A New Set of STEM Books That Will Fascinate and Delight

Posted by Menaka Raman on December 28, 2016

Most of StoryWeaver's digital-first books explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) topics in interesting and fun ways. Some of you may remember some of our amazing STEM titles from last year: 'How Old is Muttajji?', 'Jadav and the Tree-Place', 'Up World, Down World', 'Dum Dum-a-Dum Biryani!', etc. We’re happy to announce that these are also being printed early next year!

“This year, we’ve tried to create books that are simpler than last year, based on conversations with our outreach partners. Simpler does not mean easier, of course, and in many ways it has been more challenging. Fortunately, we’ve been working closely with some of the finest editors, writers, illustrators, art directors and translators who have helped us create a set of wonderful books. While the aim of each book is to inform and educate, the idea is also to nurture the innate sense of wonder in children and in turn, encourage them to explore further,” shares Yamini Vijayan, who anchors content creation for StoryWeaver. 

Exciting ideas through exciting partnerships

This year, we hope to widen the lens through which children look at the world around them, with stories that explore topics like space, types of houses, trash, seasonal food, subtraction, evolution, simple machines and even toilets! 

From author-illustrator Rajiv Eipe's book on simple machines

These books have been created in collaboration with 4 Guest Editors and 2 Art Directors. Award-winning author Roopa Pai has steered the books on math, Bijal Vachharajani – a journalist who writes on nature and the environment – has given shape and form to the books on environment, author-illustrator Vinayak Varma, former Editor and Art Director of Brainwave Magazine, has helped create fun science books and author-editor Payal Dhar has made technology and engineering appealing to young minds. With illustrations being such an integral aspect of these books, we were keen to involve experts in the field and so these books have been art-directed by talented illustrators Kaveri Gopalakrishnan and Vinayak Varma. We’re excited to say that some of the most promising authors and illustrators have contributed to the creation of these 20 titles. 

Priya Kuriyan brings Neema to life in vivid colours in 'What's Neema Eating Today?' by Bijal Vachharajani

In Math, we have books on subtraction, patterns of similarity and dissimilarity, division and estimation. Needless to say, all these have been explained through simple stories that show how we use math in our everyday lives and that it isn’t restricted to our textbooks alone. At Pratham Books, we have always realized how important it is to have conversations about the environment to children. This year, we have chosen to focus on trash, seasonal food, migration and earthquakes. Themes in science that we have decided to ‘storify’ are simple machines, virology, evolution and the lives of gharials. We’re certain that early readers will become more enthusiastic about science after reading these enchanting stories. You’d think that children’s stories on technology and engineering can get a bit boring. Well, you’ll change your mind when you read our stories on space, wheels, flying, types of houses and toilets. In addition to these STEM books, we have two moving stories on emotional intelligence, one on anger and the other on perseverance. 

Here's what we've digitally published so far:

Environment

What's Neema Eating Today? Neema loves to eat seasonally, and you will to now!

Science

Ammachi's Amazing Machines  How simple can simple machines be? Ammachi's here to teach you!

Apu's Giant Earthquake: what's causing those tremors?

Sniffles, in which a girl spreads her cold during a football match. 

Ghum-Ghum Gharial's Glorious Adventure, a young Gharial's adventure in the Ganga. 

Math

One by Two Share some biryani and gulab jamuns and learn a thing or two about fractions!

More or Less? Need to Guess! How many sweet boxes do the wedding guests need? Guestimation to the rescue!

I Spy! How many children are left at a birthday party? 

Same-same or different?, showing the friendship between a Sparrow and a Snake and also explaining the idea of sorting. 

Technology

Gul in Space: a girl explores outer space. 


In keeping with our commitment to creating good quality multilingual content for children, each of the 20 titles will be translated to Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Tamil. (Plus, don’t forget, on StoryWeaver you can translate the stories to a language YOU’RE fluent in and help us spread the joy of reading to even more children.) The development of these 100 books (20 titles in 5 languages) has been supported by Oracle.

 

To say that we’re excited about these new stories is an understatement! We cannot wait to share them with readers, young and old. Happy reading!

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Announcing Results: STEM Library Kits Grant Application

Posted by Menaka Raman on December 09, 2016

A couple of months back we invited organisations and schools to apply for a free library with books that aim to spark curiosity and discovery in children. We had 100 libraries to give away, a treasure trove of books exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects and emotional intelligence through engaging narratives and eye catching illustrations.

We got over 120 unique application from 22 states in the country – each application notifying us of the exemplar work these schools and organisations were doing with children in the field of literacy. We really wish we could fulfill all the applications!

However, based on our guidelines, relevance of work and a rigorous evaluation, we have selected 29 beneficiaries for the grant. 

