Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Perfect Festival

Author Ramendra Kumar was busy having a perfect time at the Bookaroo Children's Literature Festival in Jaipur. He sent us this report of his adventures :

Guys, I have just come back from participating in Bookaroo, India’s best loved children’s literature festival. Bookaroo was presented by Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK), produced by the Bookaroo Trust and sponsored by ZeeQ. I was the only writer from Odisha to have been invited to this popular festival which was attended by 17 speakers from four countries and was held at JKK, Jaipur.

I conducted five story telling sessions during the festival for different age groups. One of the sessions for the age group 8 to 10 years was based on my book 'A Perfect Match' published by Pratham Books. The tale of a hockey match with a twist in its tail was lapped up by the 300 odd children.

In another session I told my perennial favourite Paplu, the giant also published by Pratham to a younger group. The story of the giant who believed in fighting without fighting was enjoyed by the kids, their parents as well as their grandparents.

It was such a thrill to see my eclectic audience respond to my stories with unadulterated enthusiasm and unbridled energy. Each session, with its interludes of shouting and singing and dancing, was impeccably mastilicious. Later, I had a great time giving interviews to the media, signing books, posing for selfies and interacting with my ‘fans’.

The next day the print media covered the festival extensively. Dainik Bhaskar was so impressed with 'A Perfect Match' that it carried a gist of the story in its columns!

Bookaroo also conducts a popular intervention in the schools called Bookaroo in the City. As a part of this initiative I visited Delhi Public School, Jaipur a day before the main festival and conducted a story telling session based on A Perfect Match. The response from the kids was awesome.

A Perfect Match provided a perfect beginning and a perfect ending to a festival which was perfect!

Buy the book here.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Teaching at the Right Level

Gautam Patel talks about how the government's new education policy must include solutions to teach students basics.

In January 2016, the non-governmental organisation, Pratham Education Foundation and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which is headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, launched a scale-up program in Anantapur, a district in Andhra Pradesh that has the lowest learning levels in the state.

In 1600 schools in 32 mandals—zones—in Anantapur, about 52,000 students from grades three, four and five were grouped according to their reading and comprehension learning-level after a quick assessment, regardless of their age, for two hours during the school day. The children were then given exercises to help them improve and move on to the next proficiency level. For instance, students who could not yet recognise letters would play games with letter-cards. Those who could read words used mind-maps to move to forming sentences, and those who could already do the latter were given storymaking exercises. In mathematics, once the students could recognise numbers they were taught core concepts—such as place value—to be able to comprehend and complete basic operations such as addition and subtraction. After 55 days, the school teachers again measured the progress of their students with a tool for quick assessment. The assessment was verified by trained students from local colleges, who conducted an external examination independently. The results were promising. The number of children who could read increased from 43 percent at the start of the programme to 57 percent by its end; 54 percent of the children could now do long division, instead of the 33 percent that could do it earlier. The three sub-districts (mandals) that had the lowest performance at the beginning of the programme showed some of the highest gains in the learning-levels—an indication that the technique was working well at the lowest proficiency grades. 

On 16 May, the union human resources development minister Smriti Irani announced that the central government would be unveiling its New Education Policy in the next few weeks. The policy is expected to contain crucial recommendations for higher and primary education in the country. These may include the establishment of research parks through the Indian Institutes of Technology, and the digitisation of textbooks, which will be available through mobile applications along with a web portal for teaching across the curriculum. Among other things, the policy will affect reform for over 1.1 million government primary and upper-primary schools, impacting over 133 million children in standards one to five.

But the status of primary education in India is far from satisfactory. In 2014, although over 96 percent of Indian children between the ages of 6 and 14 were enrolled in school, 52 percent of fifth-standard children could not read at the grade level, and 75 percent of those studying in third standard could not solve a two-digit subtraction problem. Many children in the country are first-generation learners—they do not have support systems at home that help them hone what they learn, or provide a watchful eye to correct their mistakes. In this context, the results observed with TaRL scale-ups in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat could act as a lighthouse for the recommendations of the centre’s New Education Policy.

