Wednesday, February 14, 2018

20 Days, 2500 Books : International Book Giving Day

14th February is Valentine's Day. But did you know that it is also International Book Giving Day? 
Image Source : International Book Giving Day
International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide 
to give a book to a child on February 14th.

Last year, our community donated generously to our International Book Giving Day campaign and we raised 1500 books. Join us again this year by helping us raise funds for ...

...2500 books in 20 days!

Help us make some book love potion by: 

1. Choosing a campaign on Donate-a-Book
2. Adding a dash of your book love* to the mix 
*(Rs.250 = 6 books, Rs.500 =12 books, Rs.1000 = 25 books. Rs.5000 = 1 library kit)
3. Books are sent to libraries/schools across India.
4. Children open your book love parcel and dive into a magical world of stories.


A look at all the current campaigns on Donate-a-Book :
This February, let us celebrate the 'love' of reading!



*If you are trying to make a donation from outside India, please email donateabook(at)prathambooks(dot)org with details of the campaign you want to donate to.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Setting Up Libraries in Rural Maharashtra

One of the best feeling we experience at Pratham Books is to see a kid enjoying a book. To see libraries getting built across the country. Partner organizations as well as individuals across the country put their faith into our books and share them with kids who have less or no access to books. Thinksharp Foundation is one such organization which has made our books available in several schools and centres across rural Maharashtra. During the launch of our crowdfunding platform, Donate-a-Book, Thinksharp Foundation started a campaign to raise funds for libraries and were able to crowdfund for 750 books. Thinksharp Foundation is back with a new campaign for the new year...
With new books we are going to start new libraries at four new StudyMall before new academic year starts. This will give access to read books to more than 1500 kids in 5 government run schools in 5 different villages of Maharashtra.
Santosh Phad shares pictures of how the books from the previous donation were used. Learn more about the work they do and #DonateABook today!

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Thinksharp Foundation is a non-for- profit organisation started in 2011. At Thinksharp Foundation, we believe that every child has a right for better education and that he/she should have opportunity to access what they deserve.

The Project StudyMall - Read, Learn, Play project provides better educational infrastructure in rural schools and villages (For example : Libraries, digital learning, educational games, workshops, etc).  

The project has benefited more than 4000 children in 12 different village through 12 StudyMalls.






Our kids are always happy and excited to read new story books, specially Pratham books because of content, font, pictures and creative titles. I remember one student from our Surngali village center shared what he read from a book “Char Undrinichi Gost” and that we should always listen to another person every time.

We successfully ran one campaign earlier and it was 100% funded  We are a very happy partner on this platform. Best part of this platform is
  • Transparency; many of donors want to donate books instead of giving money to NGO directly.
  • Easy to handle for donors as well as campaigners
  • End of the campaign you give chance to select books based on language/ titles
  • Donation alerts
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Help Thinksharp Foundation set up libraries in rural Maharashtra by making a small donation on Donate-a-Book

Friday, February 9, 2018

STEM Fun in Classrooms

Khyati Datt from our Outreach Team shares a snapshot of how our STEM books have been faring in classrooms across India.

Maths and Science are not the most favourite subjects of many children. Children find them daunting and difficult to cope with, because of the manner that they are presented to them in. However, when concepts are presented in a fun and engaging manner, children find it easier to grasp and retain them. 

STEM focussed texts give knowledge to children the way it is used in the real world, with concepts and subjects interwoven seamlessly. As a result, students engage and apply concepts in a deeper, more thorough way, leading to a greater understanding of the concepts. 

Thanks to a grant from Oracle, Pratham Books has developed a special set of picture books exploring STEM topics. The books cover a range of topics like Science topics imploring why poories puff and fireflies glow, Maths topics including estimation of distances, division, multiplication and logical reasoning and Tech-first concepts like Artificial Intelligence. The book set also includes books exploring multiple Environment related topics and a few on Emotional Quotient too.

The grant had also made possible the distribution of 100 libraries. For this, Pratham Books invited applications from NGOs, Government and affordable private schools to apply to receive free Library-in-a-Classroom sets with the STEM books created. We received an overwhelming response from 120+ organizations and schools across 22 Indian states collectively seeking 980 libraries.

A STEM library in one of the PRATIGYA centres
Fun with STEM!

The books are being used by both children and teachers. The children are doing fun classroom activities like skits, role playing and participating in group discussions on topics in the books. The teachers are using the books for read alouds and are also preparing activities, assessments and quizzes. A teacher working with a school in Laila, in Dakshin Karnataka remarked:
“Children enjoy the books and often request for permission to take them home, in order to show it to their parents.”
Source: GUPS Laila, a school SELCO Foundation works with

The STEM books are loved by children because the concepts mentioned in them are relatable. Children love Why Does A Poori Puff Up? as it addresses a question most of us have thought as children. Or a story like Dum Dum-a-Dum Biryani! brings forth not only the memory of accomplishing something with our siblings but also the real-time application of the Maths we were taught. Other books that were well received by children include Reeti and Mithu, Happy Maths , How do Aeroplanes Fly?, Jadav and
the Tree-Place and How Old Is Muttaji?.

