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.



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.


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.



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 Mitaby Jisha Unnikrishnan.



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.



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.

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Book your Feelings!

Posted by Sherein Bansal on November 24, 2016

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!


1.    Curious-

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.


5.    Compassionate-

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.


6.    Vain-

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!


7.    Funny-

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!


8.    Playful-

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!


9.    Excited-  

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.


10. Scared-

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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It's a Zoo in Here!

Posted by Sherein Bansal on November 23, 2016

The cutest, warmest, furriest, squishiest and bubbly cheeks-pull worthy photos of kids are the ones in which they are cuddling up with a loving animal. Well now, we can't send an animal your way (We are hopeful that the crazy futuristic era will have an easy animal courier service so that we can all share different pets in different states… or even countries… ! Ah! What a bliss! But we digress…). So, until that future hops, skips and prances up to us, what we CAN give you is a list of books instead that you can cuddle up with, along with excited little humans. Books about animals- Funny, unpredictable, generous, strange, friendly, loud and just adorable.

Good Night, Tinku By Preethi Nambiar

Illustrator – Sonal Goyal, Sumit Sakhuja

Afraid of the dark? We all are sometimes. Here comes Tinku the dog, who explored the dark and found…. friends! Tag along where he wags on, and meet some new animals that are wide awake when you are deep asleep. From Hindi to Sanskrit, from French to Italian, we have all these translations available for you, and more!

Anaya's Thumb by Natasha Sharma

Illustrator – Ruchi Shah

Anaya has a bad habit. She keeps sucking her thumb! Know anyone like that? But then one day she went to the zoo and quit her bad habit. Read about the human and animal behavior she witnessed there to make this surprising decision. Apart from some Indian languages, this book is also available in German and Portuguese!

Sniffles, the Crocodile and Punch, the Butterfly by Herminder Ohri

Illustrator – Herminder Ohri

A big, strong animal that cries and a light as feather one that likes to punch! Let's go beyond the deceptive waters of someone's cover and read about this amazing frienship that… saved lives! Do you know Sniffles, the crocodile also speaks in Kiswahili and IsiXhosa? We have this story available in these two African languages too.

Clean Cat by Kanchan Bannerjee

Illustrator – Deepa Balsavar

It doesn't matter how long you've been living somewhere, you will never know your neighborhood as well as a cat. This Clean Cat is up to all kinds of fun and antics. Read in 6 languages including Urdu, Marathi and two bilingual versions too!

Samira's Awful Lunch by Bharati Jagannathan

Illustrator – Preeti Krishnamurthy

How many of you have heard of kids complaining about what they got for lunch? *raises hand* You too? That's what we thought. Well, we have some very kind animals in this book who are willing to ideas for food alternatives. Do read and find out what Samira finally chooses!

(The Generous Crow) by Venkatramana Gowda

Illustrator - Padmanabh

It's hard to be in a classroom full of students feeling left out as you feel 'different' or smaller than the others. It's probably like being a small crow in a huge forest full of animals that seem better than you. This is a story in Assamese, Telegu and Tamil in which a crow 'Caws Caws' his way into a journey of self-identity and self-esteem.


Noisy Crows by Kanchan Bannerjee

Illustrator - Deepa Balsavar

Here's another story about crows and this one is just plain NOISY! Available in Hindi, Marathi and Kannada along with English as bilingual books, make sure that you find out which animal likes this crow's singing.

The Jungle Book by Madhav Chavan, Meera Tendolkar

Illustrator - Ketan Raut

Translated in Punjabi and Odia, along with three African languages, this book follows the day of a few animal friends who hear about an exciting new development in the forest. Their jungle has a school! So they go in search of it and wait for the teacher. Guess who turns up?

Busy Ants by Kanchan Bannerjee

Illustrator – Deepa Balsavar

Have you ever seen ants just loitering about or sitting under a shade passing their time? No, they are always busy, and they have some unique traits and skills too! You can read all about them in Malayalam and Tamil, along with other languages!


भीमा गधा (Bheema, the Sleepyhead) by Kiran Kasturia

Illustrator – Shweta Mohapatra

Translated in 14 languages, this book tries to answer a fundamental question of our existence- How does a person (in this case, a donkey) wake up early in the morning? Bheema likes to sleep like a log, and it doesn't matter who tries to wake him up- a cow, crow or a dog! See what finally works for him. Maybe it will work for you too?

Do you have a favourite animal story? Tell us what it is in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook!

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