StoryWeaver Visits Hyderabad!

Posted by Sherein Bansal on June 08, 2017

My first StoryWeaver workshop took me to Hyderabad. I was officially on the training side of the workshop, but since this was my first, I experienced those two days with two different batches as a participant too.

50+ educators, resource people, librarians and program managers from 12 different organisations and schools poured into the room and were brimming with energy even before the workshop began. Payoshni, Senior Outreach Manager and trainer for the workshop, talked about StoryWeaver - our open repository of free children’s books, its practical uses in a classroom, and the way it can be used to enhance a child’s world from all aspects like cognitive approach, social skills, comprehension, logical thinking and aesthetics.  


Teachers became curious students and asked us countless questions that spanned across queries about our features, to the efficacy of the platform itself. It was a delight to see them realize the applications of StoryWeaver in the classroom. Once they understood the intricacies of creating, translating or releveling (simplifying or making a story complex) stories on the platform, all of them were eager to try their hand at bringing about their own creation on StoryWeaver.

Sandhya Damodar, Pudami Schools, Hyderabad talks here about the various applications of StoryWeaver in a classroom and specifically the advantages of being able to ‘relevel’ stories: 



The fact that the stories on StoryWeaver are free to use, read, download and print was exciting and important for teachers who came from schools based in rural settings. Active discussions ranged from how to preserve the accuracy and sanctity of a language through translations. Concerns unfolded about how some languages need more original content for the children, and one way could be to create and translate in that language on platforms like StoryWeaver.

In this short video, workshop participant Shadab Ahmad, Focus High School, Hyderabad talks about how StoryWeaver will help him in getting Urdu stories across to his students and also about the ease of publishing good stories on the platform.



The childlike joy of the teachers working in teams with fellow educators whom they didn’t know previously, and raising their hands to read their created stories out loud was infectious. They proudly presented their work in front of everyone and laughed along with everyone at the bits they got wrong or where they themselves had added humor! Some of them are still active on the platform and creating/translating/releveling stories for their students, for fun, or to contribute in some way to their favorite language.

As we wrapped up the two-day workshop, it was a comfort to know there are educators who are eager to learn about how to improve a child’s experience in classrooms. And not just that, they want to do it through the art of stories.

Here are a few pictures from the event!

A big thank you to Dr.Reddy’s Foundation who made this wonderful workshop possible and all their efforts in bringing the best opportunities to their children. If you are interested in hosting a similar workshop for your organisation, drop us an email on storyweaver@prathambooks.org.

 

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Stories for 2017: 10 Themes for a Happy New Year!

Posted by Sherein Bansal on January 06, 2017

‘If you’re skilled at something, don’t give it away for free’ is a piece of advice that we heard so many times growing up, that just the fact that a thing called CC BY License even exists seems absurd and foolish by today’s standards. But that’s what Pratham Books' 1.5 year old digital platform StoryWeaver, all its illustrators, authors as well as translators believe in – free dissemination of our books in order to achieve our ultimate goal: ‘A book in every child’s hand’. In 2016, with 5326 stories uploaded on StoryWeaver, 25 languages added, and 1,19,132 new visitors (A warm hello to you all!), we feel truly grateful. It is indeed a Happy New Year for the StoryWeaver family. So we would like to express our heartfelt New Year wishes to you all in the best way we know. By highlighting here just 10 of our books that speak of themes that currently are, and will remain, points of discussion and action in 2017.

 

Environment 

Chipko Takes Root written and illustrated by Jeyanthi Manokaran

We seriously need to drop the act that we are gracious hosts to nature, and are ‘allowing’ it to be. It’s the other way round. With some people claiming proudly that global warming is not real, and regressive environmental policies being made all over the world, it’s important to keep talking about conserving nature. Here’s a story about one of the bravest fights in India that made Chipko Movement a force to reckon with.

 

Technology

Bonda and Devi by Roopa Pai and Jit Chowdhury

Any one of us who successfully evaded technology as much as they could before, now must make their peace with it in this digital economy. We don’t know where technology will take us in 2017, but we know where it might reach in 2080! Read about this futuristic tale about two very unlikely friends. Maybe we can be friends with technology too, just like Devi in this story? Available in 9 more languages!

 

Education 

Counting on Moru by Rukmini Banerji and Nina Sabnani

It’s a failure of our education system for not recognizing students as individuals and keeping them at a ‘uniform’ pace of comprehension with each other. This moving story in Hindi, Kannada, Odia and Marathi, talks about how how easy it is to lose your spark when you're a student under the wrong teacher and regain it with the right one.

 

Community Activism 

Wildlife in a City Pond by Ashish Kothari and Sangeetha Kadur

When the good ones are silent, the misguided will shout and reign. Be the first voice to speak up against loss of beauty and justice. Here’s a story that flows like a poem and builds up your love for something that this neighborhood derives so much peace and wisdom from that you will want to protect it yourself.

 

Sports 

Dhyan Singh ‘Chand’: Hockey’s Magician by Dilip D'Souza and Mohit Suneja

Let’s, for once, not talk about Hockey with a sense of guilt at not having given it too much traction in life. Let’s just read this story about Dhyan Chand- one of the best things to have happened to Hockey and one of the worst that happened to Hitler. Win, win all the way and yet he stayed humbly devoted to the sport all his life. A man worth knowing about, he will teach you the true meaning of sportsmanship spirit.