  1. MANTRA Social Services
  2. Communities Rising
  3. Pratham Education Foundation, New Delhi
  4. Pratham Education Foundation, Rajasthan
  5. Selco Foundation
  6. 17000 ft Foundation
  7. Gyanoday Foundation
  8. Sewa International
  9. Isha Education
  10. Shiksharth
  11. Vidyarambam Trust
  12. Shree Raj Educational Centre
  13. Swatantra Talim Foundation
  14. Yuva Jagruthi Foundation
  15. Team Everest
  16. PRATIGYA
  17. Kevalya Education Foundation,Surat (Submitted by Swati Mehrotra)
  18. Diksha Foundation
  19. GRAMODAYA SAMAJIK SANSTHAN
  20. SRF Foundation
  21. PANCHAVATI RURAL DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY (PANCHAVATI)
  22. Sun Shine Public School, Bangalore
  23. Shriram Matriculation School, Chennai
  24. Teach For India, Pune (Submitted by Jai Mishra)
  25. Balkrishna Deosthan Human Welfare Trust
  26. Pratham Education Foundation, Assam
  27. Zilla Parishad High School, Gundlapochampally, Telangana
  28. ADARSH HINDI HIGH SCHOOL (PRIMARY SECTION), West Bengal
  29. Piramal foundation for education leadership, Udaipur, Rajasthan

Congratulations! We will stay in touch with you on next steps.

Thank you to everyone who applied. We will keep you posted on other upcoming grants.

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On Konkan Shores

Posted by Amna Singh on May 09, 2016

Last year, during the launch of StoryWeaver, we reached out to Guru Baliga at the World Konkani Centre who helped us get Konkani (in Devanagiri script) on to the platform. A few weeks later, we had another Konkani story on thanks to Sujata Noronha (who runs Bookworm, Goa) and her friend Jose Salvador Fernandes. This time, the script was Roman. 

To us, this was an exciting and hopeful entry into the world of Konkani. 

More recently, through a grant from The Oracle Giving Initiative we have been able  to create 20 STEM titles and make them available in 10 languages under the CC-BY 4.0 license. 

The 20 stories woven from the Oracle Grant project, they have feet. Feet that are meant to travel the length and breadth of this country and beyond. That’s the dream. That’s our dream for each and every tale that has ever been born.  

The endeavour to translate these stories in 9 other languages found us connecting with storytellers pan India. We were on the lookout for translators with an inherent understanding of the delicate world of children’s literature. Faced with this mildly daunting task, we turned to the community for support. And they came forward eagerly, to weave these stories with us in many, many languages.  

While these stories were being translated and reviewed across languages like OdiaBengaliKannadaMarathi…we wanted to hear these stories in Konkani voices too. Finding ourselves at the Konkan shores, we knocked on the doors of our friends at the Konkani Bhasha Mandal (Goa) who responded with enthusiasm and positivity. A couple of mails and some very quick reverts later, our Konkani captain Tanvi Bambolkar hopped on board for our Oracle odyssey. I call her the Konkani Activist. Armed with her energy and the passion of creating more and more stories in a language she strongly feels for, Tanvi and a like-minded Konkani comrade, Hrishikesh Kadam, translated about a dozen odd stories for us.  

There's a palpable energy and passion in the Konkani community across age-groups which Tanvi explains: "I think the main reason for it is we feel that there is a lot to be done for Konkani and we cannot waste time. So we try to give as much as possible in whatever ways we can." Perhaps this is how they both managed to carve out time while juggling examinations, paper setting and jobs at AIR on the side. 

                                                                                                         

And no, they didn’t stop at this. Tanvi introduced us to other Konkani Bhasha Mandal gems - Ms. Ratnamala Divkar and Ms. Kiran Budkuley – who not only ensured that they themselves signed up but also helped us with more leads of other Konkan linguists to collaborate with. 

Ratna personally spoke to each and every contact on her list, and set the wheels in motion for us. Sunetra Jog lent us her professionalism, Prashanti Talpankar her inimitable child-like enthusiasm; Chetan Acharya his diligence; and Nayana Adarkar’s quiet work ethic saw this dream through. Yogini Acharya, Sandesh Prabhudesai, Rama Murkunde and many more who signed up; we couldn’t have done this without these language stars. 

We also had stalwarts like Mr. Ramesh Veluskar (Sahitya Academy Award winner) coming in on this project and helping us raise the bar many notches through his wisdom and clarity.

“The Konkan community in Goa is so small - its not even a district. At home, we hear Konkani. Our children are growing up with Konkani. We don’t have to forget our own language just because we are learning another language.” shared Mr. Veluskar with StoryWeaver. A mother tongue for any individual is a natural expression, its spirit comes from within. Every other language that one learns as we grow is an acquired understanding of a new language. The most natural quality of one's expression will reflect coherently in one's mother tongue. That is why there is a need to safeguard and replenish it.”

This collaboration is the fusion of the old with the new. The younger lot has worked on most of the story translations and their seniors have come in as reviewers for their work to help iron out the seams. 

As the end credits are about to roll on this chapter, we have names of 15 Konkani enthusiasts (and counting) of the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Goa who have made this work. This group has a cognisance of the diminishing footprints of their mother tongue from the children literature landscape. They talk of trying to salvage the special subset; the children’s language that is lovingly nurtured within every language of the world.  The driver is their intuitive understanding of the lacuna that this loss will leave behind in the collective Indian heritage. They are working tirelessly to populate everlasting Konkani contributions in the field of literature, art, philosophy… so that the coming generations do not lose their sense of belonging. 

These Konkani stories are a potent mix of zeal tempered with the wisdom of storytelling and the comfort of the language of one’s origin. 

                                                              

Sometimes, we walk miles only to be able to come back home. And what a homecoming this has been. 

More power to our generous and enthusiastic translators, our sparkling community.

If you'd like to translate stories on StoryWeaver but can't find your language of choice, write to us at storyweaver@prathambooks.org

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