The TaRL model doesn’t have the excitement or visibility of policy interventions such as digital learning. It goes against a familiar convention in education that teachers need more “hardware” items—books, benches, materials—to teach better. Over the last few years, India has seen sharp increases in such inputs and in government expenditure on schools. But in typical classrooms, with children of a wide range of learning abilities and varied starting points, this business-as-usual approach has not helped them progress to the next learning level. J-PAL has evaluated the impact of inputs such as textbooks, libraries and improving the teacher-student ratio. The gains were not comparable to the benefits that TaRL’s soft changes in pedagogy accrued. What we have found, is that an interactive teacher who supports their students, and a simple, tailorable teaching methodology consistently helps the children. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Celebrate World Environment Day With Books

World Environment Day is just around the corner. Stock up on some of our recommended 'green' reads and introduce your children to different ways of thinking about the environment.

... to the Western Ghats to meet a king cobra, a mysterious cat and a tree frog.
... to the Sultanpur National Park to learn about dragonflies 
... along the river Brahmaputra
... to the King's orchard and take a walk among trees
... to a city pond and see if you can spot any wildlife
... to the talaabs of Dharbhanga

MEET ...
... a grandfather who goes on strike
... a brave Bhotiya girl takes part in the Chipko movement
... a pair of cranes who teach some kids a very important life lesson
... a baby Olive Ridley turtle and learn about its life journey
... Muchkund and his bright gang of ghosts have a clever way of dealing with the burning issue of forest offenders!
... Bulbuli and find out what goes into the jungle brew
... the Plastic Pisach and find out if the children of the village can tame it

We've got book packs in English, Hindi, Marathi and Kannada. And all the book packs are available at discounted prices. Order your book pack here.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Little Librarian

If you take a look at the inboxes of people working at Pratham Books, you will see it bursting at the seams ....with stories, art work and more. And hidden within those mails are many lovely little stories that people choose to share with us. One such one was when Jaya Bhattacharji Rose slipped in a line about an 11 year old she knew. A girl who had started a lending library for her school and colony friends. This got us curious because we are always eager to hear about kids who read and how they read. So, Jaya introduced us to little Nikita's mum and here's what we found out about the little librarian.

Nikita's mum tells us a little more about her children's reading journey :
I have 2 kids. A 13 year old boy and an 11 year old girl. I read to them daily before they could read themselves. Once they started reading, they were avid readers and as they grew older were often very picky or would not finish books. They could not relate to Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock,etc.  
Several years ago they totally lost interest except for Calvin and Hobbes cartoons, Graphic novels or one series about a Mouse which had several pictures (Stilton? I can’t remember) and hardly any text. They must have read Calvin and Hobbes 50 times!  
I tried every trick in the book and every book they chose or were gifted collected dust.
And then came along Jaya Bhattacharji Rose who loaned my kids a few books that matched their personality. She also asked them to give an opinion on the cover and if the title was suitable so she could inform the author. Ah!, the kids religiously read the books and gave their opinions. 
Once done, they started asking for more books and were introduced to Anthony Horowitz, Neil Gaimon, Tolkien, Shel Silverstein and the list goes on. 
There’s no stopping them now. 
When a book is not available in book stores and I suggest downloading it to my Kindle instead; My son says, ‘No way, I love the smell of a book’. 
And when I tell them’ lights out ‘at night, they complain and say ‘ You’ve been asking us to read and now we are reading and you are telling us to STOP!’. 
This happens every night. And even during their exams. Its delightful but a bit catch 22.
Now that we know what started this reading bud, lets hear from Nikita herself.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am in 7th class and like to play sports, paint and read. I used to love gymnastics and represent school but now I like to ski or play squash. I love to watch cooking shows like Barefoot Contessa and My Kitchen Rules as I like to cook with my Papa.

2. Do you have an earliest memory of when you started reading? Or a memory that someone may have told you about?
No, but my mother says that I had stopped reading books and was only reading comics. I have started reading books again for about a year or two now.

3. Do you have a favourite book? And why is it your favourite?
I used to like Wimpy Kid in 5th class. In 6th I was totally into Dork Diaries at first but now I like My Sister the Vampire books. I am a fan of vampires and find these books interesting, very fun to read and they seem realistic. I can imagine that I am a vampire. This year, I have enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson series .