 

Humour 

Yes, humour is indeed an important point of discussion. And more importantly, action. 2016 clearly needed a hug, and some jokes. So we are better prepared this time for 2017 with our fun story – Phani's Funny Chappals by Sridala Swami and Sanjay Sarkar, and our Spotathon entry Messy Miss Mitaby Jisha Unnikrishnan.

 

Art 

Dastkari Haat Samiti Books

Travelling inwards is just as important as travelling outwards. We need art now more than ever to connect with an ever-expanding world, and to convey our strongest messages and passions with more ease and solidarity. Experience beauty, talent and magic all woven, embroidered and sculpted together in our Dastkari Haat Books.

 

Health 

Gargi and Soapy by Preethi Unnithan and Sorit Gupto

Physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health. Let’s make a new year resolution to take care of it all. Here’s a story by our SW community member about a world where a soap called Soapy will fight the evil germs and restore balance and health!

 

Diversity 

Why is Nita Upside Down? By Roxana Bouwer and Sarah Bouwer

Dismissed someone lately or ridiculed someone in your mind (because doing it to their face would be politically incorrect) just because they did not look, talk or well… live, like you do? This one’s for you then. Let’s look at how a child sees a playground, and let’s compel ourselves to look at people and accept them the way they are in this judgment-reflexed world.

Family 

وصیت by Anis Azmi and Juhi Agarwal

There are all kinds of families. But as this Urdu story shows, not one can function without mutual trust and respect - Values that can make 2017 better for everyone. Ride a camel to Egypt and pay a visit to this family? Let’s go.

 

Which theme concerns you the most as we step into a new year? Tell us in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook.

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Spotathon: An Illustration Campaign to Create a Free Spotting Book

Posted by Menaka Raman on November 14, 2016

This campaign is now closed

 

Children LOVE ‘spotting challenges’. Ask them to spot anything from a busy image and you can be sure they won’t quit. 3 crabs on a beach, 4 tyres in a workshop, 11 spoons in a kitchen... anything! Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by memorable spotting books which are affordable. So...

 

This Children’s Day (November 14), StoryWeaver is eager to create a fun spotting book for children and make it available for free. We think this will be special if it’s a collection of illustrations from artists around the world. And this, illustrators, is where we need your support. Just 1 illustration from you can make all the difference! 

 

The best entries from Spotathon will become part of a grand spotting book published by StoryWeaver, filled with illustrations from different artists. However, each entry that is submitted as part of Spotathon will be available on StoryWeaver as an individual activity book as well.

 

Here’s how you can participate in Spotathon!

 

  • Draw something which has enough details so that a child can spot up to 15 objects in it. Think of a setting which can accommodate these details. A beach, rainforest, kitchen, classroom, market... the possibilities are endless! The objects to spot are up to you. 

  • Before you start, imagine the child you’re setting the challenge for. Our readers are primarily children who haven’t had much access to books. We have 2 different categories which are linked to age and levels of difficulty. Remember, these are only guidelines.

 

a. 3-6 years (Level of Difficulty: Easy) – She has only recently started reading books. She’d enjoy spotting up to 8 objects. While she’s open to all kinds of settings, do remember that her vocabulary is limited. But her imagination definitely isn’t! As an example, here is an illustration by Soumya Menon of what would be ideal for her.

 

b. 7-10 years (Level of Difficulty: Medium) – As she’s expanding her vocabulary, she will be more comfortable with prediction and open to unfamiliar settings. She’d be able to spot up to 15 things. Even the way in which the objects are hidden can be more complex here. As an example, here is an illustration by Bindia Thapar of what would be ideal for her.

 

  • As the spotting exercise also requires an answer key for reference, you will need to prepare it using the same drawing. All you have do it number the images accordingly. Here’s an example.

 

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION

 

Timelines

Spotathon begins on October 25 and ends on November 21.

 

Submission

 

 

  • You will have to submit two illustrations: Main Illustration and Answer Key (examples above).

  • You can submit your entry in any language that is available on StoryWeaver.

  • You can submit more than one entry.

  • Watch a short Video Tutorial on how to submit your entry on StoryWeaver.

 

Format

  • Size of illustration (Main illustration & Answer Key): 11.17 inches (width) x 5.35 inches (height). This is the recommended size as it fits neatly into one of the templates on StoryWeaver.

  • The illustrations should be high-res (150-300 dpi).

  • Format: JPEG

  • File size for each illustration: Between 2 to 4 MB; above 4 MB will slow down the upload process

 

Copyright and other guidelines:

  • To participate in Spotathon, you must be over the age of 16.

  • The illustrations you submit must be your original work. 

  • By submitting your work, you are agreeing to a CC-BY 4.0 license being applied to it. To know more about this license, click here.

 

You can register for the campaign over here so that we know you're participating and can reach out for any updates. If you have any queries, feel free to drop us an email at storyweaver@prathambooks.org!

 

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