Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Katha goes the e-book way

Divya Trivedi writes about Katha's vision to launch e-books in the Indian market. 

Using the technology plank, Katha, an organisation that has worked in the space of storytelling for the past 25 years, is about to take the first step towards making its entire collection available and affordable in the electronic format. 
To begin with, Katha will launch 30 e-books at the New Delhi World Book Fair this week in collaboration with Impelsys that may not be entirely free of cost but charge a minimal amount.
“There are 330 million children in the age group of zero to 17 in our country; more than 60 per cent of our country is young and more than 80 per cent is poor. These are huge numbers we are dealing with and if you ask me what is my ultimate aim, then it is to enable every child to read and make all the material available free of cost in open source format,” says Geeta Dharmarajan, Founder and executive director of Katha.  
Making use of advanced technology – cloud, internet, computer and mobile – the non-profit organisation plans to make books accessible at lower costs. It takes close to Rs one lakh to produce a book in print for children keeping in mind the aesthetic values, design specifications and art experiences, but producing an e-book will help lower these costs, while providing the same experience, says Geeta. 
Katha is essentially looking at releasing the books on pdf, epub3 and mobi formats to make them available on the phone, on kindle and make them disabled-friendly for the partially sighted.

Friday, February 22, 2013

How Language can save a vital medicinal plant!

Yes, ancient languages are the key to traditional wisdom, and that includes knowledge about medicinal plants. And you hold the key to helping save languages...

We missed International Mother language Day yesterday – February 21. However, missing a commemorative day is not drastic, but missing the message? Now that's disastrous. According to experts, every time we loose a language, we loose the legacy of culture and native knowledge that only that language could communicate.

Says a UNESCO report: The most important thing that can be done to keep a language from disappearing is to create favourable conditions for its speakers to speak the language and teach it to their children.

Via Deccan Herald:

"...Boa Senior, the only speaker of Bo language in Andaman Islands passed away. With her death, a 70,000 year old language, a unique heritage of mankind became extinct. With this extinction we not only lost a language, but lost an entire knowledge system, which was different from the industrial age."

As a multilingual publisher, we try to do our bit to ensure that children get to read books in many languages.

You can help save languages too. Help spread reading. Help in small ways. Learn how you can donate Rs.200 or more to get Urdu, Bengali and Telugu books into the hands of children.Do click here for details.
Image Source: 17,000ft.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Achieve Together Conference

The Achieve Together Conference is scheduled to take place on 10th march, 2013 at Don Bosco High School, Mumbai.

Via an email sent by the organizing team :

The one day conference will see 120 children from Mumbai city from diverse backgrounds spend the day listening to inspiring life stories, engage in some fun learning workshops and meet students with different challenges and wonder.

Mr Jerry Pinto, the award winning author has confirmed to speak at the event while experts like Suruchi Aulakh (of Jhoom), The Learning Lab, Renee Vyas, Reimagine Schools, Reema Prasanna and many more will be conducting workshops for children. We have been very careful with choosing our speakers and facilitators and every message we send out is carefully thought of.

Schools that have grades from 7th- 9th, are invited. Any child who meets the age criterion is welcome (home schooled kids, night school students, children from NGOs, children with special needs. Students will be expected to pay a fee (10 percent of their monthly school fee or we could discuss this) to confirm registration.

Visit the Achieve Together Conference website for more details and to register.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Send Some Love on International Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books. 
International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to
1) give a book to a friend or family member,
2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or
3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need internationally. (via bookgivingday)
international book giving day poster by priya kuriyan

Pratham Books is proud to help you reach out to the hearts of children as far away as Ladakh, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh. We've identified 4 wonderful organizations which work with kids and want to help them get books into the hands of children. With a focus on regional languages, the books that will be distributed during this campaign will be in Urdu, Telugu and Bengali. 

What better day than International Book Giving Day to kickstart a fundraising campaign for these organizations? The campaign will run till the end of February.

You can donate as little as Rs. 200, and these children will receive the gift of bright, cheerful story books that will entertain them, and help them read. We've created book packs worth Rs.200 and Rs.500. If you choose to gift

A donation of :
Rs.200  = 8 books for the organization
Rs.500 = 20 books for the organization

You can pledge multiple packs to increase your donation and the number of books that reach each organization.

