Friday, December 27, 2013

Kitaabnama : A Peep into Chapters from Indian Literature

Via The Hindu

Oroon Das’ voice resonates long after the song — which appears over a collage of book covers at the beginning of Doordarshan’s new book show, Kitaabnama: Books and Beyond — is over. The song ‘Kitaabein kartin hain baatein’, written by Prasoon Joshi, speaks personally to every book lover. “That is exactly what we wanted to do in this show as well,” says well-known author Namita Gokhale who conceived the show. The show has a fairly flexible format, including small discussions and interviews with eminent people on literature and book readings.

The 60-plus literary fests in the country that have sprung up over the past few years, says Gokhale, indicate that there is a hunger for good reading in this country. “But the readers are unsure of what they should read,” she says. And she hopes this show will encourage readers to pick up a wide variety of books.

Importantly, at a time when publishing is booming, the show introduces the readers to prominent writers of prose and poetry across the country. “We try to showcase good writing,” says Gokhale.

Kitaabnama tries to showcase the multilingual diversity of Indian literature by inviting laureates from different languages to talk about their work. It reminds one of the times when book stores were not overwhelmed by technical writing and self-help books; when literature and quality writing were not considered a waste of time; when the pleasure of reading was experienced by many.

The show airs on DD Bharti at 8.00 p.m. on Sundays, and DD National at 6.00 p.m. on Saturdays.

You can also watch some of the episodes on the DoordarshanNational Youtube channel.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Notes from the 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' Book Launch in Pune

Sandhya Taksale (Editor, Pratham Books) shares notes from the 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' book launch in Pune

On a sunny winter morning enthusiastic children from different corporation schools in Pune, eagerly lined up at the entrance of the Balgandharv Rangmandir auditorium. In no time the auditorium was packed with 400 school children - all waiting to attend a story telling session. None other than the well known scientist and eminent ecologist, Dr. Madhav Gadgil; was there to tell them a story. He has authored ‘Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth’ for Pratham Books and the occasion was  the book release during the Balkumar Sahitya Sammelan on 30th November, 2013.

The book was released in Marathi and English by well known Marathi author Dr. Anil Awchat. The book is about a fictional character called Muchkund and his bright gang of ghosts who negotiate with bees and come up with a clever way to live in ecological harmony.

The children were fascinated by the way in which bees and bears could live in harmony. The children burst into laughter when one of the bears in the story was punished for his wrong doing. 

Earlier while sharing the ‘story behind the story’, Dr. Gadgil said that his primary source of inspiration to write a story came from his granddaughters who have been cajoling him for years for some more interesting stories. 

Ecological harmony is a subject closer to his heart but the challenge was to hold the interest of children with a strong story line without being preachy.

Dr. Gadgil is more than successful in this task as children were absorbed in the story and enjoyed the antics of Muchkund and his gang.

After the story telling session, Dr. Gadgil visited the Pratham Books stall and signed copies of the book for  the children.

Read the coverage of the event on Pune Sakal.

Read the coverage of the event on Loksatta.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Take the Famous Five Pledge with RivoKids : Donate a Library

RivoKids brings to you Famous Five ! An initiative where 5 friends join in and sign the Famous Five pledge. So this Christmas you have the chance to be Santa for someone by sending across a library to a school or a classroom where children need books.

How does this work  ?

5 friends to join in and contribute Rs 1000 each for a total of Rs 5000. This entire money goes to Pratham Books for purchasing a Library-in-a-classroom. This Library-in-a-classroom can then be sent to you directly to donate to an underprivileged school or donated to a school that Pratham Books works with already.

How much does it cost?

The total cost of the Library-in-a-classroom is Rs. 5000

Will our name be on the gift?

Yes, the Famous Five friends will be mentioned on a Thank you card which gets delivered along with the Library-in-a-classroom, just like the card above.

Sign up here to become a Santa and spread the joy of reading. 

Is Interactivity Killing Narrative in Children's Books?

Asi Sharabi writes that  tablets may be making it impossible for kids to get lost in a story.

Via Quartz

I’ve spent a lot of time watching my three- and five-year-old daughters explore, play and read on an iPad. While touch-screen devices are wonderful in many ways, they do a really lousy job in one particular area: deeply engaging kids in narrative. Interactivity is stopping children from falling in love with stories. This, I fear, will have long-term consequences, depriving children of one of the most important benefits of reading for pleasure, the essential inner work of imagination and empathy.

So why don’t tablets enhance the experience of reading? Most children will not fall in love with reading as quickly as they will get hooked on an interactive game. A touch-screen device makes it all too easy for a child to dismiss reading as boring or “flat” in comparison with the instant gratification of games and apps. There are simply too many distractions just a click away. Children are most likely to engage with stories in the right environment and context, and that means away from a screen.

