Kids & Teens

The first visitor to pavilion put up by India, the guest of honour country at Seoul International Book Fair 2013, was Park Geun-hye, president of the Republic of Korea, who was received by Jitin Prasada, minister of state for Human Resource Development, Government of India. Prasada took her around the India Pavilion, which had a huge replica of Sanchi Gate as the main entrance and also gifted her the first copy of the graphic novel 'Sriratna & Kim Suro: The Legend of an Indian Princess in Korea' published by National Book Trust, the nodal agency for the co-ordination of Guest of Honour programmes at Seoul International Book Fair. Written by N Parthasarathi and illustrated by Soumitra Dasgupta, the book tells the story of the Princess Sriratna marrying King Kim Suro of Korea in AD 48. Together they founded the Gaya Kingdom in Korea. The president showed keen interest in the Buddha sculpture, Buddhist literature and exhibition of books on Mahatma Gandhi. Among the stopovers at the huge India Pavilion spread over 1,000 sq m was a corner dedicated to the books on Indian cinema.

Later, Jitin Prasada, who led the delegation of 40 Indian publishing professionals including many CEOs and MDs of publishing houses, six authors, and senior officials, formally inaugurated the India Pavilion by releasing the above graphic novel and ten books of National Book Trust, translated in Korean language. Speaking on the occasion, Jitin Prasada stated, “I am sure Indian publishers present here will seek opportunity to have strong tie-ups in the field of publishing children literature, digital publishing, Indology and Buddhist literature.” Complimenting the efforts of National Book Trust, India for putting up a ‘magnificent India Pavilion’, he stated, “The range of books that have been put on display, alongwith the colourful posters, have spread very vibrant feelings.”

A Sethumadhavan, chairman, in his welcome speech hoped that the presence of India at SIBF would create a better perception about Indian publishing and literary scene in Korea. While, Vishnu Prakash, ambassador of India to Korea and Eric Yang, executive director, Korean Publishers’ Association also spoke on the occasion. M A Sikandar, director, NBT proposed a vote-of-thanks after a Kathak dance performance organised by Indian Cultural Centre, Embassy of India.

Later in the day, an illustrators’ workshop with 25 Korean children was organised, wherein the children illustrated the story of Geeta Dharmarajan under the supervision of the eminent artist Suddhosatwa Basu.

Shanghai Children's Book Fair to promote copyright trading

The inaugural China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair (CCBF), to be held at the ShanghaiMart Exhibition Centre from November 7 - 9, 2013, will be 'trade only' for the first two days. Day 3 will be open to the public. Managed by Reed Exhibitions and supported by the General Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film & Television, this event is dedicated to the copyright trading, publishing, printing and distribution of content/books aimed at 0 to 16 year-olds.

Home to more than 230 million people under the age of 16, China boasts a flourishing children's publishing sector that is currently valued at USD $5 billion, of which USD $340 million comes from licensing. These figures illustrate why children's books are the most dynamic, competitive and fastest growing sector in China's publishing industry. Between 2011 and 2012 the number of children's publications grew by 35 percent, with 20 percent of total rights sales in China's book industry coming from this segment.

As per Randy Wang, senior project manager at Reed Exhibitions, "Driven by the theme of 'Content Without Borders', CCBF is focused on facilitating closer interaction between local and international industry practitioners. We will be that bridge that connects publishers with copyright traders; authors and their fans. Exhibitors and visitors will, through this platform, discover a huge range of original printed and digital content—books, e-books, educational software and other edutainment products. Our hope is that they will go away wanting more and looking forward to the next CCBF.

"Having this event in Shanghai makes perfect sense. This is one of China's busiest publishing hubs and cultural centers, as well as its innovation and financial core. The timing is particularly appropriate too, with Disneyland Shanghai opening in 2015. This will cement Shanghai's position as China's capital of children's culture and entertainment."

Asia-Pacific's active copyright trading accounts for 20 percent of the global children's book market. The launch of CCBF will do much to better serve and upgrade children's content copyright trading in the region.

A comprehensive collection of on-site events will run concurrent to the fair. These will include The International Children's Book Publishing Summit, The Best Children's Book Award, The International Children's Publication Copyright Trade Summit, The International Children's Book Promotion Events, the International Promotion of Chinese Children's Literature Author Workshops and more. These collocated events and activities will do more than simply enhance the Fair's influence over children's reading culture, the children's publication industry and the market. They will also provide participants with rich opportunities to significantly boost their business; amplify their brand to the market; network and source accurate information.