But who are these organizations that you can donate to? What work do they do? Here's a short introduction to all the organizations. Please visit their individual websites for more information.

(Region : Andhra Pradesh)

Aarti (registered as Vijay Foundation Trust) is an NGO based in Kadapa and they have been working with women and girls since 1992. Two of the programmes that pertain to children are :Aarti Home (a shelter for abandoned girls) and Aarti School (education at minimal fees).
They are also running a basic computer literacy program for high school children in government schools in remote villages of the district. The jeep equipped with a mobile computer lab travels to these little villages and hamlets every day. Books received will also be distributed to these places through this channel

Impact : 100 girls live in the orphanage, 300 children attend the school, the mobile library project covers 1500 kids, the library is open to all children in the district.

Book donations : Telugu Books

Websites :

(Region : Ladakh) 

Though Ladakh as a region receives support and attention from individuals and some not for profits alike, owing to the distances and sheer remoteness, most of the support is localized to the more accessible and visible areas of Leh and Kargil. 17000 ft was setup with a focus to go beyond those areas and work in schools that are traditionally ignored and do not receive any support. Over 89% of the schools of Ladakh are rural, remote and in need of support.

 Impact : 17000 ft has physically geo-mapped and assessed each and every school of Leh District ( 366 in number ) and is today present in a 100 of these schools where they have setup libraries and conduct a mix of programs like teacher training, library and reading programs and infrastructure improvement.

Book Donations : Urdu books



 (Region : West Bengal)

Vikramshila Education Resource Society started its journey in 1989 in an attempt to make quality education a reality for all children. Based in Kolkata (West Bengal, India) Vikramshila reaches out to underprivileged and under-resourced sections of society to make education meaningful and relevant to their lives. Vikramshila works with children, teachers and government systems through teacher development programmes and childrens’ learning support programmes.

Impact : Over the last twenty years, Vikramshila has undertaken various initiatives in action research and teacher-development programmes all over India, reaching out to more than 200 grassroots level organisations 25,000 teachers and 14, 00,000 children.

Book Donations : Urdu and Bengali books

Websites :


(Region : Ladakh)

Avalokitesvaratrust’s vision is to empower children with the gift of education, the joy of learning, bringing previously absent opportunities for a better overall quality of life in the region. The aim is to enhance the mental, emotional and psychological development of children within and beyond the education they receive at school, giving them the best possible foundation for the rest of their lives. One of the key projects currently run under the umbrella of the Avalokitesvara Trust is FOUNTAIN OF LEARNING. Fountain of Learning a.k.a FOL, is an initiative to nurture and educate children in isolated villages of Ladakh.

Impact : Created 30 reading rooms in Ladakh

Book Donations : Urdu books (8 of the existing schools require Urdu books. The trust will be creating 15 more reading rooms in the Zangskar and Baltistan region of Ladakh this year.

Open your hearts and send some bookish love 
to children across the country.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Little Magic For Your Storytelling Sessions

Storytellers ... if you are wondering how you can infuse some magic into your storytelling sessions - this magic course may just be the answer. Our friend Nakul Shenoy is conducting a Smart Course in Magic - – a two-day workshop on performing magic on 16th and 17th February.

Nakul Shenoy presents Smart Course in Magic
We first met Nakul at TEDxShekhawati and were impressed by his talk and performance there. Nakul and his friend Prahlad Acharya were also part of our Literacy Day celebrations last year.

About the workshop:

The Bangalore Workshop:
February 16th & 17th, 2013
From 9:00AM to 6:00PM (on both days)
At the Monarch Luxor, Infantry Road.

A two-day hands-on workshop that teaches you not just to perform wonderful magic tricks, but also trains you in the nuances of magical performance and stagecraft. Best of all, this is one of the rare occasions where the globally-acclaimed Nakul Shenoy will impart the training in magic!

Find more information about the workshop here (P.S. - there is an early bird discount till 9th February).

