The Retell, Remix and Rejoice Contest from Pratham Books is on! This year we changed things around a bit, and gave our community themes to weave some story magic around. You can read more about this here.
We thought the story weavers who are taking part this year might like some advice from our seasoned editors at Pratham Books on what to keep in mind when writing books for our very youngest readers!
Manisha Chaudhry, Head of Content, Pratham Books
- When you're writing a Pratham Books Level 1 book, stick to one idea.
- Avoid sub-plots.
- Try to stick to one line per page
- Be descriptive! Use words that have sensory pleasure in them - soft, hard, thin, cold, hot, shiny etc.
- Use words that are fun to say-gobble gobble, drip drop, pins and needles etc
- Use the child's eye view , if possible
Rajesh Khar, Senior Editor, Pratham Books
- Writing with some learning objective or a moral is a big No for any children's fiction.
- A story can be woven around an idea but the learning has to be embedded in the story itself in a subtle manner just like an subconscious outcome, not open and blunt.
- The story must not have any biases and prejudices and should also steer clear of the stereotyped characters, settings and nuances.
- Pehalwaanji learns a slippery lesson
- Smart Sona series
- Shringeri Srinivas series
- The Aloo Maloo Kaloo series
- Grandpa Fish & the Radio
- The Royal Toothache
Madhuri Purandare's 'Aunt Jui's Baby' perfectly embodies what my colleague Rajesh is saying. The learning is embedded in the story in a subtle manner and the narration is also from the child's point of view.
Here is Sandhya's pick of level 1 and 2 books!
- Gulli's Box of Things
- Bhima the Donkey
- I Can Help and the The Growing Up bilingual series books by Mini Srinivasan
- Clean Cat and the other Animals Around Us - bilingual series books by Kanchan Banerjee
Yamini Vijayan, Commissioning Editor, Pratham Books
- Repetition and patterns work very well with early readers. "Will you be my friend?" "Are you my mother?" are examples.
- It's important for writers to expose themselves to as many picture books as possible. Reading is important!
Bijal Vachharajani, Editorial Consultant, Pratham Books
- Write and rewrite. Reflect.
- Share your words with other readers and writers
- Read your story out loud for rhythm and pace.
- Ask for feedback. Listen to feedback.
- Edit ruthlessly. And then edit some more.
- Read many books, and then read some more. Read what you like, read what you don't.
- Become a fierce critic of yourself.
- Remember when you are writing for children, you need to pull up your socks and give it your best. They will never settle for less.