4. We heard that you've started a library. Tell us more about why you decided to start a library?
Actually I didn’t plan on starting a library. It just happened because I would take a story book to school and read it during break time or substitution periods. I would laugh a lot or fan my face when I would get scared reading a book and my classmates kept wanting to know what the deal was and why I was having such a fun time just reading a book.

I would read parts of the book to them and they wanted to hear more. So I told my friends that they can borrow my books if they give them back without dog ears. My classmates started to borrow my books and they loved the books I was reading. As we were reading the same books we have fun discussing them. I read the books before I lend them.

5. What books does your library collection have and how do you manage them?
  • My Sister the Vampire series (Sienna Mercer)
  • Molly Moon Series (Georgia Byng)
  • Blackberry blue (Jamila Gavin)
  • Artemis Fowl series (Eion Colfer)
  • Big Nate series (Lincoln pierce)
  • Coraline, The Graveyard book, Fortunately the Milk (Neil Gaiman)
  • Dork Diaries series
  • Harry Potter, The Philosophers stone, The chamber of secrets (JK Rowling)
  • Where the Sidewalk ends, Falling Up, A light in the attic (Shel Silverstein)
  • The Fairy Doll (Rumer Godden)
  • Happy Holidays (Jacqueline Wilson)
  • Note book of a middle school princess (Meg Cabot)
  • Dragons at Crumbling Castle (Terry Pratchett)
  • Dear Olly (Michael Morpugo)
  • Many books of Ruskin Bond, Roald Dahl but everyone has these.
  • I have many cooking books but do not lend them.
I remember who borrows which book. I only lend them another once the previous one is given back to me. I only lend one book at a time to each friend.

6. How did others find out about your library?
It started with one friend who also started to read one of my books during free periods and we would talk about the book.

I think my other classmates thought they were missing out on fun, so they also started borrowing.

7. What did your friends and family think about the idea when you told them you were going to start one?It just happened and seemed like a fun thing to do with my friends.

My mum only found out when she started getting sms’s or calls from other mothers. She thinks it is a cool thing to do.

8. What is the most borrowed book in your library?
Coraline - as I told my friends the book is way better than the movie but only if they had a good imagination.

My Sister the vampire books are in big demand. There are 16 of them. Not all my classmates (girls) have read all as yet.

9. Is there a book that your library doesn't have and would love to have soon?
Yes, I would love a Poison Apple book. I have gone to 4 bookstores and they have not heard of it even though it is by Scholastic books.

10. What have others been saying about your library. Can you share a few anecdotes with us.Some of the mums of my friends have spoken to my mum to thank me for getting my friend interested in reading.

My friends find my library interesting as half of the books I have they have never even heard of.

Reading a series is fun - With the Vampire series, we had a reading race and we also have fun imitating being a vampire.

My friends and I spend ages discussing the books we have read and repeating cute lines from them and it is like having a secret club.

When a friend finishes a book, they call my mum’s phone or their mother does and ask me to bring a certain book to school the next day.

When my friends and I were reading the My Sister the Vampire books, even though I was a several books ahead at first, they started to read faster than me and I was worried that they would overtake me and know about what happened to the twins before I did. I now read very fast and can finish a book in 2 days.

11. Which book are you reading currently?
I am reading 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' -by Newt Scamander and next on my list are Wonder and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Thank you Nikita for sharing your love for books with your friends and us. We hope that many children across India are encouraged to share their books and become little librarians themselves

A photo posted by Pratham Books (@pratham.books) on

Event - Restorative Power of Reading : Bibliotherapy

Folks in Mumbai - Mark your calendars for this event happening in your city! P.S - RSVP required!

(Thanks Chintan for sharing this with us).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What Makes the Deepalaya Library Special?

