Rantu Moni Deka: A man on a mission!

Posted by Remya Padmadas on June 22, 2016

Rantu Moni Deka is a busy man! As a Block Resource Person with Pratham in the Kamrup district of Assam, he works closely with schools who are a part of Pratham’s flagship program: Read India. The programme aims to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of children between 6-14 years.

As a part of Read India, Pratham has initiated 'Reading Week'  in 'Lakhon Mein Ek' villages across the country. Block Resource Persons go into villages with the aim of setting up a library with the help of the community. There are 48 schools that come under the two blocks that Rantu is the resource person for. He is personally involved with  6 Read India Schools and 12 library villages.

The two time Reading Champion, was inspired to start translating stories for children when he read Rukmini Banerji’s  'दीदी का रंग बिरंगा खज़ाना'. It was the first story he translated to Assamese using StoryWeaver.


“The students have access to a library in school, but the books there are meant for much bigger children - high school and college degree. The children of course are not interested in them at all.” shared Rantu. “So when I downloaded my translation to a laptop and read it to them, they just loved it. They were so happy with the colourful pictures and a story that was written just for children.” remembers Rantu.


“Seeing how happy the children were when I shared the story with them inspired me to translate more and more stories to Assamese” says Rantu who has now translated 14 stories on StoryWeaver.


You can read all of Rantu's translations on StoryWeaver here.

“I have shared the stories and shown the StoryWeaver platform to my colleagues at Pratham and to teachers at the schools.” says Rantu who wants to encourage more of his colleagues to use the site. Rantu has conducted reading sessions with children and teachers in almost all the schools that he works with.

 “The teachers have all been very impressed with the platform and the idea behind it. They all agreed that such stories with bright and beautiful illustrations will encourage children to read more and help them become more skilled readers.”

Also on his to-do list is creating a simple reading App.

“Access to internet connection and computers can be a challenge. But everyone has a mobile phone, including the parents of the children we work with. A simple app which children can read stories on will give them access to books at home where they can continue improving their reading.”

We are so impressed by Rantu’s passion and enthusiasm for helping more children read joyful books in a language they are fluent in. We’ll keep you posted with more news from Rantu about his translations and reading app.

Do you work with children? Would you like to help translate stories to languages they are fluent in? Do you know someone who is using StoryWeaver to translate or share stories with underserved children? Write to [email protected] and tell us.

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Rain, rain go away...

Posted by Remya Padmadas on June 20, 2016

Books can be a wonderful way to introduce and spark curiosity in children about .. well, everything and anything really! Science, technology, different cultures, emotions, animals... the list is endless. Stories are an invaluable resource for teachers in the classroom as a teaching aid.

The monsoons have started to sweep across many parts of India this month, so we decided to share our 5 favourite books about the rains with you! This list has books across reading levels and languages. You're sure to find the right story for your child/children and remember, you can always weave a story of your own, translate one of these to a language you're fluent in or even relevel a story to make it appropriate for children you are reading to. Let's get our umbrellas and rain coats ready! It's a downpour of stories. 

1. बरसा बादल In English as 'Rain, Rain' by Sanjiv Jaiswal 'Sanjay' and Ajit Narayan. 

 बादल के साथ आसमान में तैरिये और बारिश का मज़ा लीजिये।

Everyone wants it to rain! A peacock, a farmer and even a little child all request a cloud to oblige them with some rain. Will she or will she not? This is a sweet book and perfect for reading aloud to young ones. There are so many conversations this book can lead to - how we need rain to grow food, the different kinds of games we can play when it rains and even the animals that emerge when there's a downpour. This story is available to read in seven other langues! 

2. The Red Raincoat by Kiran Kasturia and Zainab Tambawalla

Little Manu is delighted with his shiny, new raincoat! What a lovely red it is too! He can't wait to wear it. But what's this? It just won't rain! Will he ever get to wear his new raincoat? Read this book to find out. It can be read in 10 languages including  top notch community translations to Urdu, German, Tibetan and French.