Most apps for kids are crammed with interactive inanities, interactivity with no objective apart from getting kids to tap on the screen. This is especially aggravating in storybook apps. The stream of sound and movement signifying nothing does not allow the cognitive and emotional space required to deeply engage with a story in the way that an old-fashioned book does. When we’re engaged in a story, we’re actually feeling the story, imagining how the characters feel and how we would feel in the same situation. That experience is hindered when children are busy trying to figure out what happens next when you tap on the screen.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Watch a Story Literally Unfold From the Creases of this Kids' Book

Via Gizmodo
The Adventures of a Village begins like many stories do—by setting the scene. In this case, a small cluster of snow-covered buildings are intersected by winding train tracks. That's it. What happens next is a clever play on the old Choose Your Own Adventure books—but, instead of turning pages to read ahead, their corners are folded over like narrative origami to reveal visual plot points featuring everything from UFOs to hot air balloons.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A bouquet for playing with paper and money

It must be something about the place that made everyone feel as light and exhuberant as children. The Ahkila Karnataka Makala Koota grounds made a perfect venue for the very well put together Children's Literature Festival, Kathavana, organised by Azim Premji University. Students form various government schools and private schools had a great three days listening to authors, illustrators and storytellers, seeing movies, and reading through hundreds of children's books at the festival, held in this historic playground in the heart of the city, 

For me, this outing was even more precious – I've played here as a child, we've brought our children here when they were kids, and last week, I got to play with hundreds of children at Makkala Koota. We played with paper, a few crushed sheets of paper. With an audience comprising children of all age groups it was gratifying to see how the bits of paper lent themselves well to a narration of my little story that makes up Paper Play. Then, at the end of the story where a donkey eats up the sun, we moved to paper money. And this was a perfect lead in to the next set of books, the Rupaiya Paisa series. When we finished with that, and all of us had had fun, and I bid them goodbye, one group of kids presented me the perfect gift, a hastily made paper flower! 

Here it is, a bit crushed like all real flowers tend to get when handled by too many people, my paper rose. Thank you kids!

When you go to Makkala Koota, I do hope you see the beautiful statue of a woman near the dias. That is R Kalyanamma, a writer, social worker and the first woman vice-president of the then Bangalore municipality, the person who founded the Akhila Karnataka Makkala Koota in Chamarajpet, Fort area, in 1938. Makkala Koota, seventy five years of being a happy place for kids.

Thanks Shyam of Bookalore  for the wonderful black-and-white picture.

A New Library in Malleswaram

Education through entertaining is not a new concept ( as mentioned in the article below ) but definitely a concept that has helped many children. So we are happy to note that a new library in Malleswaram, Bangalore, has been opened by Sriram, who says he let his failures be his mentor.

Here is an article about the man and his mission, published in Times of India's supplement, Times Neighbourhood Malleswaram.

The library, INTELLECT PLEASURE, Edutainment Library for Children, is at

R1, Rao Mansions, #4, 17th 'A' Cross,
Between 8th and 11th Main (behind Cloudnine)
Malleswaram, Bangalore - 560 055.
Mobile: 9844070960 / 9844111537. We wish Sriram all the best, and hope many many 
children will be able to benefit from this endeavour!

Sahitya Akademi Awards Announced

Via Jagran Josh

The Sahitya Akademi Awards 2013 was announced on 18 December 2013 by Sahitya Akademi. Poetry writers have dominated the awards announced in 2013. Eight books of poetry, four of essays, three of novels, two each of short stories and travelogues, one each of autobiography, memoirs and play have won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2013.

The awards were recommended by jury members, who represent 22 Indian languages and approved by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi that met under the Chairmanship of Dr. Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, President of the Sahitya Akademi. Assamese and Gujarati language awards will be declared later on.

The Award in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and a cheque of 100000 rupees will be presented to the authors of these books at a special function to be held on 11 March 2014 at New Delhi during the Festival of Letters organized by Sahitya Akademi.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Register for GLOBALOCAL 2014


GLOBALOCAL is an exclusive forum for content, tailored to the publishing and allied industry, and has evolved from a conference format to an exclusive B2B platform integrating expert speaks and networking opportunities among other avenues of business outreach. Targeted at national and international players within the publishing and ancillary industry, this event is the once-in-a-year chance to come together and explore further business possibilities while exchanging and updating knowledge and expertise.

In 2014, GLOBALOCAL comes back to New Delhi! And the New dates are: 13-14th February 2014

This year again, EXCLUSIVE INDIA Trip is being organised in adjunct with GLOBALOCAL 2014. This innovative Trip is aimed at promoting direct interface between Indian and international participants from the publishing and allied industry. Read more about it here.