One of the journeys we've been following is the one of Deepalaya Library. It is incredibly heartening to see how this space is filled with the love and joy of reading. Watch the video to see what makes it special. We were doubly thrilled to see so many of our books being lovingly read/held by the kids.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Call for Applications : The Publishing Next Industry Awards

Via Publishing Next

The Publishing Next Industry Awards were instituted in 2014 to reward the talent, initiative, entrepreneurial zeal and untiring efforts of publishers – big, small, independent – that create books. Established under the aegis of the neutral platform of the Publishing Next Conference, the awards seek to recognize innovation and leadership in the book trade.

The Publishing Next Industry Awards 2016 will be presented in the following seven categories:
  • Publisher of the Year
  • Bookstore of the Year
  • Printed Book of the Year - English
  • Printed Book of the Year - Indian Language
  • Printed Children's Book of the Year
  • Digital Book of the Year
  • Book Cover of the Year
The deadline for submissions is 15th July. 

The winners will be announced during the sixth edition of the Publishing Next Conference, scheduled to be held in Panaji, Goa on 15-17 September 2016.

Click here for more details.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Missed Call With A Twist

Bijal Vachharajani writes about the 'Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno' campaign we ran on 28th and 29th April. 

But last week, these calls got a new twist with Pratham Books’ “Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno ” campaign. For two days, emails, WhatsApp messages, and social media posts flew across cyberspace, urging people to give a missed call to a Bangalore number. Pratham Books would then call back and children and adults could listen to a story in five languages: English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, or Telugu. The not-for-profit children’s books publisher partnered with Radio Mirchi and Exotel, a cloud telephony company, for the campaign.

“Most of us were fortunate to grow up in world full of stories,” said Purvi Shah, Head Digital Projects, Pratham Books. “But for millions of children the culture of books and reading for joy in their home environment does not exist. From our varied experiences on the field we constantly heard the need for audio stories. To us, this was a great insight to reach where a culture of reading at home was missing for the child. We felt we could address this need gap because we already had lovely stories in many Indian languages.”

“The mobile phone as we know already exists in most Indian households today,” said Shah, “and that became an easy, scalable distribution medium, What we needed to ensure was that the parent did not have to pay for hearing the story. This was crucial considering the focus of Pratham Books’ target audience: the underserved child. That’s how we thought of exploring the ‘missed call’ route, which already existed as an idea.”

As part of their CSR initiative, Mirchi Cares, Radio Mirchi recorded the Pratham Books’ stories and then Exotel created the framework to deliver the audio stories. The Delhi pilot saw over 35,000 missed calls from 3,500 phones. For Exotel’s CEO, Shivakumar Ganesan, the campaign’s phenomenal response was “yet another testimony to the power of a simple phone call.”

“When the campaign went live, we received a great response online,” said Maya Hemant Krishna, Community Manager, Pratham Books. “Over the years, we’ve built a community of reading evangelists who are passionate about helping us in our mission of getting ‘a book in every child’s hand’. Many of them pitched in to spread the word about the campaign, actively tell people about how it works and more, ask for an extension because their children didn’t get to hear it, spread it through WhatsApp.”

As a campaign, “Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno ” dialled a lot of right numbers: a zero-cost operation that spreads the wonder of stories to children with little or no access to stories, or with limited literacy; and in multiple languages. “Listening to stories is a joyful way to create an interest in reading among children,” said Himanshu Giri, CEO, Pratham Books. “Our aim was to take the magic of storytelling into the homes of children by empowering parents to bring the joy of stories to their children.” Shah further said, “Many studies on language development have documented that children from low income families hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their affluent peers before the age of four. A simple technique like reading aloud can bridge this gap. The idea of ‘Missed call do, Kahaani suno’ is to create a culture of listening to stories within the home environment. This will eventually lead to an interest in reading as well.”

To encourage reading, for instance, after you heard the narrator growling away in Pehelwaan ji in Hindi on the phone, you also got a SMS with a link to the e-book on StoryWeaver, an open source repository of multilingual stories for children. Maya Krishna said that the content is available for now on StoryWeaver and on Pratham Books’ SoundCloud account for free download.

Sign Up for StoryWeaver's Delhi Workshop. Register now!

Pratham Books is conducting a workshop in Delhi to get educators and librarians familiar with StoryWeaver. The session will include a demo of the platform and also have dedicated work time for participants to try their hands on StoryWeaver.

