Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Review : Around The World With a Chilli & Lights...Camera...Action!

Indian Moms Connect reviews our books 'Around The World With a Chilli' and 'Lights…Camera…Action! The Life and Times of Dadasaheb Phalke'.

Confession Time!!! This book “Around the World with a Chilli” written by Nayan Chanda and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan, taught me lot of unknown facts and fascinating aspects on globalization. I would definitely recommend this book not only for kids but also for parents too.

Learning globalization via chilli? Interesting right? But, the world is tied together by the foods we eat. Columbus came to look for kali mirch but took home hari mirch and lal mirch from Mexico. Columbus made a wrong calculation about the size of the earth and that proved very fortunate. If not for him, we wouldn’t have known about Caribbean islands. It was Vasco Da Gama who actually reached India and got the Pepper. Yes, this tiny pepper was driving factor behind all these sea routes.

You not only learn about the fruits and vegetables that travelled across, but also about the Aztec and Inca Empire, European Empire, Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire. Didn’t I say it’s fascinating?


 What’s the story behind celluloid and what’s the story behind the man who introduced celluloid to India?

Lights…Camera…Action! By Rupali Bhave explains it all in a simple way. Yes, it’s the story of Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian Cinema.

“Watch people move in the magic of photographs! A picture two miles long! Only three anna! – This is how he sold his tickets. And do you know what’s the first movie that he directed? It’s Raja Harishchandra.

It wasn’t an easy journey for him. Due to intense viewing and experimentation he went blind. But to everyone’s relief he recovered his sight after a temporary blindness. No one, except his wife and family, supported him. He lost all his wealth. After a long journey of ups and downs, he released his first movie in the year 1913.

A great book and must read for everyone. This book not only explains the life of Dadasaheb Phalke but also teaches us great life values. 

Read the entire review here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pratham Books and the Pubishing Next Awards

Like last year, September brings us many good memories and treats :). There were double celebrations for the Pratham Books team at this year's Publishing Next Awards because :
  • Jadav and the Tree-Place won Digital Book of the Year
  • Pratham Books was a runner up for the Publisher of the Year award

According to the Publishing Next website, the Digital Book of the Year award 'seeks to recognize a book that pushes the boundaries of editorial, design and technical excellence within the domain of digital publishing, making the best use of available technology to create a book that enriches its genre. The submissions must demonstrate an understanding of the potential of digital books in reaching its audience'.

Jadav and the Tree-Place won 'for an inspiring tale and an inspiring mode of delivery of content. The use of Creative Commons License for the content and use of a community writing platform are certainly worth emulating for other creators of content for children.

You can read about all the other categories and winners here. You can read about the Publishing Next conference here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review : Lights…Camera…Action! The Life and Times of Dadasaheb Phalke

Chintan Girish Modi's writes about how our book 'Lights…Camera…Action! The Life and Times of Dadasaheb Phalke' gives Saraswatibai Phalke, India’s first film editor, her due.

Via The Indian Express

Did you know that India’s first film editor was a woman named Saraswatibai Phalke? Apart from mixing film-developing chemicals, perforating raw film sheets at night by the light of a candle, and holding white bedsheets for hours in the blazing sun as light reflectors, she also cooked for a film unit comprising approximately 60-70 people. But not many know of her contribution to Indian cinema — she is largely known only for being wife to the much celebrated Dadasaheb Phalke, who directed India’s first silent film Raja Harishchandra (1913) Rupali Bhave’s new book for children, Lights…Camera…Action! The Life and Times of Dadasaheb Phalke, published this year by Pratham Books, seeks to rectify these omissions. It firmly establishes Saraswatibai as the renowned filmmaker’s creative collaborator. “In all the material I read, the information available about Saraswatibai gave me a feeling that she provided the support system that enabled Dadasaheb to achieve his vision. Not only did she support his work but also actively participated in it,” says Bhave, who is an actor, theatre facilitator and translator.

The book narrates how Saraswatibai suggested selling some of their belongings to raise money for Dadasaheb to travel to England and learn the craft of filmmaking from Cecil Hepworth, one of the founders of the British film industry. When he returned to India, and started talking about his plans to make films, some of his friends were terribly unsupportive. They even tried to get him admitted to a mental asylum. However, Saraswatibai stood by him; she sold her jewellery to bolster the finances for Raja Harishchandra. With these funds, Dadasaheb bought a camera and other equipment from Germany.

