When Pratham Books launched StoryWeaver two years ago and openly licensed all the content on the platform under CC-BY4.0, we had an inkling of the potential the idea had. In the last 24 months we have been blown away by the amazing ways our community members have used the power of open licensing to adapt the content on StoryWeaver to answer certain needs in classrooms and other learning spaces.
BooksThatSpeak.com is one such initiative. The platform hosts audio and video versions of children's stories in Marathi, Hindi, English and Gujarati. Many of the stories are from Pratham Books. Asawari Doshi, who runs the platform lives in Pune with her husband and two daughters and works part-time on reading and creating audio and video versions of stories for BooksThatSpeak.com.
Q: Tell us a little bit about why you started BooksThatSpeak.com
A: My aim behind starting this initiative was to create a medium through which more kids can listen to and read the fantastic stories that are published by Pratham Books. I currently read out books in four languages that I am familiar with (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and English).
But wait, my daughters (age 9 years and 4 years) and my niece (3 years) also are part of the Books That Speak team. You will hear their sweet little voices at the beginning and at the end of the stories, along with their signature tunes.
Q: How did you discover the StoryWeaver platform?
I got introduced to the lovely books published by Pratham Books around 6 years ago when my daughter brought some books home from her school library. I (even more than my kids) have been in love these books since then. We must have around 30 books published by Pratham Books in our little book cupboard at home!
From Pratham Books website and blog, I got to know about the StoryWeaver platform around 2 years ago. I was so happy to know that so many of these books are now freely available for everyone to read and also to re-purpose in multiple ways.
Q: What made you want to create audio versions of the books and make videos with them for YouTube?
A: My kids were the inspiration to start this initiative. They just love stories. But more than reading the books themselves they keep asking me to read stories to them. I love reading the stories to them too. My husband suggested why not share this joy with many more children. That was the start of BooksThatSpeak.com
Initially, I started creating audio versions of the books but as I read the books, I felt that the creative illustrations add so much to the experience so that's why I started creating video stories as well using the illustrations.
I must say that I personally enjoy the process of selecting which book to read next. As part of this process, I get to read to a lot of books from the StoryWeaver platform. All of the books are so good, that it makes the decision making very hard :) but I am not complaining because I get to read all these fantastic books.
Q: Where does your love for storytelling come from?
My background in in IT. But, I have been an actor in amateur theatre in my village in Konkan for many years. I think that may have been my accidental training in storytelling. Also, thanks to the inspiration from my father, ever since I was a child I used to read lots of books. I also remember that as a child I used to be mesmerized listening to Pu La Deshpande (A renowned Marathi author and my personal favourite) reading out and enacting his books. I think I might have picked up the liking for reading books aloud from those early years.
5. Do you have any plans for taking these stories to children?
As of now, Books That Speak are available as podcasts on the several platforms like iTunes, Sticher and Player.fm. The stories are also available as videos on our YouTube channel. I read stories in Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and English. In future, I would love it if I can find other volunteers who want to join BooksThatSpeak.com and read out stories in other languages like Bengali, Urdu etc.
I hope to connect with government schools so that they can download and play these audio or video stories for children in their schools.
6. What kind of feedback have you received from the online community for your recordings?
I am getting to hear a lot of positive feedback from the children and their parents for these stories. I think though that most of the praise really is deserved by Pratham Books, StoryWeaver and the authors, translators and illustrators who have created these books and made their work Open Source.
Some feedback for BooksThatSpeak.com:
"Aunty, I love these stories! Why do you record only one story every day, start recording 2 or 3?"
"Beautifully narrated stories. The changes in voice for different characters make the stories a lot of fun."
"My kid's goodnight sleep starts with these stories, thank you Asawari!"
"My child loves the stories and enjoys the ae-roo-waao-ee signature tune at the beginning and end of the stories"
"These audio stories are very helpful to keep kids engaged during long travels. It's much better than them playing games on the phone all the time"
Here's a photo of me reading my favourite Pratham Books to my daughters!
Thank you Aswari for this wonderful platform and taking the joy of reading to more children with your efforts! If you'd like to get in touch with Asawari head over to BooksThatSpeak now!
Are you using StoryWeaver content in interesting ways? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us so we can feature you on our blog.
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About the Organization
Pratham Books is a not-for-profit children's book publisher that was set up in 2004 to publish good quality, affordable books in many Indian languages. Our mission is to see ‘a book in every child’s hand’ and we have spread the joy of reading to millions of children in India.
In the last 3 years, we have invested deeply in technology based initiatives to further our mission. We are now looking for a Data & Insights Manager as we significantly scale these initiatives.
About the Platform
StoryWeaver is a digital platform that hosts stories in languages from India and beyond, so that every child can have an endless stream of stories in her mother tongue to read and enjoy. The stories can be read, translated, versioned or downloaded for free. All stories on the platform are openly licensed and the goal is to open source the code as well. In two years, StoryWeaver has scaled from 800 stories in 24 languages to 6500 stories in 104 languages by engaging with a community of users. We want every child to have access to quality reading resources in their own language.