If you are :
a librarian looking for curating stories
a teacher in search of interesting ways to introduce concepts to your students
a Reading Champion
someone passionate about children's storybooks in Indian languages ...

Please note: Registration is compulsory and we have a few seats left, so hurry up and register here. Confirmed participants for the workshop will receive a confirmation email from us by 2.00 p.m Tuesday, 17th May. Preference will be given to participants working in underserved communities.

Workshop details
Date: 18th May, Wednesday
Time : 9.30 a.m to 2.00 p.m (lunch will be arranged)
Venue: Preet Vihar, Delhi. More details will be emailed to shortlisted participants
Registration link : http://goo.gl/forms/5cN7qNhrXD

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why We Support The Robotics Champs

We share an office space with the amazing team from Akshara Foundation. Akshara Foundation is a Public Charitable Trust dedicated to ensuring quality pre-school and primary education for every child in Karnataka.
Akshara Foundation, with the support of LEGO Foundation, set up a Robotics lab in Seva Bharat Trust Government School, Vivek Nagar, Bengaluru in 2013. All students of grades 5-7 and selected students of grades 8 and 9 participate in the Robotics program. This year, the "Master minds" team qualified in two national level competitions - Robocup Junior and the First Lego League 2015 robotics competition. They will now go on to represent India at the international level finals. These children have achieved this feat by surpassing various popularly known private institutions across India. We are very proud to announce that ours was the only team with students from the Govt Schools. (via Akshara Foundation)
In February, we got to meet the 'Master Minds' team - the Robotics Champs we had heard so much about. It was a day full of magic (because what isn't magical about a dancing robot?) and inspiration! Having placed first in the “Dance” category of the Robocup Junior National level Robotics competition they now have a chance to represent India in Germany and Philippines. 

See the video below to learn about the journey of these bright kids

We are very excited about the journey these kids are going to embark on and we can't wait for them to represent India on the international circuit.

They need a little help to make this dream come true and you can help them. Find more details here

Pratham Books is Hiring!

Pratham Books is as a not-­for-­profit children’s book publisher with the mission to see ‘a book in every child's hand’. In the last decade, Pratham Books has published over 300 original titles in 18 Indian languages.

1. LEAD : RESOURCE MOBILIZATION (Update : This position has been filled and the posting is closed.)

Pratham Books is looking for someone to lead our resource mobilization efforts.

Location : Bangalore

Key Responsibilities 
  • Develop an understanding and awareness of Pratham Books' work.
  • Developing relationships with major donors, identifying new potential donors and nurturing relationships with existing donors.
  • Researching and approaching corporates, foundations, trusts, government agencies and other bodies that could potentially make grants to support Pratham Books' work (examples : development of new books, programs that create better access to books, etc)
  • Writing proposals and donor reports
  • Managing the grant application process and ensuring that reporting is tracked and meets donors' expectations.
  • Ability to work towards fundraising targets, accept and implement feedback.
  • Energy and drive to inspire people and promote Pratham Books' work
Key Competencies 
  • Graduate/ Post Graduate/ MBA from any recognized University
  • 2-3 years experience in direct sales with any industry or in fundraising 
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal) and interpersonal skills
  • Research skills and attention to detail: sourcing information and statistics, researching trends, assessing costs
  • Keen desire to learn on the job

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Please send your resume to info(at)prathambooks(dot)org with 'Lead : Resource Mobilization' in the subject line of the email.



Right out of college, you joined the exciting world of communications, and loved the excitement and creativity. But now, 3 - 4 years' old in the business, you catch yourself wondering whether there is more to work than announcing a special offer on a packet of tea or choosing a celebrity to endorse a brand. Can communication actually influence, inspire, and make a change in the way people live -- and not just buy? You love brands, and you know that your skills are at bringing them alive, and engaging with the people they touch. And if it is people you'd like to focus on -- especially children.

If that sounds like you, please say Hello to one of India's largest children's book publisher, and join us in putting “a book in every child's hand”. We’ve reached out to millions of children to help them discover the joy of reading, and we’d love to have you on our team.

