‘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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Mita’ by Jisha Unnikrishnan.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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The best part of spending time with kids is if you smile at them, sooner or later, even the shiest of kids will turn and smile back at you. No barriers, no divides, they don’t know what categories are. So they haven’t divided people into them… yet. So let’s catch the kids at that warm welcoming age when they can learn about different cultures and lifestyles, and can take such things in their stride as casually as they take their mother’s repeated request to stop throwing things around! Only books can take you through lives of people who look, live and believe differently than us. So here is a list of stories where beauty lies in the differences:
Have you ever tilted your head in all directions and stared hard at your parents trying to figure out how you look like them? Langlen didn’t have to look so hard. Her Manipuri mother and Tamil father were ready with all the answers her curious mind could think of! Available in ten Indian languages!
You can almost hear the earthy tones of a wind-swept Rajasthani voice in this story. And then a dinosaur comes in. No, seriously. See how these two contrasting elements literally make it rain in this story, translated in French, Italian and Japanese too!
This here is a heart-warming one. Chuskit wants to go to school. Seems simple enough for most of us reading this through our digital devices. But for a girl on a wheelchair with the rough landscape of Ladakh, this basic wish soon becomes a matter of privilege. Read how one smart and kind gesture of a little boy helped Chuskit go to school.
You get a huge mixing pot of traits, complexities and cultures when you look at a basic classroom. The Boink Mystery translated in Bengali, Kannada and other languages, will speak to you through a child’s perspective of a cluttered world; it will even speak to you through a small blue alien!
Grandparents are old. Sure. But HOW old exactly? Too many grandparents around us don’t know their exact age. When Putta and Putti found out that their sweet Muttajji doesn’t know her age, they decided to embark upon an investigation that led them through some of the most fascinating chapters in Indian history. Read this popular story and be enthralled in Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi and many more languages!
Imagine making kolams so pretty, so popular, that they make their way to the skies. Susheela is exceptionally proud of her kolams, now that even the Air Force has taken special interest in them! Read this story in 9 languages and enter her visually beautiful world that’s tied together with traditions.
You know how they say that when we are hungry, we eat like a monster. So what happens when an actual monster gets hungry? Maangasura, the lover of Mangoes and all Mango meals, is here! Moidootty and Malu must gather their wits… and lots of mangoes… to break his curse. Read this latest upload on StoryWeaver to find out if they succeed!
Our journey of increasing our comforts is possibly never-ending. We didn’t always have four walls around us to keep us warm and a roof over our heads to keep the sun and rain away. Then how was the first house made? This story, set in present day Arunachal Pradesh, imagines the answer to that question, and even involves the beautiful creatures of that area. Read in Tamil and Kannada too!
Want to see the stunning landscape and lifestyle of Tibetans through a nine year old’s perspective? Let’s take you through the Tibetan Himalayas, meet some Buddhist pilgrims on the way, and have some tea and momos too! Read this beautifully illustrated story that’s written by our community member in English and Tibetan.
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