Visit the website for more details.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The many lives of a cat!

The cat is out of the bag! We were delighted to get a copy of the book, Catch the Cat! written by Tharini Viswanath and published recently by Tulika. The story is about a naughty girl Dip Dip, who goes off to look for her friend's cat, Kaapi. Delightful illustrations by Nancy Raj showcase the wheel-chair using Dip Dip's lively and exuberant characteristics.

We are especially happy because the first version of the story was first published online by Pratham Books as an entry in the  Retell, Remix, Rejoice with Chuskit 2010 Contest, held to celebrate World Storytelling Day, and is a validation of our Creative Commons philosophy. This is a contest where illustrations from the book were uploaded, and contestants were asked to mix the illustrations and write a new story based on the pictures. Chuskit Goes to School was written by Sujatha Padmanabhan, illustrated by Madhuvanti Anantharajan and designed by Manisha Gutman. The story, translated by Pratham Books and available as free downloads in nine languages, is about a wheel-chair bound girl Chuskit, who finds it difficult to go to school because the Ladakhi terrain is so hilly. They wanted the story to be copyright-free, and hence they parked the story  in the public domain.

To kick off the Retell, Remix, Rejoice contest our editor wrote a story called Minny Wants a Ride, which featured a cat called Minny, that wanted a ride on a wheel-chair.  Tharini did a very good remix by writing a totally new story about a cat and a girl, called Dip Dip to the Rescue. All the remixed stories had a Creative Commons license. A Creative Commons license means that anyone could publish it anywhere. Tharini, as the author of this story, was free to send it to Tulika Books, who published it by giving it a fresh, new look. So a story in the public domain, gave rise to another new story with a Creative Commons license, which gave rise to yet another story, which got printed by a publisher, and now that story is in the hands of many children!
It's great to see how Dip Dip has joined Chuskit and Minny in talking about issues about disability.
Now this is what we call a really good twist to a story of a cat with many tales!

You can buy the book 'Catch that Cat' from the Tulika website.

Illustration used: by Madhuvanti Anantharajan

This Christmas, Gift the Joy of Books

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a gift you can enjoy all year round - a book! We have special gift packs for this festive season. At Pratham Books, we are trying to get more and more children to fall in love with books. Gift a book pack and spread the joy of reading.

Click here to buy our gift packs.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Meet us at KathaVana, Bangalore

(Click on the image for a larger view)

Via Business Standard

Young readers are set for a treat as a three-day bilingual literature festival will be organised here to celebrate books and children. 

Well-known persons from literature, theatre, art and academics will converge at 'KathaVana' - to be held between December 12-14 - to celebrate books and children.

Author Mala Kumar (editor, Pratham Books) will also be conducting a session on 12th December, 12-1 pm.

View the entire schedule here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An e-library of Books in Regional Languages

Via The Hindu

Image Source : Mera Library website
Mera Library is home to over 4,000 books in eight Indian languages besides English, written by 2,000 authors through 250 publications. Officially launched in 2011, Shabir says this labour of love has harboured in thought from 2009. As an employee of a large electronic publishing company in Bangalore, Shabir observed that few smaller publishers, especially those in thebhasha (vernacular) languages, put out e-book versions of their publications. And for those who did, avenues for display and distribution were rare.

With Mera Library, publishers enter into a non-exclusive partnership where earnings on books given are split 50 per cent between the two. Scouting for books has been an eye-opening experience says Shabir. They began with acquiring works that had outgrown their copyrights. The Gutenberg project was a huge resource for English books. “Our focus though, was to acquire the classics in regional languages, such as Kumaran Asan's works, which are difficult to find even in print today.” A daunting task with old works is preserving their frail bodies while converting to e-books. “I remember the entire Boban and Molly cartoon series by V.T. Thomas was almost crumbling in our hands.” Besides publishers, the team has also approached independent authors for their works. For instance, in Kerala, late Ponjikara Rafi’s family gave the e-library his entire works at once, as did Pratham Books with their extensive children's collection.

Mera Library now possesses over 40,000 works, which will be made available online in phases. 

Of all the genres the e-library catalogues, Shabir says traffic has been most in their young-adult and religious reading sections. They have also enjoyed audiences from over 18 countries with the UAE scoring highest among them. Subscribers can access the e-library with an internet connection on a computer or on their Android or Apple devices.

Visit the Mera Library website. If you type 'Pratham Books' in the search column, you can find our books on the platform.

Find Our Books at the Hyderabad Book Fair

The Hyderabad Book Fair has already started. Will you be visiting the fair for some year-end shopping?

You can find our books at the Stall Nos. 156 to 158. A big thank you to Manchi Pustakam for helping us with the organization of the stall.

