Thursday, April 28, 2016

Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno

NOTE : This campaign has been extended and is also happening on 29th April, from 2 p.m - 9 p.m.

From 2pm-9pm today, use your phone as a storyteller for your little one today! That's right, free audio stories to delight your tiny tot! Bring alive Bheema, Sringeri Srinivas, Veeru and many other delightful characters and stories from Pratham Books. And if that wasn't enough we have stories in 5 languages to choose from. 

So don't wait, grab your phone, aur ek missed call do on 080-39236222.

3 easy steps to listen to a story for FREE
Step 1: Give a missed call to 080-39236222 between 2 p.m - 9 p.m  (Valid for first 10,000 calls only).
Step 2: We'll call you back and you can listen to stories in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu.
Step 3: To listen to more stories, simply give a missed call again. 

Also, help us spread the word so that more kids get to hear a story today! Example : write down the number and share it with someone whose child may not have access to stories OR download the image above and share it through Whatsapp OR send an SMS with the number to someone you know.

We would like to thank Radio Mirchi's CSR initiative -Mirchi Cares that helped bring these stories alive and Exotel for helping us deliver these audio stories to you.

Give a missed call on 080-39236222 and get a story in return!

P.S - As there is a limited number of calls, call the number when your child is next to you. That way, more kids get to hear stories.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Weaving Stories in New Languages

Our open source platform, StoryWeaver, was featured on YourStory. Snigdha Sinha writes about how this open source platform is weaving stories of communities in their own languages.
Purvi Shah, Head of Digital Projects at Pratham Books, says,
There are three major problems owing to which children in India aren’t reading enough – a very low number of books available, a lack of linguistic diversity of books, and barriers that limit access to the books. With 22 official languages, and hundreds of smaller ones, the multiplicity of languages becomes a challenge for publishers. They prefer to print in the lead languages and ignore the rest. 
StoryWeaver is an open source platform by Pratham Books for multilingual children’s stories. It addresses all the issues around the lack of content by using the open access framework and technology as force multipliers. With over 1,500 stories in 35 languages, it is a free gateway to a stream of openly licensed stories in Indian and international languages. The stories can be read, shared, or downloaded for offline usage and in print-ready formats. “This helps in increasing access where there is none,” says Purvi. 
StoryWeaver has embedded tools for content creation to enable people to re-purpose the content into more languages and versions. Users can translate a story in their preferred language or create a story from an image bank of over 2,500 images. Purvi elucidates, “By enabling the creation of locally relevant content, organisations can customise the creation of content to suit their needs. At one level, StoryWeaver is a large digital repository of content and on the other, it can provide tailor made, hyper-local content for a specific need. By making all of this content available for free, StoryWeaver is reducing the barriers to access good quality multilingual content.” 
How does it work?
The undercurrent is to connect content creators at one end (authors, illustrators, translators, reviewers, and publishers) and content users on the other (children, parents, educators, librarians, and publishers as well – since they could use this content in their publishing programmes) through StoryWeaver. 
StoryWeaver has an online-offline strategy. Purvi explains, “While content creation happens online, content consumption can happen in offline mode as well. For example, we have seen teachers in Government schools download stories from StoryWeaver and project them to a class. The interesting thing is that the story per se is a starting point – once the story is read, it then becomes a medium to engage the class with much more – be it concepts, reading comprehension or creative thinking.“ 
The platform is doing its bit for minority languages too. Purvi says,
StoryWeaver’s architecture is built for scale and one of the hard choices was to be Unicode compliant. This was a non-trivial exercise considering the complexity in Indian language scripts, but it guarantees content accessibility and discoverability. This has allowed us to add complex script languages, like Khmer, and tribal languages, like Kurukh, Mundari, and Sadri, with very little effort. Users then come and create stories in these languages helping preserve minority languages.

Visit StoryWeaver to discover a world of stories!

Samidha Gunjal's Work Featured in the Book Illustrators Gallery

Illustrator Samidha Gunjal mailed us the other day to say that her work had been selected to be part of the Book Illustrators Gallery at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC). We were doubly delighted to see that the illustrations she had submitted were from our book 'Why Can't We Glow Like Fireflies?'.  Congrats Samidha!

Click here to read the book and take a look at the illustrations Samidha created to tell us more about these creatures that light up the dark. 
Our congratulations to Kavita Singh Kale whose work has also been featured on B.I.G. 

If you are in Singapore and attending the AFCC conference, you can visit the Book Illustrators Gallery between 14th May-3rd June, 2016. The Book Illustrators Gallery aims to showcase local and regional illustrators and artists, and promote them to a wider audience, featuring published and unpublished art. You can view the work of all the selected illustrators here.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Motivation : L is for Libraries

One of the first emails we all saw when we logged in today was one that a colleague had sent us. A story of a man with a backpack who is determined to introduce the children of Kalagachia, West Bengal, to the joys of reading. 

The man is Partha Kayal, a schoolteacher who spends his free time operating an informal mobile library out of his backpack for the children of Kalagachia. He has been regularly visiting this village in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, for the past nine months. Every Saturday, he sets off at around 6.30 am from Kolkata and arrives in Kalagachia after a two-hour journey (with a change of bus en route). Every Saturday, some 20 youngsters wait to receive his help in learning to read or listen to the variety of tall tales, adventure stories and natural world lessons he has prepared for them. His programme complements what the children learn in school. The books they do not have access to, they get from Kayal. 
The session today is a follow-up to the books on birds they have been reading for the past few weeks.  
The books he brings to Kalagachia come from a wide variety of genres. Some are about the natural world, some have messages, others are fairy tales and fables. 
They are mostly given by friends or sourced from old workplaces, while some are from his own collection. 
Kayal peppers the sessions with activities and games. The children are expected to write about or draw out three things that were discussed on each Saturday. Then there’s the bakko (word) game where each child says a word. And each word has to make sense when added to the previous one, ending in a legible sentence. The one they play today ends with sentences like “Aaj — aami — haantey — jaabo. Haantey— jai — maachh — kintey.” (Today I will go to the haat. I go to the haat to buy fish). “We string these together in the end. The idea is to try to create stories,” says Kayal.

