This World Book Day, we wanted to share the power of books to inspire children to be lifelong readers. Our aim? In many languages, and from far flung places, to #GetChildrenReading.
According to the ASER 2022 survey, 80% of children in third grade cannot read at second grade level. Yet by reading for as little as 30 mins every day, a child’s reading age can improve by nearly two years. Keeping that in mind, our #GetChildrenReading initiative aims to nuture children to become lifelong readers, by providing an endless stream of stories and bringing together a community of advocates for the joy of reading.
This year’s World Book Day theme was indigenous languages. Our impact partners brought some wonderful storytellers to the children they work with in underserved and indigenous languages. Our partners in Africa, African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) was specially attracted to the book, 'Mouse in the House', by Soumya Rajendran and held a translation sprint to make the book accessible in Akuapem Twi, Luganda, Ewe, Krio and more… to be read across the public libraries of Africa. Our partners Suchana, in Birbhum West Bengal read aloud 'The Very Wiggly Tooth' to a group of children in Santhali, one of the two official tribal languages in the country, and Kora, which is deemed to be an endangered linguistic community by UNESCO.
Vilas Janve, a renowned mime artiste, and Upendra ‘Annu’ were invited to read aloud by Gayatri Seva Sansthan in Mewadi and Vagadi. Promod Sahu, a Social Entrepreneur read aloud 'What Neema is Eating Today' in Chhattisgarhi. You can watch the incredibly lively sessions, as well as storytelling sessions in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English here.
For us, there is nothing more heartwarming than hearing children from Ghana and Kenya reading our stories in unison, or watching a child’s eye light up as he rushes to bring more of his friends on a sunday afternoon to listen to Seema Wahi’s animated reading of 'A Book for Puchku'.
Our aim however, is to make such moments an everyday occurrence. This celebration is a part of our ongoing #GetChildrenReading initiative, a six month long effort by StoryWeaver to bring together our partners, and the larger community of storytellers, parents, teachers and all those who believe in the power of reading to build the habit of reading in the lives of children around them. Find out more on how you can join us here.comment (1)
World Book & Copyright Day is an international initiative to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. By championing books and copyright, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge.1
Aparna Kapur, Editor at Pratham Books, writes about the making of ‘The Novel Coronavirus: We Can Stay Safe’ - made possible through an amazing collaborative effort.
‘The Novel Coronavirus: We Can Stay Safe’ is a book aimed to help children better understand what they can do to stay safe during this pandemic. The book isn't just special because it was created in ten days, or because it's available in five languages. What makes this book remarkable is that it involves thirteen of India's best children's book writers and illustrators, and characters from seven of Pratham Books' most popular books - all released under the CC BY 4.0 license, and free to read on StoryWeaver.
Above everything else, artists define themselves by their work. Their words, their pictures, their design -- these are closest to their hearts. So when creators agree to release their work under Creative Commons, it is their way of showing their trust in the publisher, and a commitment to a common goal. In our case, that goal is 'to see a book in every child's hand'.
For the last 15 years, Pratham Books has been working towards this goal by publishing affordable openly licensed picture books, and making them available for free on StoryWeaver - ensuring they can be accessed and enjoyed by children all over the world, some of whom may not otherwise have had access to books. This has helped us create a sense of community with our creators. Which is why when we asked them to be a part of this project, nearly everyone responded within minutes, telling us that they would be happy to.
In the current state of things, when everyone needs to stay indoors as much as possible, the value of digital content is hard to ignore. The internet is helping all of us stay connected to each other, but also to things that give us joy and comfort. By openly licensing content, we aren't just removing the locks from our doors, we are throwing the door wide open and welcoming everyone in.
The book is already available in five languages. And with the CC BY 4.0 license, and the community-based StoryWeaver platform, people all over the world will be able to translate it, or use the images to make their own posters or books, or download a PDF and share it with people.
Multilingual. Generous. Collaborative. Worldwide.
When open licensing is done right, it can do wonders.
Read, download, translate ‘The Novel Coronavirus: We Can Stay Safe’ on StoryWeaver here.
A big thank you to the wonderful team of creators and experts who made this possible.
The book is written and illustrated by Bijal Vachharajani, Deepa Balsavar, Jayesh Sivan, Lavanya Naidu, Maegan Dobson Sippy, Meera Ganapathy, Nimmy Chako, Priya Kuriyan, Rajiv Eipe, Renuka Rajiv, Sanjana Kapur, Sheena Deviah and Sunaina Coelho. Thank you to Anirban Mahapatra, Dr N S Prashanth, Shambhavi Naik and Dr Tanya Seshadri for their help with fact-checking.