Venue : NTR Stadium, Opp Indira Park
Date : 7th to 15th December, 2013
Time : 11 AM to 8 PM

Friday, December 6, 2013

Meet us at the Junior Writer's Bug Festival for Children

The Junior Writer's Bug Festival for Children is back! If you live in Mumbai, here's something to take your kiddo for this weekend.

You can also introduce your kids to two of our books through events happening at the Festival.

Time line Tales with Wall book 
Narration by Usha Venkatraman at Kahani Corner 
11.15am, 7th December
A chance to explore world stories with Usha with lots of puzzles to be solved.

Rupaiya Paisa series
Narration by Rakhee Iyer at Main Hub
2:15pm, 7th December
An interactive fun session that delves into the four books of the Rupaiya Paisa series and children get to learn about saving money and how money travels. Young folks will come out wiser about money after this session!

Head to the festival website to see the entire schedule.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Say Hello at ...

For all our new readers (and for our existing readers), you can follow our work and updates on the following social networks.

Subscribe to our blog feed for the latest publishing news, events and more at :

We recently got ourselves a Google+ account. Since we are newbies there, let us know if you are on it too :

If you hang out on Facebook more often, LIKE our page :

For all the Tweeple out there, add us on Twitter :

Read and download all the books we've uploaded on Scribd :

Listen to the latest audio versions of our book on Soundcloud :

View our pictures and illustrations on Flickr :

Watch our videos on Youtube (Ummm, to be honest, we don't have much here at the moment):

We also have a mailing list from where we send out mails about events, etc. Sign up and you'll get our pretty newsletter and the first dibs on special offers too. Click here (and enter your details) to subscribe.

If you already follow us on all these networks, help us spread the word by introducing your friends and family to our work.

See you there!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The 7-Eleven library

We came across this concept of how a store encouraged kids to read more books. What do you think? Imagine if every kirana store did this!

Via The Fresno Bee
Image Source : Mike Licht

For Brian Morin, 11, an extraordinary gateway to "adventure" lurks within an unusual place: the corner of a room in a central Fresno 7-Eleven convenience store.

Brian usually stops by five days a week to check out books from a children's library inside, created by store owners Sushil Prakash and Josephine Kiran as an incentive to get children in the neighborhood excited about reading.

The catch to lure kids? A free Slurpee or hot chocolate for every book read and summarized in a short book report.

The public library is far away, and checking out books at the 7-Eleven is a "double treat," Brian said, because he loves reading and Slurpees.

The library, which started Aug. 1, already has about 200 books. Nearby Hamilton Elementary School has helped, donating $300. Teachers at the school also volunteer to label books by grade level -- which has helped deter older youths from reading far below their grade level as a ploy to snag an easy Slurpee.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Indian Picture Books on a World Tour

Pratham Books Speaks in Eleven Languages
Sushma U N reports about the appeal of Indian picture books to global audiences.

Be it century-old fables like 'The Fox & the Crow' and 'The Honest Woodcutter' or contemporary stories like The Rumour, folktales from Indian villages and towns are travelling the world over. 
Picture books (storybooks that tell stories primarily through illustrations and contain few words), brought out by Indian publishers like Karadi Tales, Tara Books, Tulika and Pratham Books, are being lapped up by publishers abroad with several of them being translated into local languages by publishers there.
Though the books are set in the Indian milieu, the universality of the stories, the vibrant Indian art and illustration and the variety of stories draw foreign publishers to these picture books.

While picture books are very popular abroad, Indians are still not sold out on them, publishers say.

"But it is essential to start with picture books when a parent wants to introduce a child to reading. Pictures help them relate to the story and also learn words," says Manisha Chaudhry, who heads content development at Pratham Books, a not-for-profit children's books publisher.

Pratham Books has also seen good response for its books from foreign publishers, Chaudhry says. Being a philanthropic organization, the company doesn't sell rights but uploads its books on Creative Commons, a not-for-profit online platform where creative works of various kinds are available for others to build upon legally and to share.

"Since 2010, we have had about 200,000 downloads from 80 countries for our titles," Chaudhry said.

Working with Creative Commons helps the company reach out to more children than they would otherwise in India. There are very few picture books in India today, and few in local languages, Chaudhry says.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Launch (Pune) : Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth

Meet Magical Muchkund !

Pratham Books launches its newest title 'Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth' with a magical storytelling session at Balkumar Sahitya Sammelan, Pune. It is written by eminent scientist Dr Madhav Gadgil and beautifully illustrated by Maya Ramaswamy.

The book is about a fictional bear called Muchkund and his bright gang of ghosts who negotiate with bees and come up with a clever way to live in ecological harmony.

The book will be launched by Mr Anil Awchat, well author who recently received the 'Sahitya Academy Award' for children's literature.