Bhave writes about how Saraswatibai was also involved in brainstorming ideas with her filmmaker husband. She recognised his passion, and did her best to encourage him, alongside managing her nine children. However, she had to put her foot down when he wanted to cast her as the female lead in Raja Harishchandra. Apparently, Saraswatibai said, “I am already involved in so many things! If I act too, who will do all the things I am doing now? I won’t act in the film.” Eventually, the female lead was played by a male actor who worked as a cook in a restaurant.

Bhave’s book has stunning watercolour illustrations by Sunayana Nair Kanjilal, combined with simple digital textures for the background. “I got a lot of references for Dadasaheb across his career,” says Kanjilal, “But Saraswatibai’s photographs were hard to come by, except one in her old age. In the book, I had to depict her as a young woman, so I simply tried to imagine what she must have looked like in her youth.” When Kanjilal tried to visualise Saraswatibai working, she was reminded of her own mother who was “quite proficient in carpentry and electronics, commonly considered a man’s territory.” She liked working on the book because “it highlights Saraswatibai’s contribution to the process of filmmaking at a time when women were not even working as actors. I was asked to emphasise her role in my illustrations too, and I was happy to execute that task,” says Kanjilal.

Read the entire post here.

Click here to buy the book.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

मेरे सपनों की भाषा

मुनीज़ा की सपनों की भाषा कौन सी है? जानिए इस फिल्म में ।

प्राथमिक शिक्षा के वर्षों में बच्चों को मातृभाषा में बोलने व दिलचस्प कहानियाँ पढ़ने के लिए प्रोत्साहित कीजिये। जब बच्चे की पहली भाषा पर पकड़ अच्छी होती है वह आसानी से पढ़ना सीख पाता है। जब उसे पढ़ना आ जाता है तब वह वास्तव में शिक्षा ग्रहण करने के लायक हो जाता है।  

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Celebrating International Literacy Day with 3000+ Storytellers and 3200+ Sessions

And... International Literacy Day is finally here!

One month since we put out the call for registrations and the month has just flown by. The stories that pour in before the event are as heart-warming as the ones of the event. From an organization that is taking the story to hundreds of villages across 11 states to one that conducted a training for teachers/educators so that they could facilitate their sessions better, from storytelling sessions in government schools to sessions in orphanages, from an entire family deciding to conduct a session to many kids forming a group to tell a story. Also, several volunteer translators came forward to translate the story into other languages to increase the multilingual scope of the campaign.

Champions have been preparing to introduce little Munia and the elephant bird to children across the country. "How many champions?", you ask

In the 5th edition, the 'One Day-One Story' campaign will see :

Sessions in 25 Languages
3000+ Champions
3200+ Storytelling Sessions
Thousands of children listening to 'The Elephant Bird'

This year's chosen book is The Elephant Bird (written by Arefa Tehsin and illustrated by Sonal Goyal And Sumit Sakhuja. A story about a magical bird, and a brave and curious child! This story could be used to talk about themes of friendship, courage, endangered species and more.

Arefa Tehsin excellently captures the essence of this year's campaign :
“You are a cripple only if you think you are.” My disabled grandmother Khurshid Babu Tehsin, an initiator of women’s education movement in Rajasthan, always said. And Munia believes the same. Who knows, when you go out there in nature, what unexpected friendships you'd form, what fears and disabilities you'd overcome? It is so heartwarming for me to see the Elephant Bird, which was hunted down to extinction in recent past, come alive in the hearts of thousands of children across borders of states and neighbourhoods. Pratham Books, you rock! And kudos to the zealous champions! 
A majority of this year's sessions are slotted to take place on 10th September (so that more people and children can participate). If you've just found out about our International Day celebrations, fret not! To conduct your own storytelling session, please register, download the book and share it with a child/children.

  • Download the book in : HindiEnglishKannadaMarathiGujaratiTeluguUrdu. You can also access translations done by volunteer translators in SanskritAssameseBengaliOdiaTamilMalayalamPunjabiKonkani
  • Choose the place and time you want to conduct the session. Identify places where you can conduct this event in your city - A government school, an NGO, a library, a bookstore, a park, a train, your building...any place with regular kids footfalls. Approach the organization and explain the concept to them. Most of them will be happy to host you.
  • Prepare for your session. Read the book a few times. If you are reading to a younger age-group, see how you can tell the story without actually reading the book (to retain their attention).
  • You could also add an activity to your session. Take a look at the activity ideas we've shared this year.
  • After the session, send us a short write-up or send us some photos from the event and we will feature it on the champions blog. Mail us at champions(at)prathambooks(dot)org.
If you want to attend a session, we as well as some of our champions are conducting events that are open to the public. Check the full list here.