StoryWeaver is being recognized as an emerging innovation that can transform the early literacy reader ecosystem globally. Our vision is for StoryWeaver to be the largest multilingual open library in the world for children by empowering communities to address the scarcity of reading resources in their mother tongue languages and scale the quantity and quality of content being produced.
We are looking for a passionate individual wanting to make a difference, one who believes that technology can be a powerful enabler in creating equitable access to resources. This role requires a manager who can work effectively, both independently and collaboratively, in a team environment and deliver the project in a timely manner within allocated resources and budgets.
We are looking for a Data & Insights Manager to work closely alongside our Product Development team and other internal teams. You will discover the insights within our vast data sets, and help us make smarter decisions to deliver better results for our end users.
In this role, you will be responsible for using statistical techniques to analyse and interpret data, take complete ownership of Google Analytics, identify trends and provide insightful reports to internal and external audience.
We’re looking for a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual who loves digging into data, developing insights and communicating data-based recommendations. You will work closely with the internal teams and tech partners to implement your recommendations, track the impact and course correct.
The position will report to the Head of Digital Projects but also requires working closely with the top management. In a 2 year time-frame the project outcomes are expected to scale by 10x and the Data and Insights Manager will play a critical role in ensuring the smooth functioning of the platform at this scale. Most importantly the person needs to be an out-of-the box thinker and should be a strong believer and propagator of use of open technologies.
The individual will be responsible for the following:
Work closely with internal product owners to understand the target audience and their motivations, generate the product enhancement, development ideas and requirements docs.
Perform analysis and provide insights regarding the market, trends, campaigns, and performances.
Build data pipelines to understand and measure readership, etc
Perform regular data analysis to demystify, assess and predict content gaps.
Extracting valuable insight from our data and generating analysis that drives user retention and conversion.
Master and perform all steps required to conduct advanced analytics and create analysis-ready data sets.
Take all data driven ideas to fruition by working closely with the implementation teams
Effectively respond to ad-hoc report and analysis requests from other teams as needed.
Be the bridge in between organization and other data-for-good communities
BTech/MSc/MCA or other graduate degree in Computer Science, Statistics, Market Research, Operational Research, or related quantitative discipline.
Proven work experience working with large sets of data and analytics, preferably in a marketing, tech or operational environment.
Ability to interpret findings through data visualization and delivery of compelling presentations to both internal and external stakeholders.
Strong analytical thought process, ability to extract data and transform it into valuable, actionable insight.
Expertise with GA and common Business Intelligence tools.
Good technical background with some hands on experience with Python/R to perform data analysis and machine learning
Very good written and verbal communication skills
4-5 years of experience in the industry
Nice to have but not mandatory
Experience working with non-profits.
Domain knowledge in publishing industry, Indic language experience
Location: Position is based out of Bangalore and we are open to part-time as well as full-time position. Project is expected to complete within a 2 year time-frame.
Salary: Compensation will be commensurate with experience.
Interested candidates can email their resume to email@example.com
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Pratham Books is a not-for-profit children's book publisher that was set up in 2004 to publish good quality, affordable books in many Indian languages. Our mission is to see ‘a book in every child’s hand’ and we have spread the joy of reading to millions of children in India. In 13 years, we have published over 3000 books and distributed over 14 million copies of our storybooks and 16 million story cards.
Last year, Pratham Books' increased its footprint by going digital. As an industry leader, we were one of the first publishers in the country to open license our content. All this content is now available on StoryWeaver, which is a digital platform that hosts stories in languages from India and beyond, so that every child can have an endless stream of stories in her mother tongue to read and enjoy. The stories can be read, translated, versioned or downloaded for free. All stories on the platform are openly licensed.
Donate-a-book, is a unique crowd-funding platform for children’s books. The platform helps to bridge the gap between individuals who want to help children read and those organizations, schools and individuals who need books for children.
At Pratham Books, we are shaping a new, innovative approach to multilingual publishing because we believe that every child needs good books to read in a language of their choice.
Pratham Books is looking for a Graphic Designer to join our digital team. This is a full-time position based in Bangalore.
The candidate will be responsible for
Designing picture books for print.
Adapting original design files (in print), and converting it into sizes and designs that are suitable for StoryWeaver - Pratham Books’ digital story platform.
Working closely with our Content Team to create and adapt content for digital and print mediums.
Working closely with the production team for the first print run of the books.
Pratham Books is a not-for-profit children's books publisher. Pratham Books’ StoryWeaver is a digital repository of openly-licensed, multilingual children’s stories.
Expertise in InDesign Creative Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw
Basic graphic design skills and an interest in book layouts
Basic understanding of the printing process (digital and offset)
Minimum one to three years of relevant experience
Ability to work quickly and accurately on design files
Be a team player, quick learner
Good communication skills
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Graphic Designer - Digital' in the subject line of the email.
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