Monday, March 28, 2016

Library Educator’s Course

Click on the image for a larger view


Library Educator’s Course is a Professional Development course conceptualized and seeded by Tata Trusts in collaboration with Vidya Bhawan Education Society (Udaipur).

The course is offered to all educators working with children and concerned with over all and specific learning through print engagement. Library Education in the 21st Century places far wider and complex demands on the education system and the library can be a space of deep engagement and reinforcement of necessary learning skills and widening exposure.

The course offers professional development in
  • Intellectually stimulating curriculum enabling vision and perspective building for the library professional.
  • Exposure and experience with rich selection of children’s books from an every growing Indian market for children’s publishing.
  • Extensive hands-on experience in contact mode with practical and theoretical discussions.
  • Mentoring by school library professionals and educators.
  • The opportunity to dialogue and network with an ever growing community of Library Educators across the country.
Click here for more details. Last date for submitting applications is 12th April, 2016.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Book For Every Box : An Indian Moms Connect Collaboration

 The Pratham Books journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand' is only possible through collaboration. We say this very often - at work meetings, at conferences, to our stakeholders, etc. We can't stop beaming when we see our friends think of new ways of collaborating with us on this mission. One such friendship which has developed over the years is the one we have with the Indian Moms Connect team. They've supported our work in multiple ways and last year, they reached out to us to take this a step further. 

In June 2015, they launched IMC’s Treasure Box - a monthly subscription box that includes a hand-picked children’s book with an Indian theme, related activities and materials, a recipe and a curated App suggestion. By December 2015, they had shipped 100 boxes. And this is when they thought of us.

Packing the boxes and shipping out to kids to enjoy got us thinking, why don’t we extend the same joy and love for books that we at IMC and our subscribers experience by sending out well-made books to schools that need them?

So started our A Book For Every Box mission in partnership with Pratham Books.

For every IMC’s Treasure Box we ship, we will set aside one book from Pratham Books’ vast collection of great books in English as well regional Indian languages to be shipped out to a school we identify. Swathi, our friend in Bangalore helped us find our first school!

Our first 100 books for the first 100 boxes have reached GMPS, Jakkur near Bangalore!

Thank you Indian Moms Connect for helping our books reach this school. Here's to the next 100 books that reach another school!

To keep track of the work being done by Indian Moms Connect, visit their website or follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

River Diary Contest

Update : We've extended the contest deadline to 3rd April.

Today is World Water Day and we are celebrating by celebrating rivers. Come celebrate with us and participate in the River Diary Contest. 

Inspiring, spiritual, revelatory, adventurous, glorious - a river journey can be so much. This World Water Day, share your river story and stand a chance to win copies* of author and photographer Shahidul Alam's stunning travelogue - Brahmaputra Diary.
This is a travelogue about one of the mightiest rivers of the world, the Brahmaputra. While most rivers in the Indian sub-continent have feminine names, the Brahmaputra, meaning the son of Brahma in Sanskrit, is unusual in having a masculine one. This is also the story of a grand journey taken by a celebrated Bangladeshi photographer. Following the river, he braved the barren, icy wilds of Tibet, travelled along the verdant green lands of northeastern India and finally lovingly captured the light of the ‘living river’ in Bangladesh. His stunning visual chronicle will remain etched in your memory forever even as it gives you a view of the many-splendoured cultural canvas of the sub-continent.
There are 4 ways to enter the contest :

Through email :
1. Submit a photo and brief write up* (or both) about your river journey.
2. Mail between 22nd-27th March, 2016. (Update : We've extended the contest deadline to 3rd April.)

On Facebook :
On Twitter :
  • Tweet us at @prathambooks, use the hashtag #riverdiary and share your story
On Instagram : 
  • Share your story on your Instagram feed, tag us @pratham.books (note: there is dot between our name) and use the hashtag #riverdiary.
We've already started getting some entries! Send us your river stories soon.