If you are sharing pictures/news about your event, please use the hashtag #PBChamps on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so that we and other champions can also follow your updates. You can:
  • Tweet us at @prathambooks 
  • Find us on Facebook at :
  • Say hi on Instagram at : @pratham.books (note : there is a dot between the two words)
Join Pratham Books and 3000+ storytellers in sharing the joy of stories.


About the campaign : 

At Pratham Books we have a dream, to see “A book in every child's hand”. We understand that to reach the 200 million + children in India is going to take a while. In the meantime, we decided to take 'One Day, One Story' campaign to as many children possible on a single day throughout the country.

This initiative is part of the Pratham Books' Champions program where we encourage our community of volunteers to conduct reading sessions. These sessions are conducted free of cost and mostly with children from under-served communities. The Pratham Books' Champions program is a one-of its kind volunteer program that has scaled to a national level with more and more volunteers wanting to join us in this movement.

The Elephant Bird : Public Events You Can Attend

For the 5th edition of ‘One Day-One Story’, over 3000 #PBChamps will be conducting storytelling sessions across India and the world. This year's chosen book is The Elephant Bird (written by Arefa Tehsin and illustrated by Sonal Goyal And Sumit Sakhuja. A story about a magical bird, and a brave and curious child! This story could be used to talk about themes of friendship, courage, endangered species and more. 

We invite you to attend one of the public storytelling sessions and find out if the elephant bird ate the horse. The sessions are free!

Details of flagship events by Pratham Books

Champion : Talking Turtles Storytellers
Venue : Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, Byculla East
Date and Time : 3rd September, 11 am - 12 pm

Champion : Priya Muthukumar from Storipur
Venue : Lightroom Bookstore, No. 1, Lewis Road, Cooke Town (call +91 80 25460466 or email lightroombookstore(at)gmail(dot)com to register)
Date and Time : 10th September, 11 am - 12 pm

Champion : Deepa Kiran from Story Arts India
Venue : Saptaparni Book Shop, Plot No. #21, Road No. 8, Banjara Hill, Near Kalpa School, Hyderabad.
Date and Time : 10th September, 11 am - 12 pm

Champion : Sandhya Taksale
Venue : Balranjan Kendra, 108/21 Sahakar Sadan, Bharati Niwas Society, Behind Income Tax Office, Karve Road, Pune. Contact : (020) 2543 0219
Date and Time : 12th September, 6 pm

Champion : Valentina Trivedi
Venue : Bal Bhavan
Date and Time : 24th September, 11 am

Our champions are also conducting several storytelling sessions (which are open to the public) happening over the next few days. Please check the list of all the public events you can attend. Click on the links below to get more details about the event.

(This list is being updated as and when we hear of new events. Please check back to see if there are any events happening in your city)

  • 10th September, 10 am, BumbleBee Playschool - Thyai Group (Call 9840802406 for details)
  • 24th September, 11 am, Bal Bhavan - Valentina Trivedi
  • 10th September, 2.30 pm - 3.30 pm, Roohani Foundation - Roohani Foundation (Call 7065509948 for details)
  • 17th September, 4 pm - 5.30 pm, The Treasure Trove - Arvinda Bhatia (registration required)
  • 10th September, 6 pm, Pazhanthandalam - Thyai Group (Call 9840802406 for details)
  • 10th September, 11 am, 12/5 Ballygunge Park Road - Swati Kheria (Little Readers' Nook) (Registration is mandatory, call 9836324466 to register)

  • 10th September, 5.30 pm, Salem Alagapuram - Thyai Group (Call 97970 22909 for details)

Monday, September 5, 2016

3 Campaigns To Support On Teachers' Day

Thanks to our work, we get to hear and see several examples of passionate teachers and educators who strive to make their classrooms joyful places of learning. Recently, a colleague shared this heartwarming story from a village in Rajasthan :
In an effort to keep the villagers interested in sending their wards to school and make education valuable in their eyes, the Headmaster and his team provide 'employment' to their 12th pass out students in the form of temporary teachers. Yes, you read it right, The Headmaster and the teachers spent a part of their own salaries (on their own free will) to employ ex students so that parents continue valuing education. These 'temporary' teachers helped the school with summer camps or work as substitute teachers as the school is anyway understaffed. Later, Pratham absorbs most as teachers and the school gets prepared to groom the next batch.

