ भी सुनने, पढ़ने वालों के मन में भाषा की मिठास और उसकी मुस्कान घोलती रहेंगी, यह हमारा विश्वास है और उद्देश्य भी ! जितनी प्रविष्टियाँ हमें प्राप्त हुईं, उन सब से कुछ को चुनना अति कठिन कार्य था परन्तु सभी को पढ़ने के पश्चात कई कविताएँ स्वतः ही अन्य की अपेक्षा थोड़ी अधिक उभर कर कईं, उन प्रविष्टियों को हम यहाँ दे रहे हैं

१६ वर्ष से अधिक की प्रविष्टियाँ :
  1. ममता  शर्मा  की बुलबुला 
  2. धनञ्जय पाण्डेय की  डरना  नहीं  है 
  3. कमलेश कुमार  की प्रेरणा 

१६ वर्ष से कम की प्रविष्टिया :
  1. लावण्या की  जल 
  2. सहज अरोरा की  पढाई का बोझ 
  3. अनमोल  थापा की मन करता है 
  4. रिद्धि सिंघानिया की ईद 

Language Category: Marathi
मराठी विभाग 
प्रथम क्रमांक - नंदिता शेंडगे.
कवितेचे नाव- माझे मन 

मराठी विभागात, १६ वर्षाखालील गटात, अकरा प्रवेशिका आल्या.
'माझी आई ' ते  'डॉक्टर बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर' एवढ्या  विविध  विषयांवर मुलांनी कविता पाठवल्या
कोणताही  विषय  मुलं कवितेचा म्हणून बघू शकतात, त्याचं हे उत्तम उदाहरण !
नंदिता शेंडगे हिने पाठवलेली 'माझे मन ' ही कविता यातून निवडली गेली. ' उंट चालला' मधील सहज- सोपेपणा, त्यातला ठेका, गेयता नंदिताने या कवितेत चांगली पकडली आहे'माझे मन '  म्हणायला अगदी सोपी आहे.
काही स्पर्धकांना मात्र चांगल्या कवितेतील ओळी, शब्द  ढापायचा मोह आवरता आलेला नाही. कदाचित लवकरच त्यांना त्यांच्या स्वतःच्या  कल्पना आणि शब्द सापडतील. निदानपक्षी मुलं कुठल्यातरी कविता वाचतात, त्या त्यांना आवडतात हेही त्यावरून दिसते
काहीच वाचलं नसेल तर नक्कल तरी कशाची करणार? तेंव्हा कावितांबाबत ही आशादायक गोष्टच म्हणायला हवी.
सर्व स्पर्धकांचे आणि विजेत्या नंदिनीचे मनापासून अभिनंदन !



And we got some wonderful wonderful recitals too. The winning entries are linked below.




Friday, October 5, 2012

The Freedom to Read

As part of Banned Books Week, Nilanjana Roy has been running a series of posts on banned books and the freedom to read. I wrote a piece over what the Freedom to Read means to me and how it has influenced some of our work at Pratham Books.
To make the “Freedom to Read” a meaningful proposition in India there are at least three elements of the puzzle that require bolstering. We need more content, in more languages and ways of circumventing the high cost of distribution in India. ‘Innovation’ is a much-abused term that in the context of the Indian children’s book publishing industry, has invariably begun and ended with product and price strategies. For the “Freedom to Read” to be truly effective, publishers will need to create new models of innovation to address the entire content cycle – from the creation, distribution and consumption to the conversation around content – to make an impact in the gargantuan problem that this space represents.
Please head on over to her blog to read the entire piece. Other pieces in this series are also worth a read. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pratham Books Champions : Vikarn Mandal and Nishant Roy

For International Literacy Day (8th September), we had a dream - we wished that 100 people would volunteer to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We ended up finding more than 250 champions to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

This photo story was sent by Vikarn Mandal and Nishant Roy on behalf of Pratham Mumbai Education initiative in Jharkhand. The storytelling session took place at the Middle school in Tiruldih on 8th September 2012.

(Please click on the image below for a larger view)
Thank you Vikarn and Nishant for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

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.

Pratham Books Champion : Megha Suresh

For International Literacy Day (8th September), we had a dream - we wished that 100 people would volunteer to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We ended up finding more than 250 champions to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

This story was sent by  Megha Suresh.  Megha Suresh is an aspiring writer currently working in her family run export company while working on her writing. She have worked with NDTV Profit as a business news reporter and in an animation company as a creative editor. She hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA in Marketing from Mumbai University. Her passion revolves around the creative side of things and she truly believe in a more literate India!

Storytelling session at St. Marys School, Vashi, 8th September 2012

“Once upon a time…

Who can resist the allure of these words, child or otherwise.

In a world where everything is moving at warp speed, some things never change like the wonder of storytelling and the smile it brings to a child’s face. Hence, on the occasion of International Literacy Day (8th September) when I heard about Pratham Books’ initiative to conduct story-telling sessions across the country, I was excited and inspired by the prospect.

My session was conducted in St. Marys School, Vashi. The school actually caters to a class of students, whose parents are learned and can well afford a good well rounded education. In 2006, the management of the school under the guidance of Father Abraham Joseph realized that unlike their students, there are so many children who do not have the opportunity to education because of their financial and societal situations. Sons and daughters of maids and construction workers, day laborers and so on, these children stay at home and take care of the house. Older kids look after their siblings while their parents are at work earning a paltry sum to run the household. It’s quite unfair and painful to see potential dormant like this. Children should have a shot at building their dreams and education is the starting point.

So, Father established an initiative within the school that offers education to the less privileged yet amazingly bright young girls and boys. Every evening these children use the same classes that the usual students of the school utilize in the morning, for instruction meted out by teachers who form a mix of teachers from the school and volunteers who want to teach. The education is on par with matriculation standards and these children get access to a treasure trove of knowledge as they rightfully should.

The children may not have the best grasp of English, or the working knowledge of other things that you, me and the general kids we know may have but they have the jest and courage to make an attempt.

Who better to tell stories to!

“Who wants to hear the story of Susheela’s Kolams?”


“Miss, what is Kolam?”

“What do you draw on the ground during Diwali?”

“Rangoli!”


As we read Susheela’s Kolams and The Generous Crow the general vibe of the class was one of fun and interest. So much so, that they pushed me off the teaching pedestal and narrated a few of their own stories! English was broken but the effort was incredible. When they got stuck, their mates urged them on.


“Miss, I say one now please. I want to tell the class about Thirsty Crow”

Every childhood memory is a beautiful thing. In the hope that this added to their collage of memories, I thank Pratham Books for the opportunity and I hope the children employ the biggest take away from this – Reading is colourful, reading is fun!


Thank you Megha for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

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.