‘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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.Be the first to comment.
Remember that character in a book that you suddenly felt a flood of empathy for? Or that literary character your book-worn hands keep going back to when you are sad, happy or even angry? Our moods, our emotions and what we feel at the moment often predict the book we will pick up, or the character that we will love the most. So we have compiled a list of our books for all your mood seasons. Be it adults or kids, we don’t want anyone to ever think, “I’m feeling so… scared. Now if only there was a book somewhere that truly understood what I’m going through.” Here are the books. Enjoy!
Sister, Sister, Where Does Thunder Come From? by Roopa Pai and Greystroke
We have heard thunder and lightning are all Kumbhakarna’s doing. In fact, it could be because of some sky-riding motorbikes too. There are many possibilities to explore as a curious little boy and his big sister try to figure out ‘where does thunder come from?’ Read this beautiful story in Hindi, Marathi and Telugu.
2. Sad –
Manikantan Has Enough by Anil Menon and Upamanyu Bhattacharyya
There’s something inherently sad about this book. You will notice not just the obvious longing felt acutely by the main character, but also the sad state of affairs we, as human race, might soon find ourselves in. Read this book, available in 9 languages, to feel better about yourself as you realize even in a futuristic, technology-consumed world, things are not all bright and shiny.
3. Angry -
Sringeri Srinivas Learns to Laugh by Rohini Nilekani and Angie & Upesh
You see the title? That’s how angry Sringeri was. He actually had to ‘learn’ to laugh. In all his books, Sringeri just can’t help but pull all the attention to himself, can he? But in this one, he has competition. From monkeys. Read in Kannada and Hindi to find out what happens when a bunch of monkeys get on his nerves.
4. Vengeful –
Chakora, The Brave Dog by Ashwin Suvarna
Don’t for a moment think that the animal kingdom is not fraught with feuds, jealousies and revenge. This community user has depicted the secret world of animals in this wonderful story about struggles of a dog, his journey, and how he faces animals bent on taking revenge.
Reeti and Mithu by Anupa Lal and Soumya Menon
We have an untapped reservoir of compassion that we are not aware of at times. Meet Reeti, a little girl who suddenly realizes that her friendship with Mithu, her parrot, is not equal or fair. Join her on her discovery of compassion in this story available in ten Indian languages.
आम्ही सारे प्राणी by Madhav Chavan , Meera Tendolkar and Santosh Pujari
Proud of your hair? Your teeth? Your lack of tail? Huh? Well, vanity knows no bounds and no logic either sometimes. Here’s a sweet story about a little girl who is showing off in front of a bunch of animals, trying to prove humans are better than animals. Do the animals take it well, and who turns out to be better in the end? Read this Marathi story in Kannada, English and Telugu to find out!
Saboo and Jojo by Herminder Ohri
Happy endings are great. Funny endings are even better. Here’s a story that will remind you of all the adorably funny things we used to say and do as kids. Saboo and Jojo is available to read in 6 languages, three of which are translations done by our community in Kora, Santali and even French!
निराली दादी by Mala Kumar , Manisha Chaudhry and Niloufer Wadia
Meet this grandmother. She can’t stay still. She refuses to slow down. Her fun is just getting started. Watch her quick playful hands bounce and juggle everything from frying pans to office supplies! This grandma has tossed up quite a lot of trouble for herself. Watch out for her!
Pambaram, the Naughty Top by Kavitha Punniyamurthi and Ajanta Guhathakurta
We just cleaned up and found something delightful - a naughty spinning top! This pambaram will spin and spin until your head does the same. Priya and Bala were playing with Pambaram when suddenly it took off! Help the kids chase the super-excited Pambaram as it weaves its way through the house and neigbourhood making things… and people fall. Also available in Hindi and Marathi.
Under My Bed by Anupa Lal and Suvidha Mistry
We often do a double take at night when we see a shadow that looks creepily like a full-fledged person. While we pretend to be brave, a child’s mind doesn’t quite work like that. Thankfully. So, here’s a story about fear that makes us see danger in innocence, available in bilingual formats too with English in Telugu, Marathi and Hindi.
What are YOU feeling today? Tell us the story you relate to the most in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook!
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