3. 'ताई ताई, गडगडाट कुठून होतो?' In English as 'Sister, Sister, Where Does Thunder Come From?' by Roopa Pai and Greystroke 

This is from Pratham Books' very popular 'Sister, Sister' series. Little Brother is full of questions and this time he wants to know where thunder comes from. Is it the roaring of the angry giant who lives in the sky that causes the heavens to rumble, or is it just the wild biker gang up in the clouds that makes all that noise? Of course, Big Sister has the right answer in the end, but before you start reading this fun book to find out, remember to ask, where do YOU think thunder comes from?

4.  The Day it Rained Fish - Ramendra Kumar and Delwyn Remedios

You've heard the expression 'It's raining cats and dogs'... but raining fish? Well strange things happen at Ballu the bear's birthday party. Follow him and Avanti the zookeeper as they get drenched in a rain of fish. The illustrations for the book were part of the #6FrameStoryChallenge from last year and are a whimsical delight! (Pssst... did you know that it's actually rained fish and even spiders in some parts of the world?)

5. ಘಮ ಘಮ ಪಕೋಡ! In English as 'Peacocks and Pakodas'  by Mala Kumar, Manisha Chaudry and Priya Kuriyan

This book is a celebration of all things monsoon, not just pakodas and peacocks as the title suggests. Hot, saffron laced milk, saving rain water, lush greenery and everything else that comes along with the rains. Priya Kuriyan's gorgeous illustrations bring the words alive, you can almost feel the fine spray of rain and smell the just drenched earth. 

Which one is your favourite? Do you have a rain story you want to share? You can create one on StoryWeaver and use some of the gorgeous illustrations in our image bank to help you!

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New series: StoryWeaver Spotlight

Posted by Remya Padmadas on June 15, 2016

Q:  What do you usually read? Which language do you prefer to read in?

Contemporary and also some relatively old Bengali writers - I like to read fiction. I also like to read books which have lot of reference to nature, or books based on history.

I prefer to read in Bangla.

Q: Do you have a favourite book / author and why is it a favourite?

'Aaranyak' by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. When I was small, I learnt to think about nature only after reading this book. Also, it unfolded the godliness of nature to me.

Q: You have contributed to StoryWeaver immensely. How is the journey unfolding for you?

The StoryWeaver journey is thrilling and novel.

Q: Can you share one BIG thing that you have taken away from this experience?

It is toughest to write for children. To do that well, one needs to revisit childhood.

Q: How does it feel when your story gets published online?  

I feel enormous joy to see my name there. Also a great happiness thinking so many young eyes are moving on it :)

Q: You have translated / reviewed a handful of stories for us. Which one has been your favourite and why?

'Reeti and Mithu'. I cried while translating it. Freedom moves me a lot. It also brought back memories of my pet parrot who used to talk and who died suddenly. I was not there with her when that happened and it shook me for a long while. I got to know what death was, for the very first time.


Q: What is your key driver in taking up Bangla translations of children's books?

I feel strongly about language - particularly about my language, Bangla. It means a lot to me - it is not only an expression - rather it has a quantity, a certain depth. Prose written by Bankimchandra is heavier than prose written by Sharatchandra. I feel strongly about stories..and of course, I love to be with my language.

Q:  How else do you think we can join hands in taking bigger steps for children’s literature?

We can encourage children to write a few lines about the stories they read. We can provide them a basic plot and ask them to develop that into a story, help them become story tellers.

Q: How has the overall experience with StoryWeaver been?

স্টোরি উইভারের সঙ্গে কাজ করে অনেক শিখেছি।  কখনো মজা পেয়েছি কখনো নতুন কিছু শিখেছি। মনে মনে একটি শিশু হয়ে যেতে পেরেছি।

My experience with StoryWeaver has been an enriching one - I learnt, I was amused, I felt occupied and most of all, I am happy to read innocent stories.

Q: Whats the secret of behind your truckloads of enthusiasm and super quick response time?

I am generally enthusiastic about everything. Sometimes I think I am not a grown up at all! I still itch to pick up a Pepsi bottle from behind unguarded Pepsi trucks or throw a stone on a clean and shiny window pane!

Sanghamitra Ghosh has translated several stories for us to Bengali, which you can read and enjoy here.

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