Nandhini, a student from one of the classrooms that Isha Education works with, says “I love the book DIVE! because it’s about sea animals and has very colourful pictures”.

The STEM books being read in GUPS, Warknalli, one of the schools that SELCO
Foundation works with
A teacher from Adarsh High School in Bengal, summarizes the impact of STEM books on her children perfectly, “Children love to discuss various topics of books and they ask their teachers about the unknown phenomenons like gravitational pull, electromagnetic radiations, atomic structure etc. These topics are out of the scope of their syllabus but they find them interesting. These books are helping them to understand many complex things and satisfying their curiosity.”

The books have widened the lens through which children look at the world and interact with it. They practice mathematical concepts like division and multiplication using Dum Dum-a-Dum Biryani! and common vegetables, read Jadav and the Tree-Place to understand the importance of forests, and go on an adventure deep under the sea with DIVE!

The power of storytelling creates a great platform for fostering an interest in STEM learning, alongside creating a reading culture where reading is not restricted in the confines of the classrooms and the textbooks.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Event : What is Neema Eating Today?


Meet Neema who LOVES to eat. Slippery lychees, squishy jamuns, sour tamarinds, shiny spinach – she loves it all!

And ....

....What is Neema Eating Today?

Join us this Saturday for the book launch of 'What is Neema Eating Today?'. An interactive storytelling session with author Bijal Vachharajani and illustrator Priya Kuriyan,  followed by activities for 4- to 6-year-olds.

Date : February 10, 2018
Time : 11.30 AM
Venue : Hippocampus Children's Experience Centre, #525, 16th Main, 3rd Block, Koramangala, Bangalore.
Contact : 080-2563 0206

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Second Season of #PhoneStories is Here!

The first season of our #PhoneStories took you right into the forest. The second season which launched on 26th January, 2018 takes you into the world of Miss Laya.

When someone says ‘PT teacher’, who do you think of? Someone big, strong and perhaps a bit strict? Well, what if you had a games teacher who wore funky tracksuits and sneakers and came to school on a fantastic motorbike? Well, we know a games teacher just like that and we want you to meet her!

The first of a brand new set of #PhoneStories from Pratham Books, Miss Laya and her Fantastic Motorbike embark on a new adventure every Friday. Kind, strong, and full of fun, Miss Laya loves to help people. The books have been written by Mala Kumar and illlustrated by Abhishek Chaudhury.

Watch the first two episodes below and look out for the next two episodes on StoryWeaver



You can also watch the stories in Hindi and Marathi on the StoryWeaver Youtube channel.

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Also, during the month of February, our Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno campaign is on and you can hear about Miss Laya's adventures (along with other books) 

3 easy steps to listen to a story for FREE
Step 1: Give a missed call to 080-33094244 
Step 2: We'll call you back and you can listen to stories in English and Hindi
Step 3: To listen to more stories, simply give a missed call again.



Deepak Chandra, a Donate-a-Book campaigner, wrote to us about how he used the 'Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno' facility in his classroom.
I read about "Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno" from one of Pratham Books' newsletters and right away, I knew that I should tell my kids about this opportunity. I went to the class equipped with speakers and gave a missed call and then there it was "Aaloo-Maaloo-Kaaloo" coming out of the speaker. Kids were so excited and yet sat really quiet so that they could hear the story. I gave this task as a homework and about 50% of the kids actually gave a missed call to hear stories. 
 I really appreciate Pratham Books' effort to reach as many kids as possible, "Missed Call Do, Kahaani suno" is going to be a great way to do just that. All of the kids in our rural school have access to phones and now, they have access to beautifully woven and engaging stories.
So, go ahead and listen/watch/read these stories and don't forget to share them as well!

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Update : Episode 3 and 4 from the series are below:



Our Journey with Arvind Gupta

Last month, we heard the excellent news about Arvind Gupta receiving the Padma Shri award in Literature and Education (affordable education). At Pratham Books, we have followed his work for years and recently had the fortune of working with him. Editor Sandhya Taksale writes about working with Arvind Gupta and our journey with him.

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It is a treat when you are listening to Arvind Gupta. With a spark in his eyes, he will tell you about new stories for kids from all across the world. Treasure of stories and anecdotes around them never ends. He always talks with great passion, enthusiasm and childlike spontaneity.

After retiring from IUCAA in December 2014, most of his time is spent in digitizing and translating books. The speed with which he translates stories in Hindi and uploads them is just unbelievable. In the year 2017, along with many friends and educators, Arvind ji got 200 children's books translated in Hindi.  Many of these books are biographies of famous scientists.