Date - 30th November, 2013
Time - 10 am
Venue - Balgandharv Rangmandir, J.M. Road, Pune.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bol Story Bol with Radio Mirchi

Earlier this year, our friends at Radio Mirchi approached us to ask us if we could be a part of their 11th Anniversary Celebrations. We were delighted to be part of the initiative and agreed immediately. Radio Mirchi has previously collaborated with us to create lovely audio books with our CC-licensed books. This time, the books would be recorded by celebrities, RJs and volunteers for their 'Bol Story Bol' initiative.

Image source : Radio Mirchi's Facebook page
We've uploaded 9 books on our SoundCloud account and can't wait to hear what you think of the audio versions of some of your favourite books. Click on the links below to hear all the stories :

1. Everything Looks New (English) - Read by Zoya Akhtar

2. Kaka and Munni (English) - Read By Richa Chadda

3. The Koel's Song (English) -Read By Dia Mirza

4. Hot Tea and Warm Rugs (English) - Read By Meiyang Chang

5. Fat King Thin Dog (Hindi) - Read By Richa Chadda

6. The Jungle School (Hindi) - Recorded By Meera Damji 

8. The Koel's Song (Hindi)

The radio station that has continuously ruled the lives of Mumbaikars celebrated its turning 11 by spreading sunshine and smiles with their own unique ‘Bol Story Bol’ initiative in association with the National Association for the Blind (NAB). With this campaign, the station recorded 11 Mirchi Audio Books of various children’s tales.

The initiative was supported by Pratham Books, with children’s stories to be made into audio books. Bollywood industry’s renowned celebrities viz Richa Chadda, Tusshar Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Dia Mirza, Zoya Akhtar, Ayushmann Khurana and Meiyang Changthen came forward to lend their support – and voices – to these heart-warming audio stories!

Commenting on the 11th birthday initiative, Preeti Nihalani, Cluster Head – Mumbai said, “We are 11 today and we enter into yet another year of great music, excitement and lots of FUN! Over the years Radio Mirchi has become an integral part of Mumbaikars’ lives – it is because of the city’s constant support that we have grown by leaps and bounds. We think with each year we are just getting younger in terms of content and campaigns. Even today we possess the drive to provide our listeners with even more engaging and innovative programmes. BolStoryBol is one such example. Like every year we wanted to give back to the society and with this initiative we intend to spread smiles and entertainment among the visually impaired kids.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Reviews : Kaka and Munni, Gulli’s Box of Things

Two of our books were reviewed on two different sites recently. 

Savio Mascarenhas reviews Kaka and Munni on is a website that exclusively reviews, discusses and critically engages with Indian children’s books.
An age old folktale is always a joy to read. So here’s a refreshing look at a folktale from Punjab retold and illustrated by Natasha Sharma. 
The story is about a mean and hungry Kaka, a crow, who wants to eat up a sparrow's eggs. He has to fulfil some tasks to get those eggs, well…and does he get them? That’s for you to find out! 
Natasha takes you through the book with her very casual and easy use of words. Her storytelling is straightforward and the language is simple. The sentences are not too long and the dialogues sound like day to day conversation. The story is depicted with some very interesting collage work. The intricate design on the paper which looks like folk art in places lends itself perfectly to the folktale, making it complete. 
The collage art for the illustrations are well composed and so are the stylized paper cuts of animals, birds and scenery. The colors are soothing, refreshing and stand out very nicely against the white paper. The designer has used some variations in the fonts to enhance the impact of the dialogues in some places which is interesting. The simplicity in the illustrations is something that a child will easily connect to. And the textured, patterned paper art will draw the interest of children and adults alike. 
It’s a well told tale with minimum use of difficult words and makes good reading for a seven-year-old. The dialogues lend themselves to some good drama and could be interesting when read aloud. Folktales will never lose their charm and can always find their way into the hearts of children even today when storytellers like Natasha add some uniqueness to them. So here is a visual treat for kids and parents alike who like folktales. This is a harmoniously written and designed book. 
Just for the sheer novelty of its simplistic design and the casual flow in the language, Kaka and Munni by Pratham Books is a clear favorite for kids seven years and above who have started to read. And for parents who would like to read aloud a story to tuck a child to bed.