Location : Bangalore

Key Responsibilities 
  • To develop and present our brands/properties/platforms memorably, to help them stand out in a competitive marketplace.
  • To communicate and connect with multiple stakeholders - authors, illustrators, publishers, children, parents, schools, other non-profits, social enterprises and governments.
  • To effectively explore new media avenues- like digital marketing to achieve the brands’ goals.
  • To develop CRM programs and database management. Prior experience in this will be an added advantage.
  • Plan and execute research projects.
  • Plan and execute marketing campaigns for our brands/properties/platforms
  • To enhance brand's presence at Litfests and book fairs through marketing collaterals and on ground activation.
  • Develop and maintain media relations.
  • A degree in Business/Marketing
  • 3-4 years experience in advertising / media relations / MARCOM / social sector
  • Good communication, presentation and inter-personal skills
  • A self-starter, independent, team player who is motivated by the cause
  • Strong technology skills
  • Knowledge of Kannada is a plus
The ideal candidate should have a strong work ethic, high level of integrity and believe that all children should be given equitable opportunities to achieve their best.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Please send your resume to info(at)prathambooks(dot)org with 'Marketing Communications Manager' in the subject line of the email.

We are also looking for an Editorial Assistant to join our digital team in Bangalore. Find out the requirements of that job here.  Update : This position has been filled and the posting is closed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Motorbike Libraries in Uganda

We're always thrilled to here about libraries and the work that people put in to take books to children. So, when we heard about the motorbike library, we had to share it with you.

John Katalaga climbs onto his motorbike taxi, or boda boda as they are called in Uganda, ready for another mission. To deliver storybooks to children in and out of Kampala as part of the Malaika Mobile Library – the first of its kind in Uganda. Rosey Sembatya used her savings to start the library. Even though Uganda is known to have a robust publishing industry, books for children are few and expensive. But the cost is not the worry....

Via BBC/News:
Getting Ugandans reading for pleasure is the challenge. As Mr Harrison Kiggundu of Fountain Publishers says, after years of cramming textbooks many people do not want to open another book after their studies.
Read the entire article here

And since it is school vacation time in most parts of India now, hope kids are having fun reading storybooks!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

आमों के साथ-साथ पिछली गर्मी की छुट्टियां और भी कुछ नया लेकर आईं थीं

Rajesh Khar, Editor (Pratham Books), writes about the journey of a special set of books we created last year. 

उत्तरप्रदेश के एक गाँव में एक स्कूल में बहुत सारे बच्चे एक कहानी बुनने में मग्न थे। वे कई सारे रंग बिरंगे चित्रों के इर्दगिर्द बैठे थे और इस कदर व्यस्त थे कि उन्हें शिक्षिका के कक्षा में होने का आभास भी नहीं हो रहा था। आखिरकार कुछ देर बाद एक बच्ची ने अपनी कहानी बुन ही ली और ख़ुशी से उछलने लगी। थोड़ी देर में एक एक करके बाकी सब ने भी अपनी कहानियाँ बना लीं। अब शिक्षिका का ध्यान आया और सब के सब उनकी और दौड़े। दीदी की आँखें चमक उठीं। इतने सारे बच्चों ने इतनी सारी कहानियाँ जो बुन ली थीं। उनको बड़ा अच्छा लग रहा था कि कहाँ तो ये बच्चे लिखने के नाम परकतराते थे और दो-चार लाईनें लिख कर हाथ खड़े देते थे, वहीं आज बिना किसी चूं चां के उन्होंने कहानी लिख ली थी। दीदी ने वो सारी कहानियाँ पढ़ीं, उनमें गलतियाँ तो थीं और कुछ में तो वाक्यों के बीच विराम चिन्ह भी नहीं थे लेकिन ये सभी कहानियाँ उन बच्चों की अपनी कहानियाँ थीं। सब के अपने शब्द, अपने वाक्य, अपने अनुभव और अपने संसार थे। पहली बार इसका अहसास हुआ था उन सब को।