Image Source : Nandagopalrl , CC BY-SA 3.0

Every time we met or had a call, I would request him to write a story for Pratham Books. And one day, he sent an interesting story saying, “I am sending you the story from the life of the Buddha which Pratham Books could consider printing.” The content team loved this story and we started developing this book. We wanted the visual depiction of Buddha to be different from the ones we generally see. Debasmita Dasgupta captured the spiritwe were looking for and with those beautiful illustrations the story turned into a book - ‘What happened to the shawl’. Arvind ji was very happy with the illustrations and the way the book got developed.


This ancient story from the life of Buddha carries a deep lesson about the conservation. Actually, ‘Reuse, Reecycle and Reduce’ is the mantra which is very near to Arvind ji’s heart. Gandhian in outlook, Arvind ji draws inspiration from a number of people, including Gautam Buddha.

Always clad in a Khadi kurta and pajama, he believes in simplicity and leads a simple life. For a person of his stature, he is also very unassuming. Once he wrote a mail to me about Russian children’s books and said -“I have put all the English, Hindi Russian books for children I had on my website. However, I have access to very few Russian Children's Books in Marathi. If you will allow, I will borrow 40-50 Russian Children's Books from you for just one week. I will come and collect them and return them exactly a week later. I ASSURE YOU THAT I WILL RETURN THE BOOKS TOTALLY UNHARMED.” (Capital letters from his original mail)

Look at the polite language of this message and the real ‘Karyakarta’ spirit. Many people with his stature, social status, age and experience (a Kanpur IITian, a BIG name for popularizing science among children, author of 28 books and whose TED Talk is among the 10 best TED talks compiled by Sir Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra's 5 favorite education talks. ) may not have written like this. Needless to say that I wrote back to him saying,- ‘I myself will carry those books to you.’ Such is his passion to share the books he loves.

After the Buddha story got published, he sent us another lovely script - The Big, Big Matchbox.It is a story about a child, his friends and their BIG task with a tiny matchbox. Children love this story.


As an author, Arvind ji totally believes in editors’ prerogative and fully trusts their judgment. He accepts the changes in the text without being extra possessive about it. When we were working on this second story, we requested if he could modify the end of the story to make it more interesting. He not only sent the revised version immediately but also sent a note saying - “Don’t send it back to me, please make the appropriate changes you feel.¨

A firm believer in Creative Commons and the power of open source material, he wholeheartedly
appreciates our digital platform Storyweaver. He shares so many books from StoryWeaver on his website. 

He is constantly thinking of stories, science experiments, learning- teaching for children and spreading the joy by sharing. Whatever he likes, he can’t stop sharing. He wants to make that treasure available to everyone. He deeply believes, upholds and advocates copyright free content and Creative Commons licenses. If you want to know bout the tremendous work he is doing, just visit his website : arvindguptatoys.com. You will find scientific toys, experiments, videos, articles and thousands of books. Everyday 15,000 books are freely downloaded from his website. 

Arvind ji has won several awards (24 to be precise!!) for his lifelong lifelong efforts to popularize science. And now the Padma Shri is conferred on him. Very well deserved honor! Really!!

Congratulations again Arvind ji. We are looking forward to many more interesting stories from you. And they will keep enriching the minds of young readers.

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Additional reading : 
What Happened to the Shawl - Arvind Gupta and Debasmita Dasgupta
The Big, Big Matchbox - Arvind Gupta and Meenal Singh

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Pratham Books at the New Delhi World Book Fair

At the 26th New DelhiWorld Book Fair, which was held at Pragati Maidan from January 6-14, there were throngs of eager beaver readers, little school children staring with wide-eyed wonder, parents, teachers, writers , illustrators all searching for books to take back home.

With environment degradation a serious concern, this year, the theme of the fair centred around topics such as climate change, global warming and water pollution. Pratham Books curated two story-telling sessions for children based on some of our environment themed books.

Storyteller Rohini Vij, travelled from Kanpur to narrate 'A Butterfly Smile' by Mathangi Subramanian  and Lavanya Naidu and 'A Cloud of Trash' by Karanjeet Kaur and Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi on January 12 at the Children’s Pavilion. Rituparna Ghosh who runs the Your Story Bag company and is an eminent Delhi-based storyteller, narrated 'A Book for Puchku' by Deepanjana Pal and Rajiv Eipe and 'Apu’s Giant Earthquake' by Sudeshna Shome Ghosh and Aindri Chakraborty on January 13. Both were stories were interactive and performance based engagements.

The sessions were packed to the gills with little people who had come braving the winter chill to spend a day with stories, at the fair. Through the ten days the Pratham Books stall also saw streams of visitors pouring in and sifting through books. The most heartening moment though was spotting a bunch of five-year- olds, on a school visit, shout out in unision “We want to buy all the books in this shop!