R's Mom reviews Gulli’s Box of Things on Indian Moms Connect. The Indian Moms Connect (IMC) community was created to provide an avenue for mothers to share experiences and stories on topics related to parenting, motherhood and children.
This one came with the set of 8 which we had ordered from Pratham Books for R earlier during her birthday. 
I love this book. I love it for its simplicity, I love it for its lack of a actual story line and I love it for its illustrations. I love it for the simple techniques it teaches children,I love it for its pracicality and I love it because its talks about a box which could have anything in it. 
Gulli is a little boy who has a big brown box of things. What all can be inside that box is left to your imagination. I imagined a lot of things including shoe strings and iron nails. 
Gulli helps his grand father, the uncle who cooks in his house and his grandmother with the help of things in the box. 
Simple language, lovely illustrations and more importantly, the story line which teaches you that you dont need to look far for solutions and yet giving some titbits in science! 
Loved loved loved the book. and oh R and I love to pronounce the name of the author together – Anupama Ajinkya Apte..isnt that the sweetest name  
Definitely a hit in the R household. 
Go on and get it.

Click on the links below to buy the mentioned books:

Have you reviewed any of our books on your blog? Leave a link to your post in the comments and we'll share your review with our readers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Mention in The Book Review

Subhadra Sengupta writes about our books and the work we do in the November edition of The Book Review. Please click on the image for a larger view. You can visit our website to order the books mentioned.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mango Reader on CNBC Young Turks

MangoReader is one of the organizations who have transformed many of our Creative Commons licensed content into fabulous interactive stories. Jagdish Repaswal (founder of MangoReader) was recently featured on CNBC Young Turks. Watch the video to learn more about their work. You can also download interactive children's stories from their website.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pratham Books and Google come together for a book reading session

As a part of their CSR initiative, Google collaborated with Pratham Books to come together for a book reading session at Shishu Mandir, Bangalore on 20th November, 2013

We planned to conduct a storytelling session in the morning. Walking into the school perimeter sent us back into memory lane. The Google team quickly paired up into groups of two. When they walked into the classrooms, they were greeted by the kids who went on to sing a lovely song to welcome them. 

Overwhelmed by the welcome, the Googlers and the children walked into their respective classrooms and thus began the journey of Paplu, the Giant. The children were so engrossed in the story that they were asking questions like "If Paplu forgot his magic words after he grew into a giant, then what would happen ?"

The post-storytelling session involved getting the kids to dress up Paplu with bits of cloth. The group that created the best outfit would receive a bouquet of flowers and chocolates. 

The children were given 30 minutes to complete the task and the results were absolutely fantastic. Some dressed Paplu as a traveller in Thailand while some dressed him up as a normal guy. All the four groups were extremely creative and it was decided that all of them were winners !

One of the Googlers Somya,  also joined the children in singing a popular Hindi song.

Thank you Googlers for joining us spreading the joy of reading. If your organization would like to do the same, join the tribe of Pratham Books champions! Read more about the Champions project.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Harry Potter in Real Life

So, what is making us giggle today? This funny video by the folks at Improv Everywhere.

Via Improv Everywhere

For our latest mission, we sent an 11-year-old actor dressed as Harry Potter into New York’s Pennsylvania Station to search for Platform 9 3/4. Harry wandered the station with a caged owl and a luggage cart and asked both strangers and transit employees how to get to the Hogwarts Express.

This project is part of our new series, Movies in Real Life. Every Tuesday, we’re releasing a new video that brings an iconic movie moment to life in the real world.

Visit their blog to see more pictures of 'Harry's' visit to the train station :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Literature for Children Focus at World Book Fair 2014

Literature for children will be the focus at the upcoming edition of New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) with Poland being chosen as the Guest of Honour country. 

"The focus for Delhi World Book Fair 2014 will be literature for children and Poland will showcase children's illustrations through an exhibition and bring books for children," says Anna Tryc-Bromley, director Polish Institute here, part of the Polish diplomatic mission and responsible for promoting Polish culture in India

"We are recognised for excellent graphic design and nowadays Poland's publishing for children is blossoming. I am sure we can collaborate with Indian publishers in bringing new, mutual publications, hence we start with a book for children about one of the greatest Polish composers - Frederic Chopin," she adds. 

The Ambassador of Poland to India, Piotr Klodkowski who says this association will prove to be beneficial to both Poland and India.

The New Delhi World Book Fair will be held between 15th-23rd February, 2014. Find more details on the official website.

Monday, November 18, 2013

An Inspiring Class of Young Investors

Over the years, we've come to know many Teach for India Fellows and are always impressed by the work they do and the engaged classroom environments they create. This summer, Payoshni Saraf interned with us at our Bangalore office and through the interviews conducted by her students, we learnt more about the authors we have been working with.

Today started on an inspiring note when we found out that Payoshni's class participate in the DESIGN FOR CHANGE School Challenge 2013. Their class project 'POWER OF ONE' is one of the Top 20 winners of  the Challenge. Wooohoooo!