The Writing on the Wall

The Hindu carried a short piece on the Indian edition of Christopher Lloyd's “The What on Earth? Wallbook” which has been published by us.

Pratham books bring the excitement back to the boring and dull books with Christopher Lloyd’s “The What on Earth?” Wallbook for India. The wallbook concept is a way of presenting a big picture to people — young and old alike — so their minds can meander freely and enjoy all aspects of a story.

Lloyd is the founder of What on Earth Publishing Limited. He has a double first class degree in History from Cambridge University. He and his wife Virginia home educated their two daughters, and it is this experience that led him to write wallbooks on ‘Big History’, trying to connect subjects together through narrative and visualisation. “My main motive was to engage young people in non fiction,” says the author. 

“The What on Earth? Wallbook” on India is in A3 size (correction : the book is in A4 size) and comprises a remarkable 2.3 metre-long, fully illustrated timeline. It can either be read like a book or unfolded and stuck on a wall. The book also comes with a two-paged instruction sheet for teachers which focuses on how to use the book in fun and interesting ways for the students.

At the event the author explained how, keeping an eye on the altitude metre, a reader gets to know what happened in different countries at the same time. Once you have gone through the whole book, you get a perspective that everybody is equal. The book also has a Hindi version edited by Manisha Chaudhary and Rajesh Khan (correction : Chaudhry and Khar).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mark Your Calendars : So Many Events to Choose From

The Moon and The Cap - 3

This week seems to be loaded with literary events. They are taking place in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. So, here's a quick round-up of all the events happening and where you can find us.

Till 10th FebruaryNew Delhi World Book Fair (our books can be found at stall no. B3 and hall no.18)Delhi

Till 10th FebruaryKolkata Book Fair (our books can be found at Hall No - 6, Stall No - 6)

8th February,
12 - 1:15pm
The What on Earth? Wallbook event  for children (Hall 7D at the World Book Fair)*

9th February,
12 -1pm
Kala Ghoda Kids Lit Fest (Event : Kahani Sunoh by Lovleen Misra) **

10th February,
The What on Earth? Wallbook event at Kitsch Mandi, Palace Grounds (our books can be found at stall no. 50)***

*The What on Earth? Wallbook event in Delhi - Join our editors Manisha and Rajesh as they take you through 13.7 billion years of history. 
Venue : Hall 7D

**Kahani Sunoh by Lovleen Misra (Hindi) :  Theatre personality Lovleen Misra will perform a dramatized story reading Saalaana Baal Katai Divas (Annual haircut Day) and Raja Nang Dhadanga (retelling of Emperor's new Clothes in Hindi). 
Venue : Kitab Khana

***The What on Earth? Wallbook event in Bangalore : Join Nirupama and her magical coat as she takes you through 13.7 billion years of history. 
Venue : Kitsch Mandi, Pebble, Palace Grounds


Other events taking place in Delhi are :

The Delhi Literature Festival, 9th-10th February
Venue : Kaladarsana Auditorium, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), 1, Central Vista (CV) Mess, Janpath, New Delhi-110001

Cinedarbaar presents The Delhi Literature Festival. The two days festival includes book launches, book reading, panel discussions, exhibitions and music performances.

From self publishing to blogging in India, there is a growing trend and proliferation of creative writing and writers, voicing opinions on subjects of concern, by exploring various new media. We have been witnessing literary celebrations and participation of authors, writers and enthusiasts at vibrant Literature Festivals in major Cities of the World. Delhi Literature Festival endeavours to celebrate the art and power of literature by mobilizing the literary community for panel discussions, book launches, readings, talks and poetry recitals throughout the two days.

Some of the Sessions planned for the two days are very topical and include themes like Solidarity on Trial, Beyond The Blog: New Media and the Future of Literature, on Contemporary Hindi Literature, Poetry & Politics: How well do they mix? Indie Publishing in India and Session on Translations.

More information on the event can be found on the website.


The 3rd Annual Comic Con is also coming to Delhi between 8th-10th February. The venue is Dilli Haat. There is also a special kids zone. Yahoooo! If you are above 10 years, dress up as your favourite character, participate in the Cosplay Contest and stand a chance to win a ticket to Dubai to attend the Middle East Film and Comic Con. Find more information on the official website.

