Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This Cat Has More Than Nine Lives

On International Literacy Day 2015, Pratham Books launched StoryWeaver with the aim of furthering their vision of ‘a book in every child’s hands.’ 

The StoryWeaver platform is built on a foundation rooted in open source and nurtured by a community that is passionate about collaborating to ensure that children everywhere have an endless supply of books to read in many languages. 

Once our stories are published, they tend to take on a life and journey of their own, that is completely unpredictable. And a story that illustrates this very well is Anushka Ravishankar's and Priya Kuriyan’s 'It’s All the Cat’s Fault'.

Anushka Ravishankar, co-founder and Principal Platypus of publishing house Duckbill Books, showed her support for StoryWeaver by writing the rib-tickling tale for us. StoryWeaver was launched with ‘Weave-a-Story’, a call to translate our stories in as many Indic languages as possible so that all children could enjoy them in a language they were fluent in. ‘It’s all the Cat’s Fault' was our first ‘Weave-a-Story’ book. Priya Kuriyan’s illustrations are just perfect for the story; a much loved and respected illustrator with a distinctive style, Priya has worked with Pratham Books on a number of titles in the past. Collaboration without barriers is at the heart of StoryWeaver and underpins all the work we do, so for us to be able to set the ball rolling with Anushka and Priya was truly special. 

Read over 7000 times and with 36 translations to its name, ‘It’s all the Cat’s Fault’ is one of StoryWeaver’s most read books, and transcends language and geography. From Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and even in Dutch, Spanish and Khmer, ‘It’s all the Cat’s Fault’ has a universal appeal that few can resist. 

cats fault reads.jpgPresentation-07.jpg

What’s even more heartening to see is the debate around language on social media generated by these translations. Some language lovers on twitter debated whether one should transliterate easily recognisable words in to Hindi or use the actual Hindi word. The use of the word ‘homework’ as opposed to ‘gruh karya’ as seen below sparked a Twitter discussion:

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.35.20 AM.png

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 7.58.51 AM.png
Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 7.59.04 AM.png

Community translations in Tamil have helped Pratham Books find and commission translators for other work, ensuring that our resource pool is constantly refreshed.

‘It’s all the Cat’s Fault’ has also inspired others to spin their own version of the story, including hysterical version by popular children’s illustrator Greystroke!

A.jpg

Collaborations, discussions, debates, fresh commissions and most importantly a story taken to children across the world in words they are familiar with. What can we say, it really is all the cat’s fault!

blog comments powered by Disqus