Saturday, February 3, 2018

Storytelling Sessions at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Two fun-filled days are coming up. Puchku and Cheekoo are heading to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and they can't wait to meet you. Mark your calendars and see you at the festival!


A Book for Puchku
Puchku has run out of books to read and is inconsable. Author Deepanjana Pal has the perfect solution. (4+ yrs)
Date : 6th February, 2018
Time : 5:20 pm - 6:15 pm
Venue : Kitab Khana, 45-47, MG Road, Somaiya Bhavan, Ground Floor, Flora Fountain, Next to Davars College, Mumbai


A Cloud of Trash
Cheekoo has a cloud of trash over her head. Author Karanjeet Kaur will tell you what happened. (5+ yrs)
Date : 7th February, 2018
Time : 4:25 pm - 5:20 pm
Venue : Kitab Khana, 45-47, MG Road, Somaiya Bhavan, Ground Floor, Flora Fountain, Next to Davars College, Mumbai

Thursday, February 1, 2018

World Read Aloud Day : Editors' Picks

Today is World Read Aloud Day!  

From the Litworld website :
We think everyone in the world should get to read and write. Every year, on World Read Aloud Day, people all around the globe read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people.
Source : Litworld
At Pratham Books, we would love to see the day where every child has a book to read - every single day! We cornered our editors and asked if they could suggest 2 books to share with our readers. And here are their answers with their reasons (P.S - We love too many books to pick favourites!)...

Sandhya Taksale suggests :

What Happened to Shawl? - by Arvind Gupta and Debasmita Dasgupta
¨ The story is interesting and has a plot that lends itself very well for a read aloud. It talks about recycling, reusing and reducing in the most fascinating way. 

Angry Akku - by Vinayak Varma
My next choice is Angry Akku. Kids love this story. The dramatic element is powerful which is needed for a read aloud. Very few stories talk about emotional intelligence from a child's point of view.




Bijal Vachharajani suggests :


Goby’s Noisy Best Friend - by Sheila Dhir and Anjora Noronha
I love all the little sounds you can make while reading this book out loud. And the repetition really helps.

The Hundred and Thirty Seventh Leg/ एकशे सदतिसावा पाय - by Madhuri Purandare
A wonderful story about a millepede coupled with Madhuri Purandare's iconic illustrations

Yamini Vijayan's picks include : 

Aunty Jui's Baby - by Madhuri Purandare
Everybody should read this! It's so easy to relate to, and so full of humour.
Read the book

Who Ate All That Up? - by Sejal Mehta and Rohan Chakravarty
A really fun story on how nothing goes to waste in the forest. Read the story JUST for the wild boar. GRUNT! GRUNT!



Sherein Bansal listed :

सबरंग - by Kamla Bakaya and Audrey Agnier
It's that fun desi Hindi poetry book that you can't help but read with a rhythmic energy that the book demands. The characters are funny, and the situations funnier.

The Red Raincoat - by Kiran Kasturia and Zainab Tambawalla
The story's repetitive tone makes it fun for very young readers.

Mala Kumar's choices include :

Mouse in the House - by Sowmya Rajendran andTanaya Vyas
Imagine a mouse running through the house. One can definitely expect lot of action and drama.

Hatchu! Ha-aaa-tchu! - by Sharada Kolluru and Lavanya Karthik
Because it has a lot of sounds that will make it a happy read aloud. This is such a simple story that it can be adapted to suit any age group.
Read the book


Shinibali Mitra Saigal's list includes :

Cat in the Ghat -  by Ambika Rao and  Ruchi Shah
This book is a fantastic read aloud because it’s in rhyme. It’s not bound to any age and is a quirky adventure set in the Western Ghats. Written by Ambica Rao, the book has all the ingredients that children get drawn to-  animals, tryst and verse. 

It’s All the Cat’s Fault - by Anushka Ravishankar and Priya Kuriyan
Written by word magician Anushka Ravishankar , this book is loads of fun. Children are always looking for excuses to skip school and homework and this book offers a basketful of ideas.

Amna Singh recommends :

Doong Doong Dum Dum - by  Juanga Writers' Group and Pradip Kumar Sahoo, Sanatan Juanga, and Sugrib Kumar Juanga
Commands of 'go’ and ’stay’ coming from deep within a forest. What was it? An animal, a bird or…Have you come across a better premise for a read aloud. Not me! 
You can listen to it here and here

ऊँट चला, भई! ऊँट चला - by Prayag Shukla and Siraj Saxena
It's not a read aloud - it's a rap aloud! One of the most important ingredients that make a story a great read aloud is the fun the narrator has with it. This tops my list of fun reads.

Which is your favourite book for a read-aloud?