Pssst : Some of our river and water related books are also on discount. Get your copies.
Also, if you want to get a copy of the book 'Brahmaputra Diary', you can buy it here.

*Prizes can only be sent to an Indian postal address.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Unleash Your Creativity With the Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest

Update : The contest deadline has been extended to 22nd May, 2016.

Today is World Storytelling Day and we are launching the 5th edition of the Retell, Remix and Rejoice contest. This year's contest is heading to a new playground - the StoryWeaver platform- and it is easier than before to create your own masterpiece! 

Last year we received 99 stories from our community and we can't wait to see what stories you are going to craft on our new platform this year. Adults or children - we welcome all storytellers. Join us to celebrate the storyteller in you.

Here's what you need to do:
Choose from the curated set of images here, remix & re-tell in your own way and submit a brand new story.
Be creative, be original, be wacky! (Click here to find the detailed instructions on how to create a story on StoryWeaver)

The first-prize winner gets a printed, laid-out version of their winning story. 

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at the sample story written by our editor Mala Kumar - 'Can You Smile When You Snore'. 

(Did you know that one of the submissions to our contest even got selected, tweaked and published by another publisher. Awesome right?)

Contest guidelines
  • There are two categories: Adults (over 16) and children (under 16).
  • Entries can be in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada or Tamil.
  • You are free to submit* multiple stories.
  • The contest deadline has been extended to 22nd May, 2016
  • Results will be announced on our website, blog and social media handles.
  • Got any queries? Email us at
*By submitting your work, you are agreeing to a “Creative Commons – Attribution license” (CC-BY 4.0) being applied to it. While we encourage participation from all countries, prizes shall be couriered only within India.

Good luck everyone! Happy remixing!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Club To Help Parents Discover the Joy of Reading

Love this idea of involving parents in the community to become active participants in their child's reading journey. 

Via Los Angeles Times

Illustration by Soumya Menon
Maria Onate had not read a book until her son started high school.

Her illiterate parents ended her schooling when she was 15, informing her that she had to get ready for marriage and work to help support the family in their rancho in Puebla, Mexico.

More than two decades later, she was shocked when the parent center coordinators at her son's new high school, Bravo Medical Magnet, suggested she join a book club. She was there for her child's education. She thought it was too late for her own.

"I hated to read," Onate, 44, said in Spanish. "I read in elementary school, but I never read on my own."

Twice a month the school's club de literatura meets as a way to encourage immigrant parents to become more involved in their children's education.

Torres-Flores started the club six years ago when she was attempting to increase literacy across the curriculum. She realized that key barriers to students' reading were often in the home.

So Torres-Flores began to focus on parents. "If I can get parents to want to read," she said, "those parents would see the value of reading and want the kids to read more."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Aarti's Journey : PBChamp to Librarian

Back in 2013, Aarti Srinivasan first volunteered to be a Pratham Books champion. She took Paplu to meet the kids at BJ Home in Mumbai and when she wrote back to us about her experience, she stated - "I bid them farewell after an hour's session but promising to be back to them with more stories and more lessons."

And did she return? Yes, she did. A year later, she was urging more people to join the PBChamps movement and also called storytelling an addictive experience
The first time I entered BJ home( an NGO in Mumbai) on International Literacy Day last year and saw some hundred odd kids waiting to listen to a story I was going to narrate, I was both thrilled and anxious. But the moment I opened the book( Paplu, the Giant) I didn't have much to worry about. Little Paplu took over and he was enthralling the kids with all the fascinating things he did. I walked into the place as someone who was just 'giving it a shot' at storytelling but walked out quite amazed with myself. The experience made me realize that there's a storyteller hidden in each one of us. All one needs is an engaging story and a group of kids the story can engage with. Because, quite honestly, we're just the medium to bring the two together. Nothing more than that.