Singapore International Storytelling Festival (SISF) 2013

The eighth annual SISF will be held from September 2-8, 2013, which includes the one-day Asian Congress of Storytellers on September 6, 2013. SISF 2013 will present a medley of performances and workshops by Singaporean and international storytellers – weaving words, connecting cultures.

This year, the Asian Congress of Storytellers reinforces the use of stories and storytelling techniques in our workplace and our lives. The workshops will explore the diverse use of stories and demonstrate the different ways to use them.

For more info, visit

Get more fun with Purple Turtle on the Android Apps

The cute little character and the kids luxury brand ‘Purple Turtle’ is now closer to its followers through apps on android. The app will keep the followers updated on the latest happenings in the ‘Purple Turtle’s’ world. The Android users can download these apps for free on an operating system of 2.3 and above. The apps are launched under the Books & reference category.

The features in the mobile app will help in socializing the experience, deepening the engagement with fans and personalize the interface for each individual user. NK Krishnanand, national sales manager, Purple Turtle, says, “Consumer expectations are ever evolving and we need to keep in pace with them. Launching the apps on Android is such a step towards fulfilling these evolving expectations. The apps will feature the Purple Turtle’s wonderful world, where everyone can meet him and his friends and can learn with this great group.”

Purple Turtle is a cute character to help children learn in a fun way. Their books and apps have been licensed to USA, UK, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Estonia, and Latvia. They also have a preschool, which provides personalized education and care towards a child. Purple Turtle believes that children are capable and innovative and believes that books play a major role in developing a child brain which leads to overall development of the child.

Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014 call for entries

The Scholastic Asian Book Award is presented biennially for an unpublished manuscript targeted at children aged 6 to 18 years, written by authors of Asian descent, living in Asia, who are 18 years of age and above. The Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014 offers a prize of S$10,000 and will be presented during the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in May 2014.

The closing date for the submission is October 21, 2013.

Lively conversation and discussion, the camaraderie and the coming together of so many minds and hearts to create a reading nation – what more could you ask for? That was how one felt at Pratham Books’ Sabha 2011, a gathering of minds engaged in multilingual books for children, which was attended by more than 100 writers, translators and illustrators. Pratham Books Pratham Books, a not-for-profit publisher that creates quality books for children, definitely needs no introduction. Their mission is to put ‘a book in every child’s hand.’ With 201 titles, 1,300 books, 8 million story books, 8 million story cards…and a readership of 25 million…Pratham Books is indeed working towards its mission.

More recently, they organized Sabha 2011, a gathering of more than 100 writers, translators and illustrators engaged in crafting multilingual books for children. The excitement at the event was infectious – everybody applauding the wonderful work that the authors and illustrators together create.

The keynote address was given by Rohini Nilekani, chairperson, Pratham Books. She raised a point that books need to reach the hands of the children for which platforms need to be built, better libraries need to be set-up – there’s lot to do in this wonderful world of reading books. “Power comes from knowledge, which needs to be transmitted through books,” she added. She also stressed that it is the books that have the ability to create empowered citizens of tomorrow. “And this is possible when children have some joyful stuff to read,” she iterated. Interestingly, Pratham Books has reached 5 million books but this is nowhere where they want to reach. “There are 347 million children in India and we want to reach all of them,” she concluded.

This informative address was followed by a presentation on Pratham Books by Suzanne Singh, managing trustee, Pratham Books. She started off by citing the facts that for 347 million children in India, there are just 15 million books produced by the organized publishers annually. “This is negligible as compared to 30 million books for 12 million children in UK,” she told. Another important point to ponder is that India has 22 languages and 1,600 dialects and the books are predominantly produced in English and Hindi. “There are great gaps in languages, especially Urdu. And this really led the Pratham books seeing a book in every child’s hand. We are working towards democratizing the joy of reading, where every child gets to read,” she added.

It is indeed a feat that Pratham Books started offering books at a rate of Rs 25 seven years back and they still continue to do so. “Ofcourse, we have books that are priced more but those are different kinds of books which need a higher pricing, catering to the needs of both rural and urban children. But, the quality of all books is excellent, the paper used is good quality paper and all the books are produced is minimum five languages. So far, we have covered 11 languages and are adding the 12th language – Malayalam this year. Another feather in the cap would be books on plays, for which hardly any books are available,” added Suzanne. She further told that Pratham Books is always on the lookout for innovations in product, distribution and technology. They even produce a Rs 2 book, which is a four page book with a small story with illustrations and which is a major hit in rural areas. They have also put a bunch of books online, where anybody can download the book and use it. “Hence, without any extra effort, our books have been translated into audio books and Braille as well. Majority of our books posted online have been downloaded in Nepal and used for ‘One laptop per child’ scheme,” told Suzanne proudly.