This story reminded us of a bunch of kids who used to take their mobile library, aptly named 'Boi Gari', (Books Van), and distribute books to children in rural areas. Another story that then popped up on our email thread was that of a library which was set on fire and how social media is helping rebuild it
One of the biggest book collection drives that the State has witnessed in recent times, started from a Facebook group titled simply ‘Book collection’, floated soon after the incident. The news of the book burning and collection drive went viral on social networks. Many came forward offering substantial number of books from their personal collections. The idea of a ‘Pusthakavandi’ was thus born, with a few students and working professionals agreeing to take around a vehicle to collect books from across the State. 
“We formed volunteer groups in each district to coordinate the collection activities. One vehicle started from Thiruvananthapuram and collected books from the southern districts, while a few others started from Kasaragod. 
The people of the locality have already collected more than 3,000 books for us. With the Pusthakavandi, we will now have more than 10,000 books,” says K.T. Musthafa, the library secretary.

And after that, the following tweet led us to  this story about a man who rides his library bicycle to remote parts of Afghanistan to bring books to children who don't have any.

Such an inspiring note to start the week with, no? Wishing all our readers an equally inspiring week ahead!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Pratham Books at the Global Book Fund, CIES 2016

Suzanne Singh, Chairperson, Pratham Books was invited to be part of a discussion on the Global Book Fund at CIES 2016 in Vancouver.

The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), Inc., was founded in 1956 to foster cross-cultural understanding, scholarship, academic achievement and societal development through the international study of educational ideas, systems, and practices.

The Global Book Fund is a groundbreaking initiative with a wide range of partners that is building on experience from health sector commodity reform to transform the development, procurement and distribution of books for the education sector. It is expected that Book Fund activities will increase book quality and availability while decreasing costs. The initial focus will be on books for reading instruction and practice in underserved languages.

The three Book Fund panels at CIES this year updated CIES participants on progress and engaged them in contributing to improving and increasing content, transforming approaches to financing and procurement and modernizing approaches to supply chain management to ensure Books For Every Child.

The lack of high quality textbooks, reading books and library materials in languages children understand in many countries has produced a learning crisis: “Of the world’s 650 million primary school age children, at least 250 million are not learning the basics in reading and mathematics . . . 130 million of these children are in primary school but have not achieved the minimum benchmarks for learning (UNESCO EFA GMR, 2014).”

Suzanne’s panel focused on providing a critical analysis of new approaches to content development, content access and supply. She presented StoryWeaver as a tool to address the issue. Her co panelists were:

Ana Robledo, RTI who began the session by providing an overview of the large-scale Learning Materials Survey that was just completed for Africa. This survey reviewed more than 6000 titles in 11 African countries, covering many languages of instruction. She described the results of the survey and framed the issues of title availability and access. Ed Gaible, Natoma Group, presented recommendations from his recently conducted design study for the Global Reading Repository and solicited feedback from the audience on maximizing the functionality and use of the GRR for governments, organizations and individuals to upload, download and print titles within and across contexts.
Michelle Malecki presented the two prototypes of “track&trace” technology that USAID is piloting to improve book distribution and management.

Paul Frank, SIL LEAD and Suzanne, presented and discussed the open source software packages that their respective organizations had developed and engaged the audience in a conversation about encouraging access by local authors and large scale uptake.

Suzanne spoke of how Pratham Books was using Open Source as a means to address the scarcity in multilingual reading resources for children through the StoryWeaver platform

Pratham Books mission is a 'book in every child's hand' and this has a two part objective, one is to create more multilingual reading resources so there are more available for children to read and the second is to provide access to these books, where children need them the most. She spoke of the challenge in creating a scalable publishing model for a massively multi-lingual and multi-cultural market. Pratham Books' solution was to create an open source platform, StoryWeaver, which provides free access to thousands of books in multiple languages. As a publisher that has been creating children’s books, primarily in print, for over a decade, Pratham Books’ has a vast catalogue of high quality books in 18 Indian languages. We have openly licensed our storybooks on StoryWeaver for users to read, download or print. Apart from this, we have also embedded some tools for content creation - to enable people to repurpose the content into more languages and versions. The goal is to bring together content users and content creators and create a participatory culture that will catalyse the creation of more content.

Friday, April 8, 2016

What Language Will You Tell Your Story In


The exams are finally over (or almost getting over)! If you and your kids love words and playing with them, our Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest is for you. This year's contest is happening at a new playground - the StoryWeaver platform- and it is easier than before to create your own masterpiece!

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

We are also very eager to hear stories in different languages. You can submit stories in English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada or Tamil. Are you ready? Start creating your story here

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Dose of Magic For Your Screen

This April, our calendar page turns to the magical world created by the very talented Kalyani Ganapathy. The flying woman who appears in this illustration was part of a wordless story Kalyani created for the #6FrameStoryChallenge. Kalyani was one of the Illustrator Gurus of the challenge and just as Kalyani had been glued to her chair while working on her 6 frames, we were glued to her magical and luminous illustrations as soon as we caught a glimpse of them. 

Kalyani's illustrations are up on StoryWeaver now 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.

Don't Miss Out On Any Reading Fun

Our annual stock taking is on from 1st-15th April. While you can order at our e-store, shipping of books ordered during this period will be delayed.

Continue the reading fun on StoryWeaver. Over 1500+ books in 35 languages await you.