यह एक स्कूल की कहानी नहीं थी, कई राज्यों के बहुत सारे स्कूलों के बच्चे पहली बार अपनी मनपसंद चित्रों पर अपनी कहानियाँ लिख रहे थे और इतनी सारी नयी कहानियाँ बुनी जा रही थीं। इन हज़ारों बच्चों के शिक्षक ख़ुश हो रहे थे और दूर दिल्ली में बैठे हुए कुछ लोग जिन्होंने बड़ी मेहनत करके सिर्फ़ थोड़े ही समय में ५५ नयी किताबें तैयार की थीं, उन्हें स्कूलों तक पहुँचाया था और टीचर्स को प्रशिक्षित भी किया था।

अप्रैल २०१५ के पहले सप्ताह में प्रथम के दिल्ली वाले दफ़्तर में रुक्मिणी बैनर्जी के कमरे में उनके कुछ सहकर्मी और प्रथम बुक्स के कुछ कर्मी आपस में गहन विचार कर रहे थे कि अब की बार बच्चों को कैसी नयी पुस्तकें दी जाएं ताकि उनके पढ़ने-लिखने का शुरुआती सफ़र आसान और मज़ेदार हो पाए। प्रथम ने बहुत सालों बाद फिर से पुस्तकालयों को सुदृढ़ बनाने की सोची थी। रुक्मिणी चाहती थीं कि नया सत्र शुरू होने तक बच्चों के पास पढ़ने को और उन्हें शब्दों की और आकर्षित करने को कुछ अच्छी सामग्री पहुँच जाये। उन्होंने ही इस चक्र को गति दी और फिर उनके कहने पर न केवल प्रथम के लोग बल्कि प्रथम बुक्स के संपादक समूह के लोग एक जुट होकर उन किताबों को तैयार करने लग गए। कैसी किताबें? उनमें क्या होगा और किस प्रकार की होंगी यह सब तो तय ही हो रहा था। केवल इतना तय था की कम से कम ५० और हिन्दी भाषा में होंगी।

प्रथम बुक्स में मनीषा चौधरी और उनके सहकर्मी जुट गए अलग अलग प्रकार की कहानियाँ तय करने में और उन सब को ऐसे प्रारूपों में ढालने में कि बच्चों को पसंद भी आएं और उनको पढ़ने-लिखने की प्रक्रिया की ओर प्रेरित भी कर सके। पूरे अप्रैल और मई के महीनों में किताबें बनाने की प्रक्रिया चलती रही। प्रथम बुक्स ने कुछ ही समय पहले अपने नए नवेले स्टोरीवीवर प्लेटफार्म पर चित्रकारों के लिए एक प्रतियोगिता आयोजित की थी जिसमें ६५ से ज़्यादा चित्रकारों ने सिर्फ़ ६ चित्रों में अपनी अपनी कहानी भेजी थी। मनीषा और उनकी टीम को बिना शब्दों वाली पुस्तकें तैयार करने की सामग्री मिल गयी थी। उन्होंने २० ऐसे प्रारूप तैयार किये और साथ ही साथ ओडिशा की ४ जनजातीय भाषाओँ में तैयार की गयी किताबों में से भी कुछ को चुना गया। प्रथम समूह के साथ अनगिनत बैठकों में तैयार सामग्री पर चर्चा होती रही और फिर आख़िरकार एक एक करके किताबें चुनी जाने लगीं। फिर शुरू हुआ उनको डिज़ाइन करके हर तरह से प्रकाशन के योग्य बनाने का काम। यूँ तो इस काम के सभी चरणों को पार करने में कई  समय लग जाता है पर इस बार तो समय जैसे था ही नहीं। कड़ी मेहनत से सब ने मिलकर सभी किताबों को तैयार किया, उनको छपने भेजा और जून से पुस्तकें छप कर आनी शुरू हो गईं।

फिर शुरू हुआ उन्हें १० हज़ार से ज़्यादा स्कूलों तक किताबें उनकी ज़रुरत और बच्चों के पठन स्तर के अनुसार और प्रथम के कार्यक्रम के अनुसार! इतनी जगहों तक किताबें भेजने का काम बहुत बड़ा था और वेयरहाउस के लोगों ने दिन रात लगा कर लगभग एक महीने में किताबें वहाँ वहाँ पहुंचाईं जहाँ उनको पहुँचना था।

