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.

Rajesh also shared some of his favourite Level 1 and 2 books (click on the name to read them on StoryWeaver!)

Sandhya Taksale, Senior Editor, Pratham Books

 

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! 

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. 
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Pratham Books Retell, Remix and Rejoice 2017 is here!

Posted by Amna Singh on April 06, 2017

Our annual Retell, Remix and Rejoice contest is back… with a small twist! This year :

  • You can choose from the whole universe of illustrations on the StoryWeaver platform and

  • You have to create an engaging story for young reader (A  level 1 or 2 book. More details below)

A recent report ‘Mapping Children’s Literature in India’ by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Parag revealed a huge shortage of quality stories for our youngest readers (0-6 years), especially in Indian languages. We want your help in creating joyful stories for the next generation of bookworms to read, giggle and wonder at in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi or Tamil. We asked Pratham Books’ editors to share the themes they felt engaging stories were most needed in. This is what they would like you to weave stories about:

  • My body: Parts of the body, sensations, growing up.. Take a look at Rohini Nilekani’s ‘Listen to my Body’.

  • My friends: Games we play, sharing, fighting, making up, being fair. Have you read ‘मेरा घर’ by Rukmini Banerjee.

  • Animals around us: My pets, domestic and wild animals, birds and insects. ‘Ammu's Puppy’ by Sowmya Rajendran was one of the big hits of 2016 on StoryWeaver

  • Travel: Using modes of transport in stories, visiting new places and culture, etc. Check out 'My Car' by Phidi Pulu.

  • People around us: My teachers, shopkeepers, drivers, fruit-sellers, ice-cream wala, the gardener, mechanic, etc. Here's 'Phani's Slippers' by Sridala Swamy. 

  • The world around me: Weather, nature, seasons, trees and flowers, every day science Have you read 'The Red Raincoat' by Kiran Kasturia.

About our Reading Levels

At Pratham Books we link levels to the child’s reading development, since we know 10-year-olds who are most comfortable with a Level 1 story, as well as 6-year-olds who can read Level 3 stories effortlessly. This happens across languages, too, as kids have different fluencies in different languages.

This year we’re asking you to be as creative as you can and convey as much as you can - using as few words as possible. Use our reading level guidelines as you create them.

Level 1 Books

  • Easy words, word repetition
  • Short sentences, less than 5 on a page

  • Text and pictures should support each other

  • Big fonts

  • Rhyme and rhythm

  • Word range: 0 to 250

Level 2 Books

  • Simple concepts (especially in non-fiction)
  • Stories with linear, engaging plots

  • Word range: 250 to 600

Guidelines for Submission

Timelines:

Contest ends on April 30, 2017.

Copyright and other guidelines

  • All stories submitted must be your original work.
  • Stories must be in English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil or Marathi.

  • Participants must be over the age of 17 to participate (we’re organising an exciting contest for children later in the year)

  • By submitting your work to Retell, Remix and Rejoice 2017, you are agreeing to a CC-BY license being applied to it (This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation). To know more about CC-BY, click here.

  • For queries, write to us at storyweaver@prathambooks.org

  • While we encourage participation from all countries, prizes shall be couriered only within India.

How to enter

You can submit your story for Retell, Remix and Rejoice 2017

  1. using illustrations from our image bank

  2. by uploading your own illustrations

  3. or as text only

Here’s a quick video tutorial on how to create stories on StoryWeaver.

However you choose to create your entry it MUST be via the Retell, Remix and Rejoice contest page, by clicking on the button below:

Oh and before you go… here’s a quick reminder of the prize this year

The three best manuscripts will receive  detailed feedback from our Senior Editors at Pratham Books. One of the finalist entries will be chosen for re-illustration by a children’s book illustrator.

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