This got me thinking how fantastic it would be if each of us could take some time out and spend an hour or so in the company of children and books. That would mean so many beautiful stories enjoyed by so many more children. Wouldn't that be great? Well, at the risk of sounding sermonizing, I would like to urge many more of you to become #PBChamps and be part of the fantastic 'Tentastic' initiative. Rest assured, you’ll get a lot more than you will give.
Fast forward to 2016 and we receive a warm email from Aarti asking for book suggestions. She also spills the beans that she has now started her very own library!
You will be really happy to know that the calendar will be finding its home in a library that I am soon going to start. A few km away from Mumbai, in Virar, I plan to start a free library/ story room and what's cool is that a lot of books are by Pratham Books (the ones i have been collecting for the past few years).  
A lot of children are from the vernacular medium and I was looking at buying more Hindi and Marathi books.
Aarti went on to say ...
I was always in love with books, children and children's books, but being a PB champ a few years back for the first time definitely kickstarted this whole love affair. That's when i realised how much I enjoy being a storyteller and after my first PBchamp narration of "Paplu", I've not stopped discovering and collecting more and more books- the maximum books still being from Pratham Books. I was also inspired by the work of the other individuals/ organisations that I came across in your blog/ the Donate-a-Book campaign. That's why I thought of writing to you about your Library set for my first library/ story room. :). 

Aarti, we cannot wait to hear about all the stories your library is going to witness! Here's to many more magical journeys ahead.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Stories Take Flight With #Udaan

This is the cutest video we've seen this week! Airtel's #Udaan campaign brought five little vibrant minds together to tell the world their stories along with author Amish Tripathi.

Here's to a weekend full of stories. Read and create your own stories on StoryWeaver - our open source platform for stories.

Children's Books Set in the Indian Milieu

Apoorva Sripathi wonders whether the growing number of Indian titles in English for children reflects reading choices. A world beyond lacrosse and ├ęclairs?

Today, Indian titles attempt to rethink stereotypes with relevant story lines, inclusion of words from regional languages (example, amma and appa instead of Mum and Dad), and scenes set in the Indian milieu.

It also owes a lot to the rising number of authors: Anushka Ravishankar, Annie Besant, Roopa Pai, Paro Anand, Samit Basu, Siddhartha Sarma are some well-known names.

It seems like there is no dearth of titles for the interested parent. Vidya Mani, managing editor of Goodbooks, a website that reviews and discusses books for Indian children, says that the trend could be due to parents “actively looking for books that can connect with children here. Indian books speak a lot more to children, and parents are recognising that”. However, she wishes that teachers and librarians take a little more effort to curate reading lists for children, apart from the ones put out by the CBSE. “For example, Classes III to X can study Salim Ali, especially Zai Whitaker’s Salim Ali for Schools, which would make academics quite easy.”

However, Sayoni Basu of Duckbill Books believes that the real achievement would be when children opt for books by Indian authors. “A lot of parents want books with Indian mythology and folktales; for which, there are no non-Indian substitutes. So, I’m not sure how much ‘opting’ it involves,” she says. And that may be because of parents who are partial to the ‘oldie but a goodie’ idiom — “Parents who enjoy reading Indian authors may want their kids to experience the same pleasure,” explains Sayoni.

With the number of publishing houses for children’s books increasing, the market looks relatively healthy. But is that the case? Yes, says Mala Kumar, editor of Pratham Books, citing the growing number of young readers today, despite popular opinion that millennials are hooked onto television and the Internet. “Many old and new publishing houses are widening their offerings for children. There is a larger supply to cater to the demand. It’s not just a trend, it’s here to stay.”

From a publisher’s point of view, a good children’s book, according to Mala, is one that contains a well-told story with contemporary themes and settings, lends itself well to illustration and translation and provides a fresh perspective. Pratham Books also recently launched a platform called StoryWeaver, a digital repository of multi-lingual stories (over 1,300 stories in 33 languages are available for free).

Thursday, March 3, 2016

World Wildlife Day Reads

Today is World Wildlife Day and we are sharing some of our books that celebrate many of these magnificent creatures. From the Western Ghats to Assam, from forest canopies to city ponds on!