Across the country there are many such examples, of teachers on the ground making real impact, making real sacrifices for the future of this country. Real unsung heroes. This country is in good hands. 
And as someone rightly said 'Not all superheroes wear a cape' :)
As our timelines and feeds get taken over with nostalgia and gratitude for teachers who've made a difference in our lives, take a moment to help the teachers who are currently making an impact in the lives of children across India. We are sharing 3 campaigns that you can support this week. This Teachers' Day, pay it forward by getting much needed resources into a classroom :

Ankit teaches 50 students and wants to get 200 books that the entire school can share. 
Support his campaign.

In the remote mountains of Sikkim, kids are looking forward to adding 500 books to their library. 

 Minu's students are just starting to read.
Help them build a classroom library.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

New beginnings at Urdu Writers Workshop at MANUU

Aadaab! Namaste! Pratham Books conducted a 3-day writers workshop at the Centre for Urdu Language, Literature & Culture, at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), Hyderabad.  With nearly 50 participants, mostly post-graduate and above, who registered voluntarily from departments as diverse as MCA, Islamic Studies. English and Urdu Literature and Education, we were overwhelmed by our reception. The Vice Chancellor, Dr Mohammed Aslam Parvaiz is a progressive and able visionary and administrator who is breathing new life into this excellently located and provisioned Central University. Theatre person and author Anis Azmi  who retired from Delhi Urdu Academy is assisting him in bringing cultural activities to expand the horizons of the University. Theatre, reading, music, poetry are bringing subtle and beautiful changes in the entire atmosphere and giving new dimensions to the students to explore. 

Our workshop was part of this ongoing effort to explore creativity, writing for children and to discuss the need for children's literature in Indian languages. This is the largest group we have handled in a workshop.The large majority was from the Education Department and many of those students were to begin their field work of teaching in a school. This was also the workshop where we got to know some participants only from their eyes and voice! 
It was an amazing experience to work with students from Jharkhand, Bihar, UP, Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 

Apart from the mellifluous strains of Urdu, we also heard many lovely lilting accents of the same language. We also heard Anis Sahab issue corrections to ensure that they used the right words to write. The students were game to try writing triggers PBees Mala Kumar and Manisha Chaudhry threw at them in Hindi and English also! Many of them illustrated their stories with no prompting from us. Poonam Girdhani, a talented dastango (storyteller) who waxes eloquence in Urdu, kept them nimble by pointing out the pitfalls of using stereotypes, if they wanted to be truly creative. PBee Rajesh Khar was the living example of a pan-Indian identity and he would underline that every now and then by throwing open his arms in true Titanic style!

With a combination of large and small group work, we certainly brought down some barriers between departments, genders and accent! A direst and impressively quick impact of the workshop has been that the students have formed a Readers and Writer's Club that will meet every fortnight to read out their writing over tea and samosas. They have demanded and got a Wall space for a magazine.

The workshop marks an important beginning. We hope it will be the first of many such because we need to talk about children's literature in Indian languages among the people who will be the educators and administrators of tomorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Tock Tock! We're hiring an Editorial Assistant

Pratham Books is a multi-lingual publisher of children's books. We are looking to hire a full-time, Editorial Assistant for our Banaswadi office in Bengaluru.
As an Editorial Assistant at Pratham Books, this is what you will be doing:
  • Co-ordinating with authors, illustrators, translators, reviewers and proofreaders
  • Reviewing and editing manuscripts
  • Helping with ideas and commissioning of new books
  • Co-ordinating with the administrative team for documentation, records and payments (contracts, work orders, etc)
  • writing copy for blurbs, catalogues and promotional events  
  • Support campaigns aimed at promoting our mission of "putting a book in every child's hand"
Preferred but not set in stone: 
  • Degree in Literature/Journalism/Mass Communication/Media /Language 
  • Excellent Communication skills in English, AND  ability to read and write well in Kannada or Telugu.
  • 1-2 years of work experience; freshers may also apply
  • Ability to multi-task and co-ordinate between different stakeholders
  • Be a team player
  • Sharp eyes to check copy
  • Love for languages 
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Please send your resume to with 'Editorial Assistant for Pratham Books in the subject line of the email.
We look forward to hearing from you!