State the problem you chose and why did you CHOOSE it?
We got back to the class with our research and realized that the problem is really big with no easy solutions. Doling out money just like that is not going to help us fight poverty. We need to empower the people so that they themselves can carve out a way out of Poverty. We decided to hence help them in their business ventures so that they can expand, make more money and get their children educated, get better Health and Sanitation.
Payoshni's students organized themselves into groups and started saving money. After a month of saving, they were ready to make their investment. Through the Rang De website, each group chose a borrower they wanted to invest in and also got a chance to meet the borrowers to see how their investment had helped them.
This visit completed the circle of money/investment / growth for the kids and they could see how sacrificing the packet of Kurkure can actually fill colours of Joy in somebody else’s life. Through the entire process of the kids, not only did the kids grow academically (learning concepts of Microfinance, Interest ,Business etc), they learnt of a heap of Life Skills and Values. Joy of Giving if no more just a phrase but an actual feeling. They have learnt the values of Belief (in themselves) and the Social Responsibility that each one of us carries. They have learnt to handle negative reactions and criticism and mitigate it and the value of NEED vs GREED. Because, we truly believe, TOGTHER, we WILL make a Difference.
Read all about their project for change.

Thank you for sharing this inspiring project, Payoshni! And congratulations to your wonderful class of social investors :).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Contest : Spot the Book Names

This is the first of the many contests we are running to celebrate Children's Day! Spot the book names hidden in this puzzle and name the 7 books (published by us) you spot. Easy peasy!

And to make it easier, here are the hints:

  • A shy elephant who makes new friends in the jungle 
  • Story about a cheerful pair who are very resourceful
  • A river which is also called "Rewa" 
  • Children who help others are somewhere perceived as "Smart"
  • Play with paper and imagination 
  •  Everything goes Ulta Pulta
  • A baby rhino learns to say his name
Click on the image for a larger view.

Leave your answers in the comments below. The first person to name all the books correctly wins!
NOTE : This contest has been won by the commenter ZOOT.

Check our Facebook and Twitter pages during the day to participate in all the contests that will go up during the day.

The 2nd-6th contests will be up on Facebook at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm (IST).

NOTE : Book hampers can only be shipped within India

This Children's Day, Be a Child Again!

If you're aged 2 -101, and there's a child in you, Happy Children's Day to you! You are now eligible to participate in any of our contests for the day.

We are running a series of contests throughout the day and you can win gift hampers of books today. The contests will go up on our blog, Facebook and Twitter account - so keep checking on all these platforms to see what's cooking and to join the celebrations!

The first contest is already up. SPOT THE BOOK NAMES and win your first gift hamper of books. Hurry!
The 2nd-6th contests will be up on Facebook at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm (IST).

NOTE : Book hampers can only be shipped within India

Celebrating National Library Week with Hippocampus

Happy Children's Day! Today is also the first day of the National Library Week. Make your school library an exciting place by getting kids to meet the alligator maybe, or the unicorn, or the rabbit with a long tail?  Hippocampus School Library Services (HSLS) is celebrating NLW by joining hands with schools across India to inspire children to read for pleasure. Schools can get more details at   and register at

We're happy that HSLS  will be taking our friends Lenny and Tweek to all the participating schools. If you haven't read this book, do look up the review here, and get a copy of the book here - we think it makes an excellent addition to any library.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sunil Khandbahale: Breaking the language barrier

At INK2013, Sunil Khandbahale shares with us his fascinating journey from being unable to understand English as a young student, to creating a series of digital dictionaries to empower people just like him -- a tool now being used by over 100 million users in 150 countries.

Sunil’s goal is to help Indians bridge the ‘language’ and ‘digital’ divides, due to the dominance of English on the internet and in technical published texts. He has developed digital dictionaries for mobile phones and computers with a repository of 9.6 million audio and textual words in 16 domains, like Legal, Agriculture and Pharmacy, in 22 different Indian languages. Educated in Marathi-medium in a village near Nashik, Sunil believes the root of the rural inferiority complex is the linguistic divide, due to which many abandon their education. He hopes to reverse this with his free platform.

The Hindu also shares an article about Sunil's work. Read the entire article to learn about his inspiring journey.

The Ramayana : A New Seven-Volume Graphic Series

ACK Media presents The Ramayana as a seven-volume graphic series, with focus on lesser-known stories.
Image source : ACK website

ACK Media’s newest release is the first of a seven-volume graphic series based on Valmiki’s Ramayana. Bala Kand, which will be available in bookstores shortly, looks at even the smaller details and stories of the epic. 
Inspired by requests from readers after Amar Chitra Katha published its 42-volume Mahabharata series, The Ramayana began to take shape more than a year-and-a-half ago. “The Ramayana has so many stories on the side. And our original book is an abridged version in which all these stories had to be cut out. This series will have everything in detail,” says Reena Puri, editor, ACK Media. 
Staying true to the original, the series will have seven volumes, one for each Kand that Valmiki wrote. “Each book will be about 135 to 150 pages. While the format will be our usual style, the graphic novel uses semi-realistic drawings and is more contemporary than traditional,” she says. “It took us quite some time to get the first book out because we had to check the original story, get our facts right, choose what drawings to use and so on. We hope to release the rest of the books in another year-and-a-half.” 
While the graphic novel is targeted at those between the ages 10 and 15, Reena says that the book is, in its entirety, for people of all ages.