If you are wondering why everything is happening in Delhi, fret not! The Kitsch Mandi event in Bangalore has quite a few fun activities lined up for your literary soul - children's workshops, open poetry jam, tea for a poem and much more.We will also be selling our books at stall no. 50. Since we are gearing up for International Book Giving Day, you will have a chance to do your bit too (but more details when you get there :)).

Psssst: The New Delhi World Book Fair is also holding a Cosplay contest for kids on 8th and 9th February.

Outreach in the City : Anita Mani and her experiences

In January, Pratham Books was happy to partner with the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival and Teamwork Productions to conduct 'Outreach in the City' - a programme to widen the scope of the Jaipur Literature Festival by taking celebrated authors and illustrators to institutions across Jaipur and thereby enabling children to partake of the joy of books and reading. This year we had an exciting line up of personalities from India and abroad and conducted 25 reading sessions, workshops and interactive sessions in 25 educational institutions in and around Jaipur between 21st to 26th of January 2013.

Anita Mani, one of the facilitators of a workshop, writes about her 'Outreach in the City experience' on her blog
For the last few days I have been in Jaipur, visiting schools as part of the Jaipur Literary Festival Outreach organized by Pratham Books. The interactions were structured in such a way that it included upscale schools such as The Palace School as well as private schools catering to students from less elite backgrounds. All of them were either exclusively English medium schools or institutions offering both English and Hindi instruction. Spoken English levels varied widely, but what didn’t was the enthusiasm and energy of the children (mostly in the 12-15 age group) in discussing the workshop topic – ‘News and the world of information’. 
What was remarkable was the level of knowledge among children, even in those belonging to the not-so-elite schools. At least one child in each school knew that paper was invented in China, and that the Gutenberg invented the modern printing press (the last was totally unexpected!). They had an instinctive understanding of the way technology was shaping communication to speed up the sharing of information. And they had no doubts that in the future robots would be writing the news and that we would be receiving news updates on our wrist-watches! 
Before I left for Jaipur I had some qualms about how kids would respond to a dry, business oriented topic like news and information. Glad to say that my fears were belied. These sessions reinforced my belief that if you engage young kids, and tickle their intellect, most will happily respond. What also came home was, regardless of the kind of schools that kids go to, that children imbibe a fount of information, and are surprisingly knowledgeable. 
And finally, I must add –they might be a little doubtful of what it is that our netas too (even I am working that one out), but their cricket ‘fundas’ are bang on. I ended each workshop with a little quiz, and the one question that got a correct answer every time was – which player holds the Indian record for the highest score in an ODI match? In case you didn’t know, it is Virendra Sehwag who scored 219 runs against West Indies in 2011 (Of course they knew the score and which team he thrashed!)
(Anita Mani is the founder-editor of Child Friendly News, a fortnightly newspaper for 7 to 13 year olds, that pitches ‘hard’ news for young minds in a style and format that can grip their attention. Writing and marketing a paper for children demands of Anita skills built over a 15 year career spanning mainstream print media, investment banking, consulting and running the operations of a technology start-up. When the call of the keyboard can be resisted (or ignored!), Anita pursues photography and bird-watching.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Roald Dahl Papercuts

This is a story from the Etsy Short Stories series - a 'series dedicated to telling the tales behind extraordinary pieces found or created by Etsy sellers'. This story is of paper artist Jayme McGowan's gorgeous Roald Dahl papercuts.

Via etsy
I wanted to do a series of pieces based on favorite books from my childhood, choosing just one author to narrow the theme. I picked books that I would enjoy re-reading now, as an adult, and Roald Dahl was the natural choice. I’ve always loved his dark humor, and the images his writing creates in my mind are so vivid — I knew they’d be fun to illustrate. Picking just five was tough, but I settled on MatildaCharlie and the Chocolate Factory,Fantastic Mr. FoxThe BFG and, of course, James and the Giant Peach.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Read all about Jayme creates these gorgeous papercuts on the Etsy blog.