छुट्टियों से लौटे बच्चों को इतना बढ़िया तोहफ़ा मिलेगा, उनको उम्मीद भी नहीं थी। उनके शिक्षकों में से कुछ को और प्रथमके अपने लोगों को उन सब किताबों और कार्डों को बच्चों के साथ प्रयोग का प्रशिक्षण भी मिल चूका था। सब कुछ युद्ध स्तरपर किया गया था। तो क्या आश्चर्य की बात थी कि सभी इतने खुश थे! बच्चों ने उनका क्या इस्तेमाल किया और किस तरह इस सामग्री का असर पढ़ने-लिखने में हो रहा था, इस सबका अध्ययन भी किया जा रहा है। प्रथम की टीमें धीरे धीरे इस कार्यक्रम सभी पहलुओं पर अपना ध्यान केंद्रित कर रहे हैं।

स्कूलों में शिक्षक मज़े से बच्चों द्वारा लिखे, कहे जाने वाले अफ़सानों को पढ़-सुन कर ख़ुश हैं, लेकिन अभी भी इस नयी पठन सामग्री का क्या क्या असर हो रहा है, उसे समझने, परखने में समय लगेगा। उससे पहले ही प्रथम और प्रथम बुक्स एक और नया सेट तैयार करना चाहते हैं...देखिये क्या क्या तैयार होगा !
जब बच्चों की कलम चली तो फिर चलती रही ! उत्तरप्रदेश के जैतपुर, प्रतिष्ठानपुर के प्राथमिक विद्यालयों की कक्षा २ व् ३ की छात्राओं की कहानियों की एक छवि।

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pratham Books is Hiring : Editorial Assistant

 Update : This position has been filled and the posting is closed.

Pratham Books is looking for an Editorial Assistant to join the StoryWeaver team!

As the stories on StoryWeaver (https://storyweaver.org.in/) are travelling further, we need more hands on board!

StoryWeaver is a digital repository of openly-licensed, multilingual children's stories. A Pratham Books' initiative, StoryWeaver allows its users to read, create and translate stories into many, many Indian and international languages in the hope that children across the world can read quality stories in languages of their choice.

Currently, we're looking for a full-time, Editorial Assistant to join our Digital Team in Bangalore.

As an Editorial Assistant at StoryWeaver, this is what will keep you busy:
  • Working with a designer to adapt our legacy content (Pratham Books' print books) for StoryWeaver
  • Co-ordinating with authors, illustrators, translators, reviewers and proofreaders
  • Reviewing and editing manuscripts
  • Co-ordinating with the administrative team for documentation, records and payments (contracts, work orders, etc)
  • Identifying and working with other content creators who may want their stories on StoryWeaver
  • Nurturing StoryWeaver's user community
  • Support campaigns aimed at improving content on StoryWeaver
  • Finding creative ways for stories on StoryWeaver to travel wide and far
  • Uploading books on StoryWeaver which involves tagging stories and images in a way that makes it accessible to users
Preferred Requirements:
  • Degree in Literature/Journalism/Mass Communication/Media /Language
  • Excellent Communication skills in English, and ability to read and write well in any one Indian language (preferably Kannada or Telugu)
  • 1-2 years of work experience; freshers may also apply
  • Ability to multi-task and coordinate between different stakeholders
  • Be a good team player
  • Tech-savvy
  • Sharp eyes to check copy
  • Love for languages
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Please send your resume to storyweaver@prathambooks.org with 'Editorial Assistant for StoryWeaver' in the subject line of the email.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, May 2, 2016

This May, Juggle and Play!

Summer vacations have arrived? Are you busy juggling plans, work, itineraries and more? Do it the cool granny way! 

This month's calendar page is an illustration from Niloufer Wadia's wordless story for the #6FrameStoryChallenge. Niloufer's juggling granny was one of the winning stories of the contest. Niloufer's illustrations were also woven into a story by Mala Kumar and Manisha Chaudhry. Read the lovely tale here

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 onFacebook, Twitter or Instagram.