Freedom to Read 2021 | Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Pallavi Kamath on February 21, 2021

Every year, StoryWeaver marks International Mother Language Day (IMLD) in an effort to remind us that learning to read in one’s mother tongue early in school helps reduce dropout rates and makes education more engaging, meaningful and enjoyable for children. Focused on the co-creation of digital books in multiple languages, StoryWeaver’s ‘Freedom to Read’ campaign is now in its 5th year of giving children across the world the opportunity to read in their mother tongue. 


I belong to an organisation. Can we take part?

Yes! We welcome all organisations - non-profits, social enterprises, for-profits, ed-tech startups - committed to spreading the joy of reading in local languages and working in the spaces of education and literacy to apply to join hands with us towards this ambitious endeavour.

I'm an individual. Can I take part?

For this edition of Freedom to Read, we are looking to collaborate only with organisations who work with and can distribute books to children.

We are a group of teachers. We want to build a digital library for our school. Can we participate?

Educators across the world have created mother tongue resources for children in languages like Kora, Santali, Cebuano-Cebu and Bahasa Indonesia. So we encourage more educators to participate!

How many members should I have in my team?

You can have as little as one to as many members in your team as you can rally together. The more the merrier!



How is participating in this initiative different from simply using StoryWeaver to translate and publish books in my language?

Selected partners will benefit in a number of ways from being a part of the 'Freedom to Read 2020' campaign. First of all, quality-assured, reviewed translations published through this initiative will carry a 'Recommended' tag and will be promoted. Secondly, organisations taking part will be listed as partners on the StoryWeaver platform. They will have their own easy to access profile page (have a look at The Ugandan Christian University's profile page) and a dashboard for tracking their library’s progress. Most importantly, participants will also have access to mentoring in translation, editing, community mobilisation and documentation.

Will participation help me connect with others taking part to translate / create storybooks in the same language?

If we receive requests from more than one organisation to translate content to a particular language, then we will do our best to connect them so that they may work collaboratively towards creating the digital library.

Is this a contest? Is there prize money to be won?

This is not a contest, rather an invitation to collaborate with StoryWeaver to help create and share digital libraries in mother languages with few or no books. There is no prize money. However shortlisted teams will receive support and mentoring from StoryWeaver in not only creating the digital libraries but also the opportunity to publish their storybooks which will be featured prominently on the platform and reach a global audience. Participating in the 'Freedom to Read 2021' campaign will be beneficial to their work in areas such as documentation, community mobilisation etc.

Is there a participation fee?

No, there is not. Teams selected to collaborate with us will not have to pay any money towards the creation of the digital library.



One or more language enthusiasts or educators excited about working on this project, a WiFi connection and a laptop or desktop computer are the main resources you need to start work!



We are aiming to build digital libraries that comprise of storybooks in languages which have few or no children’s books. For each chosen mother tongue, you will create a library with at least 50 storybooks.

Why are you recommending the digital library have at least 50 books?

Imagine being able to borrow a brand new book every week for a whole year, in the language of your choice! By creating a digital library with at least 50 books, you're ensuring that children have new and exciting books to look forward to, and in their own mother tongue! Children can explore a range of topics and themes and progress through reading levels, ensuring their reading skills advance. Take a look at the digital libraries in French and Gondi on StoryWeaver for inspiration!

Why only digital libraries? How will digital libraries benefit my community?

Digital libraries are easy to share with many members, irrespective of their location and books can be added to them with ease. They can help preserve your language with books for future generations to read, enjoy and share and can improve access to good quality children's literature for your community. You will not only be able to access the library online, but also by downloading PDFs of the books, or through the Offline Library feature.

I don't have the infrastructure to build a digital library. Can participating help me with that?

All you need to begin building a digital book library in your chosen language is a team (it could even just be you!) of people who are skilled and enthusiastic about working towards this end goal. A WiFi connection and a laptop or desktop computer are the only digital tools you need to start work!

Who will review the quality of storybooks translated?

We recommend your team builds in a peer-to-peer review system while creating your digital book library. You might also like to assemble an expert panel who can review the translations and share feedback with your team before you publish the books. The goal is to create a reading level appropriate, quality-assured digital library of books in the language of your choice.

We shall provide you with best practices, resources and mentorship through the entire process of translating books for children.

Will my team have its own website? If not, where will this digital library exist?

All the digital libraries created through this effort will be published on StoryWeaver, and the books can be read, shared and downloaded for free. However, you are also free to download these books and add them to your own reading platform should you wish to do so. Selected organisations will have their own profile page which they can access and share. Take a look at CGnetSwara and The Asia Foundation's profile pages.