“As of now, we have a print run of 10,000-15,000 copies for every title we produce and the moment it goes up to 50,000, Pratham Books will become a self-sustainable enterprise. We are able to give books in the range of Rs 2-25 and we would really appreciate if we could bring down the cost to 50 p in future,” she concluded.

Then, there was an interesting panel discussion on ‘Creating joyful and accessible content for new readers,’ moderated by Manisha Chaudhry, head of content at Pratham Books. Rukmini Banerji, trained economist and author of several children books shared her experiences about the learning they got through various activities conducted by Pratham Books. She cited a particular incident where they were given a budget of Rs 10,000 to procure 300-400 books for children and they were not able to spend even half of the amount because the books available in that price segment were very few. “Hence, at Pratham Books, we first focused on the books for early readers. Many books have evolved through our interaction with children,” she told excitedly.

Another panelist Shudhasatva Basu, a well-known illustrator, painter and animator, stressed that though word is the best medium to communicate, visual language is very important to converse with children as it can be imaginative and filled with various emotions like fantasy, irony, humour, etc. He gave a glimpse of many of his illustrations used in books.

Anushka Ravishankar, well-known writer of nonsense verses, shared how as a writer, she creates content for joyful reading. She read out her famous verses ‘Today is my day’ and ‘To market!’ and displayed images of the book for everyone to see and feel the effect of illustrations. She added that it as a joy to create these verses but they became more alive with the excellent work of the illustrators. “Children are more alike than different and anything written with joy will be taken up by all children, whether he is a new reader or not,” she concluded.

Yet another panelist Paro Anand, a writer or children and young adult, who is known for her writings on how terrorism impacts children, told that she started writing animal plays and later when she became a part of ‘Literature in action’ programmes, which goes to villages and interacts with children and donates books, she started writing about the impact of terrorism on children. She cited various incidents which became an inspiration for her books.

This interesting session was followed by an open house where the audience interacted with the panelists on the author-illustrator relationship. While a few authors stressed on the importance of briefing the illustrator about the book, others stressed that when illustrators have a free hand, the creativity is better. A consensus was achieved that there is no thumb rule for it.

Later, Gautam John gave a brief presentation on ‘Creative Commons’ where people can post their content and give restrictive permission to use it. The vote of thanks was given by Sandhya Takshale and marked the end of the energetic and exciting Sabha 2011.

Learn to Play Cricket

Cricket is not just bat and ball; it is a team sport. It started as a children’s game but it became a well established adult sport in the 17th century. In the 18th century, it became the national sport of England. People enjoy the game because of the craze, glamour and the fun involved in it.

India is a cricket loving country – when the popular cricket series are held, people breathe cricket, literally! But, many do not know the nitty-gritty of the game. How the game is played? What are the various positions? What are the various terms used? What is forward defensive? What is helicopter shot? And more….

Learn to Play Cricket addresses these needs of those who wish to play or those who wish to know more about this amazing sport. The book starts with the basics of the cricket then moves on how to play the game. There are batting basics, bowling basics, fielding basic etc. There is also a glossary of cricket terms for novices. Then, there’s a compendium of record holders.

All these information are supported with beautiful lively illustrations so that the readers can actually see what they are reading. You can see how to hold the ball, how to throw it and more….Then, there are tips to choose a cricket bat and a diet chart for a player. In all, it gives complete information to start playing cricket.


Tagore Classics
Publisher: BPI India Pvt Ltd
(Pp 16, ISBN 978-81-4972061, Rs 50)

The book is a part of ‘Tagore Classics’ series, written by Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore. It is a famous story which has been told many times. It is about a little girl Mini who befriends a Kabuliwala and both grow fond of each other. They shared jokes and laughed together. Kabuliwala used to give a handful of dried fruits to Mini every time he met her. But fate had something else in store for Kabuliwala who was jailed for committing a criminal offence. When he returns from jail, Mini is no more a little girl- she’s getting married and she has forgotten his old friend. Each page of the picture has an illustration of the story, which makes the story livelier. Printed in large print, the book will be liked by both children and adults (who would like to read to their children).

