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 :

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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.