Image Source : Jayme McGowan

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gearing Up For International Book Giving Day

International Book Giving Day is just around the corner and we are gearing up for this celebration. We will unveil our plans soon... but till then, we just wanted to know if you will be celebrating too?

Oh wait ... Are you asking what International Book Giving Day? Well, International Book Giving Day is celebrated on 14th February (a valentine's day for books? Hehe).

International Book Giving Day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books.

International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to
1) give a book to a friend or family member,
2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read, or 
3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need internationally.

international book giving day poster by priya kuriyan

And apart from celebrating this day on 14th, you can also volunteer to spread the word in the following ways 
  • Print this International Book Giving Day poster, and hang copies in your community.
  • Send links to the International Book Giving Day 2013 poster and press release to your local newspaper along with information about any events being planned in your community. See “help organize” for ideas about organizing an event in your community.
  • Invite others to celebrate International Book Giving Day via newsletters, list serves, event calendars etc.
The gorgeous International Book Giving Day poster was designed by one of our favourite illustrators - Priya Kuriyan! Read Priya's interview here.

Visit the International Book Giving Day website.

So, time to figure out how you will be celebrating this day. Write in to us and share your ideas. We would love to hear how everyone is getting books into the hands of children.

Join us at the New Delhi World Book Fair

So much good news to share in this post ...

Firstly, the Biennial New Delhi World Book Fair is now an Annual Event. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy! More books and more fun every year.

New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) is from 4th to 10th February 2013 at the centrally located Pragati Maidan exhibition grounds, New Delhi. This year France is a Guest of Honor Country. The theme of the Fair is "Indigenous Voices: Mapping India's Folk and Tribal Literature".

And of course, we will be present at the World Book Fair.
Find our books at Stall No. B3, Hall No.18.

In addition to that, we are also conducting two events during the fair :
7th Feb, 5.30-6.45pm : Panel discussion with authors on 'The Indian Child: Who is She?' 
8th Feb , 12 -1.15pm : Wallbook Event for children. 

Both events will be held at Hall 7 D, Pragati Maidan.

Mark your calendars, set the alarms and head to this big celebration of books!

Via The Times of India

The Feb 4-10 event has drawn nearly 1,100 exhibitors from 28 countries exhibiting books in about 2,100 stands.
The transition from bi-annual to an annual feature is marked by three special features: a separate rights table to facilitate publishing and retail trade, an authors' corner and a CEO Speak where CEOs and senior executives will speak on the publishing industry.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Music and Books

We're loving it – this photograph sent by our friend Geraldine at Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya. And we're pleased that our books have reached the hands of these children from KVS, Dharwad, the same hands that created beautiful music at the Bangalore Literature festival.A school with a difference, the Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya (KSV) provides a musical and academic education to two hundred children. In addition, food, accommodation, health care and clothing are also provided, and everything is free. There are no fees at all.Do listen to a bit of music available on their website.

Serendipity it was that my colleagues and I strolled into a concert conducted by the children of KVS. The music was so beautiful that we presented a set of books to the children.

Thank you for the music, KVS, and we're happy your kids liked our books!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pratham Books on Teachers of India Platform


Teachers! Our books are slowly being uploaded to the Teachers of India platform. 

Proposed by the National Knowledge Commission in 2008, the portal, an initiative of Azim Premji Foundation, is a platform for teachers, teacher educators and others working in education in India.

The Teachers of India Portal aims to create a vibrant community of teachers through the sharing of knowledge and experience on a common platform. The range of teaching and learning resources available to teachers on the portal will enrich their knowledge of subject content and pedagogy, demonstrate new approaches to classroom practice and provide concrete support in the form of teaching/learning material.

On why our books were chosen : 
The Teachers of India portal creates, collates, collects and disseminates resources which teachers can transact in the classroom to increase literacy rates among India's children. Pratham Books has supported us in this effort by sharing more than 100 titles in five languages. This partnership is sure to yield fruitful results due to the relevance and versatility of their books.
 The books are being uploaded to their platform. So, hop over and download them for your classroom. You can also find more classroom resources here.