The ‘desi’ avatar of Archie

Good news for children who love the famous comic series – Archie but cannot read it in English. They can now read it in Hindi and Malayalam. These desi versions from Archie Comics would be published by Variety Book Depot and distributed by EuroBooks, the leader in children’s book publishing in India. Priced at Rs 30 each, the company plans to launch 12 Archie titles in the first phase and 36 titles within the coming year.

Remote intervention classes for students
- Another initiative towards literacy

Cisco has announced the first pilot project based on Cisco Education Enabled Development (CEED) platform for its Inclusive Growth architecture. This pilot project will deploy specialized remote intervention teaching for two government pre-matriculation social welfare boys hostels in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. To enable implementation of this pilot project, the Government of Karnataka has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Cisco.

The project will be on a Public Private Partnership model where Cisco will deploy its solution and maintain it as a service that includes remote access and support. About 450 students in the two Pre-Matriculation hostels at Vidyanagar and Shikaripura will receive intervention training in English, Math, Social Sciences and Science. Sessions would be conducted after class for these sixth to tenth standard students. Children’s Lovecastles Trust, NGO that specializes in pedagogy and providing access to quality teaching for remote government schools using technology, will deliver these training sessions.

“Through Cisco’s technology, we are able to provide our students in rural areas with supplemental training in core subjects. I’m certain this will enhance the learning experience for both teachers and students and we should be able to attract more students to pursue their studies with facilities like this,” said Chandra Naik, district social welfare officer.

The Hidden Treasure

Tagore Classics
Publisher: BPI India Pvt Ltd
(Pp 16, ISBN 978-81-4972047, Rs 50)

Another book from the ‘Tagore Classics’ series is The Hidden Treasure which revolves around a mysterious treasure hidden in a village called Dharagole. But, what is real treasure? Gold, silver, coins or your family? That’s what the book tries to teach children – it is not the material things that matter! An interesting book with vivid illustrations and beautiful moral!

‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ becomes first e-book to sell one million copies

The opening book of Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, has become what industry experts believe is the first novel to sell more than a million copies in e-book form, The New York Times reports. News of the million mark milestone comes via Knopf books, which is a subsidiary of Random House publishing.

Combined digital sales of the Millennium series, which also includes The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, have so far reached three million, the publisher said. Total sales of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which includes e-books, audio books and printed copies, are maintaining an impressive steady pace of about 5,00,000 copies per month. Hardback covers of the book, which first went on sale in September 2008, have reached a total of about 3,00,000 copies.

Says Sheba Karim, an author of YA fiction in conversation with Varsha Verma.

Q: Tell us something about your book ‘Skunk Girl’ and the response it has received so far?

Sheba Karim: Skunk Girl is about a Pakistani-American teenager in small town USA, trying to forge her own path in life, with a lot of humour and occasional despair. It has received a positive response from readers. The other day, someone sent me a YouTube video of two young students acting out the book!

Q: How was the character and storyline created, is it inspired from the real life?

Sheba Karim: The inspiration from the novel came from a monologue I wrote for Yoni ki Baat, a South Asian version of the Vagina Monologues. While I drew on my own experiences in writing it in terms of challenges and emotions, it’s a work of fiction.

Q: When did you “know” you wanted to write professionally?

Sheba Karim: I always loved writing, but decided to pursue it professionally when I started practicing as a lawyer.

Q: In your opinion, what is the hardest part of writing a book? Why?

Sheba Karim: Undoubtedly revision. It takes a lot of patience and courage to take what you’ve written and make it better, again and again, even if it means rewriting some of it, or even all of it, from scratch.

Q: What factors are kept in mind while writing for young adults?

Sheba Karim: Be honest to your story and your characters. Young adults can spot ambiguities as easily as adults can.

Q: What writing/publishing advice do you give to aspiring writers of any age?

Sheba Karim: Write, write, write. Show your work to a few different people whose opinions you trust and be open to their criticism. Revise, revise, revise. Be prepared for rejection. And, of course, read.

Q: What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

Sheba Karim: Right now I’m reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon and War Horse and Elephant by Simon Digby. Honestly, I’d say almost every half-way decent author you read has some sort of influence on you, whether you realize it or not.

Various books have influenced me in their own ways. One that comes to mind in Karen Armstrong’s wonderful biography of Prophet Muhammad, which eloquently depicts a man revered by many as the embodiment of perfection, he is not only extraordinary but also fallible.

Q: Which is the next book that readers can look forward to?

Sheba Karim: I’m working on a historical fiction novel based on the life of Razia Sultan.