The Adventures of Philautus Frog
(Author : Kartik Shanker, Illustrator : Maya Ramaswamy)

Philautus, the little tree frog wants to see the wide blue sea, so far away from his home on Big Tree, in the middle of forest. Take a magnificent trek with Philautus across the Western Ghats teeming with creatures that are funny, fat and fascinating.

Read the book Buy the book

The Cat in the Ghat!
(Author : Ambika Rao, Illustrator Ruchi Shah)

This is a book that takes you deep into the jungles of the Western Ghats. A wildlife photographer sets out to find an elusive wild cat and meets a menagerie of fascinating creatures. Quirky illustrations pepper a funny narrative inspired by real-life adventure. What better way to invite you to join his quest!

Read the book in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Urdu, Bengali, Odia, Tamil


Up World, Down World
(Author : Padmaparna Ghosh, Illustrator :  Sunaina Coelho)

In a canopy forest in India, the Up World and Down World have always been suspicious of each other. But it all changes when Gopa the dormouse drops her book by accident on Fatima’s head. A story about the biodiversity of the canopy forests and friendship.

Read the book


Wildlife in a City Pond
(Author : Ashish Kothari, Illustrator : Sangeetha Kadur)

Wetlands in any city are seen mostly as wasteland, waiting to be built over. It takes a tireless environmentalist to show us what city ponds really are - magically rich ecosystems worth preserving. Based on a real-life experience, here is a story that introduces us to the delightful flora and fauna in the urban landscape

Read the book in English , HindiKannada, MarathiTeluguUrdu 
Buy the book

Jadav and the Tree-Place
(Author and illustrator : Vinayak Varma)

Jadav has the best job in the world: he makes forests! How does he do it? Read this book to find out!


Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth
(Author : Dr. Madhav Gadgil, Iillustrator :Maya Ramaswamy)

Bears, bees and blossoms are three enchanting building blocks of our natural world. The Indian rock bee is called a giant bee because it is one of the biggest honeybees in the world. Rock bees forage by moonlight. Scientists have been working with forest dwellers to safeguard rock bees, a precious natural heritage. In this informative tale, Muchkund and his bright gang of ghosts have a clever way of dealing with the burning issue of forest offenders!

Read the book in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tribute to Shahid Anwar

Shahid Anwar, celebrated playwright, theatre enthusiast and most of all a large hearted warm human being left us yesterday. The Urdu and Hindi literary community has been plunged into gloom by Shahid's untimely departure. He mentored many young people through his theatre group Behroop and had a wide circle of friends who admired him for different facets of his open and engaging personality. Awarded for his work by Sahitya Kala Parishad, Ghalib Institute, Delhi Urdu Academy, he wore his distinctions lightly and continued to do his cultural work quietly and effectively.

We at Pratham Books had been fortunate to have persuaded him to write for children over the past two years. His forthcoming play for children Sabzpari ka Jaltarang is about to go to press and we are struggling to accept the fact that he has gone before he could hold a copy in his hands. Our deepest condolences to Poonam, his partner and our dear colleague and to young Kaasni.

RIP will be missed.

- written by Manisha Chaudhry

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This March, Sing Along With Thangwang and Bhalluka

March is finally here and we are ready to share our monthly calendar (for your screen!). This month's calendar page is an illustration from Jithin Jacob's wordless story for the #6FrameStoryChallenge. The story begins with a crying baby. A bear appears and starts to sing. What happens next? Find out here

Jithin's story was also one of the winning entries of the contest and was woven into a story by Mala Kumar. Read 'Thangwang and Bhalluka' to find out if you can understand the baby and the bear. Jithin's illustrations are up on StoryWeaver and you can try your hand at remixing them to create your very own special story.

How do I make this image my screensaver?
Right click on the image below and save it. Set as your screensaver (or maybe even your Facebook cover picture?). Done, done, done!

P.S - If you change your desktop screen, we would love to see some pictures of this travelling across screens :). Mail us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org OR share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.