Free to enter The Reading Schools Award Contest

Schools, librarians, young readers, here's a contest for you from Young India Books, a website that reviews children's books in India. The Leading Reading Schools of India Awards, an annual award is being established to celebrate schools that believe in the power and magic of the written word and do their utmost to encourage children to read and appreciate books. The theme of this year's awards, We, the Children of India, is a reference to the book by the same name written by former Chief Justice, Leila Seth. The reading promotion is also a run-up to the Republic Day 2014 celebrations.

  • Winning schools will receive a citation from the Guest-of-Honour, 
    Ms Leila Seth, and a hamper of books for their libraries.
  • Ten best entries by the children will receive an author signed copy of the book - We, The Children of India.
  • Selected entries by children will feature on the website along with their details and that of their school.

Last date for submissions of children's work is December 20, 2013. They are accepting only the first 50 schools that register for the competition. For further details and registration please log onto

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Swedish Embassy in Delhi to celebrate 100 years of Tagore’s Nobel

Rabindranath Tagore
Image source : Eugene Kimeekim

Via The Hindu

To celebrate the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Embassy is hosting a cultural extravaganza across the Capital from November 8 to 16.

The “Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week 2013” will also be celebrated across eight Indian cities. According to Swedish Ambassador to India Harald Sandberg, Rabindranath Tagore was a man far ahead of his times. “I was impressed by Tagore’s literary bent of mind while going through Gitanjali. His works penned almost a century ago still have relevance in today’s world. Perhaps, the central issues that moved Tagore most are the importance of open-minded reasoning and the celebration of human freedom as he effectively embraced humanism and universalism as opposed to patriotism and regionalism. Tagore’s visit to our country in 1926 attracted huge attention. His Majesty King Gustavus V. received the poet at Stockholm. In 1913, it was announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature would be presented to Tagore. He was instrumental in fostering friendly relationship between India and Sweden.” Admitting that Tagore was popular only among the intelligentsia in Sweden, the Ambassador said the Memorial Week seeks to rekindle interest in “the exceptionally gifted personality of the 20Century”.

The Growth of English to Tamil Tranlations

Olympia Shilpa Gerald writes about the vernacular publishing space which presents a goldmine of opportunities for students who are competent in English and Tamil.

Walk in to the ongoing Puducherry book fair and it’s not uncommon to see an English book sitting cheek by jowl with its Tamil translation. Be it contemporary Indian writers, literary giants from across the world or self-help books, Ramachandra Guha, Gabriel Marcia Marquez and Norman Vincent Peale are lined up in book fairs today in their Tamil avatars. Going by what booksellers say, the Tamil publishing industry is gung-ho about translating any bestseller into the vernacular.

But does the upsurge in preference for translated works create a lucrative career opportunity? For students who can claim competence in English and Tamil, a whole new world of prospects may open up if the trend continues.

Postgraduate centres like the Kanchi Mamunivar Centre for Postgraduate Studies encourage students of English literature and language to look beyond the theory of translation. Familiarising oneself with translating short stories and essays from English to Tamil or vice-versa is a good start, believe lecturers.

Students and research scholars are also encouraged to contribute to Transfire, a journal of translation from Indian languages into English, and participate in translation contests. Practice in this domain is emphasised, though no one is perfect in translation.

While Tamil publishers jump at an offer to translate an English or an internationally acclaimed book into Tamil, there is not much enthusiasm to publish an English translation of a Tamil work, as publishers are sceptical about the reader base, says Mr. Raja, currently working on a compendium of short stories, novels and literature of Puducherry, translated from Tamil, for Oxford University Press.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Reviews : Growing Up Series, Rupaiya-Paisa Series, What Does Anu See, Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth

 Some of our new books were reviewed in the Sunday supplement of Loksatta. The article reviews :

- the Growing Up Series - a set of four books which follows the lives of little ones and the excitement in their lives as they learn new things. For children who can read new words with help
- Rupaiya-Paisa series -  a set of four books which teach kids about financial literacy
-What does Anu see  - a book that introduces kids to a colourful world, beautifully created by collage art. 
- Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth - a tale about a fictional bear called Muchkund and his bright gang of ghosts who negotiate with bees and come up with a clever way to live in ecological harmony.

Read the entire review here.