How can readers access the library?

StoryWeaver is a digital repository of openly licensed, multilingual books for children. Anyone can read, share and download the storybooks on our platform for free!

What resources will we require to run this digital library once it is ready?

There are a number of ways you can run your library once it's ready. You can share the link to your library with your community so that they can read the books online. If internet access is a concern, you can download the books via our Offline Library and access them whenever they like. You can also use the digital library of books to create a year-long reading programme for your community. Basically, you can use this library based on the resources available to you and potential members.

We would also like to have physical copies of books we translate in our digital library. Is this possible?

Once you have published the books, you can download them in a variety of formats, and print these books should you wish to. In the past organisations like the Konkani Bhasha Mandal and Suchana have obtained third party funding to print books translated on StoryWeaver and distribute them.


How does "free-to-use" work? What is CC BY 4.0?

All content on StoryWeaver is openly licensed under one of THE most liberal Creative Commons licenses: CC BY 4.0. That means that anyone and everyone can read, download, share or repurpose the content on the platform for free. Once your library is on StoryWeaver, anyone can read and download the books, translate them into another language, or remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

How will I/my team get credited for the books we translate?

We recommend that each member of your team create their own, individual accounts on StoryWeaver. This ensures that each member of the team is attributed for their contribution to the library. You might want to create an attribution page crediting your entire team on the last page of every book you translate, like the one in this book.


As an organisation with a team of translators, will the credit go to the organisation or individual team members?

Each translator will be attributed for contribution to the digital library. Organisations with participating teams will be featured on the platform as a translation partner, and will be able to access their digital library through a unique profile page.

Who other than my organisation and its members can access my digital library?

As the content comes under the CC BY 4.0 license, having a digital library on StoryWeaver means that your library will have a global audience, and your storybooks are free to read and download by anyone across the world.


What kind of languages are you looking to create digital libraries in?

A UNESCO report on mother tongue literacy states, 'children should be taught in a language they understand, yet as much as 40% of the global population does not have access to education in a language they speak or understand'.

Our aim for 'Freedom to Read' is to build quality-assured digital libraries in underserved languages.

StoryWeaver doesn't have my mother tongue listed. Can I still participate?

Yes! If selected, your mother tongue will be added to StoryWeaver, provided there is a Unicode compliant font for your language. Write to us at [email protected] and we will initiate adding your language to the platform.

Can we translate books into more than one language?

We want to help you build a quality-assured digital library in the language of your choice. If you and your team are adept at more than one language, then you may choose to create more than one digital library.

Does "building" a digital library mean that we will only be translating existing books into our mother tongue? Can we also write our own books?

'Freedom to Read 2021' is all about translating existing work and you get an opportunity to choose from thousands of different books, for various levels of reading. You can choose books based on your children's needs and topics that appeal to you. Unfortunately, you will not be able to write your own books within the scope of this campaign.



How do I know that the books I choose don't have an existing translation in my mother tongue?

Once you sign up on StoryWeaver, click on Translate, choose your language, and you will see the books that don’t have translations. Our content team can also assist you in curating a list of 50 books across themes and reading levels, as per your needs. The books encompass a gamut of reading levels and themes, including Early Readers, Bilinguals, STEM, as well as the Curated Reading Programme. With your help, we will be making much-needed children’s books available in more languages.

You can also click on Read and choose your language from the filter. This will show you all the books on the platform in your language.

What if the book I choose has an existing translation? Does my contribution still count?

Yes, it does!

Will we receive help from StoryWeaver in choosing books which can be used in classrooms/storytelling sessions?

You and your team have the freedom to choose your own books, but StoryWeaver will lend its expertise in book selection, if you need any help!


Application timelines and guidelines

  • The last date for applications: March 7, 2021 

  • Pratham Books reserves the final rights to select partners.

  • Selected partners will sign a letter of understanding with Pratham Books.

  • Only selected partners will be eligible for translation support and mentoring.

  • Applications for building digital libraries in languages with few or no books will be given preference over those in mainstream languages or languages that already have a digital library of 100 storybooks on StoryWeaver.

  • Applicants with basic digital infrastructure and language resources to create a local digital library will also be given preference.

  • All content created and published by you / your organisation on StoryWeaver as part of the 'Freedom to Read 2020' campaign will by default be licensed under CC BY 4.0.



If you have any further queries, write to us at [email protected].