Kids & Teens

Twelve years old writes a book!

On the occasion of Teachers' Day, Sapna Book House organised the release of Jaka in Kakoon, a book by 12-year-old author J Manaswini from Coimbatore. She is a class eight student of BVM Global School @ Karpagam campus. The book talks about how the world would be in the next century. Talking about the book, chief guest of the event, Dr Manivannan, writer and professor, Tamil Department, Govt. Arts College, Ooty said, “Reading and writing are taking a backstage in this era of technology. It is interesting to see how a young author has managed to create an interesting story in just 35 pages.”

Dr Eric Miller, founder and director, World Storytelling Institute, who was also present on the occasion said, “I found Manaswini’s book to be a science fiction as it involves a time machine. While at the same time, it also presents a viewpoint about today’s education.” He also added that writing is a very heavy responsibility. Speaking on the occasion, Manaswini revealed that she has been writing from the age of seven. “I mainly did so to present my point of view. But now I don’t want to merely write books. I would like to inspire people to write too.” Jaka in Kakoon is published by Sapna Ink, an imprint of Sapna Group.

–Janani Rajeswari S

Open source platform for children stories!

Pratham Books weaves a new chapter in children's publishing with the launch of StoryWeaver (www. This open source digital platform launched on International Literacy Day (September 8, 2015), features 800 stories in 26 languages and has a rich image bank of over 2000 images. All openly licensed, all completely free.

Suzanne Singh, chairperson, Pratham Books said, “Pratham Books believes that every child should have equitable access to good quality reading material in her own language. By openly licensing our content, we’re giving all our storybooks– to the children of India, and the world. Not just for now, but for generations to come.”

To mark the launch of the platform, Pratham Books has launched its “Weavea- Story” campaign where leading children’s authors, Anushka Ravishankar, Soumya Rajendran, Rukmini Banerjee and N Chokkan have written special stories for children. Priya Kuriyan, Soumya Menon, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan have brought these stories to life. StoryWeaver has invited the community to translate these stories. 100 new versions are expected from the 4 original stories.

365 Fairy Tales

Publisher: Dreamland Publications, New Delhi
(Pp 200, ISBN 978-93-5089-919-9, Rs 400)

Kids love fairy tales – the magical world of prince and princesses, witches and ogres, giants and dwarfs, and fabulous animals – that excite and inspire young minds. This book is a collection of 365 fairy tales – one each for every day of the year.

Beautifully printed on art paper, with an illustration for each story, the book is a delight for all. Parents can read a bedtime story to their children every day or let their child read it as there are short stories. Children will simply love it and be happy to be in the fantasy land!

The Leading Reading Schools of India Awards 2016

Gen-Next, are the future leaders of the land. Unfortunately, the books they read, that is, if they read, are more west-oriented, hence children are not aware of our rich heritage – be it, flora and fauna, the folk arts, arts and crafts and so on. This, disconnect in their all-important formative years, leads to a complete disregard for issues that will impact not only their own lives but future generations as well. For instance, only if children have read a story and connected with forests or wildlife, say a rhino, at an emotional level, will he or she want to protect them from wanton destruction when they are adults.

Young India Books has initiated an award programme, The Leading Reading Schools of India Award two years ago. This year, the theme for the award is You be the judge! The idea is to see children become critical thinkers by digging into a book and analysing the characters, settings, plot and other story elements to elicit their understanding of the book. Critical thinking will help children make the best of their academic life and future career. Children will read a book, rate it and review it.

There will be three categories: The Leading Reading School of India Award for the five best schools based on the following criteria: best practices in inculcating good reading habits in children, quality of work of the participants, and enthusiasm evinced by the school for the competition; Junior Judge Award for outstanding works by students; and Children’s Choice Book Award for the most popular books The themes covered and chosen by, will cover a range of topics, namely, fiction and non-fiction that include historical, fantasy, animal fantasy, adventure, educational, etc.

For more information, log on to

The Kaurava Empire Vol 3

The Loaded Dice of Shakuni
Author: Jason Quinn
Illustrator: Sachin Nagar Publisher: Campfire, New Delhi
(Pp 112, ISBN 978-93-81-182154,
US$ 12.99)

When you pick up a book from Campfire, you are sure to find excellent graphics and gripping script and this book is no exception. The tales of Mahabharata are timeless and have been retold many times. In this volume, readers can know more about Shakuni, the evil man who manoevered Kauravas into hating Pandavas in order to revenge against the Empire.

As a child, Shakunihad been eye-witness to death of his father and loved ones and he vowed to take revenge against all those who caused the pain. He spent all his life trying to revenge against them and became the cause for the greatest civil war- Mahabharata. Though his actions cannot be approved, but reader gets a new perspective to Shakuni’s actions.

- Varsha Verma

A spooky night on Halloween by Comic Con India!

Donning horns smeared with zombie make-up and wearing Dracula capes, the party-loving fans could be seen at their “creepiest-best”, as they all geared up for Halloween night at the Goosebumps Halloween Party at Sante Bar organised by Comic Con India in Mumbai.

The fans were seen enjoying in the latest costumes inspired by movie and comic characters. The food menu was specially designed to suit this occasion. Drinks like Praying Mantis, Werewolf were the special highlight of the party.

Also, a special screening of the unseen Footage from the movie Goosebumps, was organised for fans at the party.

Besides, an action packed Mumbai Film and Comic Con 2015 entertained the audience at Bombay Exhibition Centre from December 19-20,2015. Comic Con India is part of the Reed Pop family of events, which is dedicated to producing world-class celebrations of popular culture around the world with events like New York Comic Con, Oz Comic Con, Shanghai Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration among many others.

The tales of the unknown

Name: Pradyumna Son of Krishna
Author: Usha Narayanan
Publisher: Penguin,
Price: Rs 299.00 Pradyumna: Son of Krishna is a book that traces the life of a lesser known hero whose story is captivating. Pradyumna was everything his father Krishna was, val iant Arjuna was, indeed making him an unsung hero. From a wayward youth who indulges in materialistic pleasures, Pradyumna transforms into a warrior prince as the mystery surrounding his birth unravels.

The story is set at the beginning of the Kal Yuga. Pradyumna played a key role in heralding the Yadava clan. Packed with details and nuances, the pace of the book does not slow down. Pradyumna is a multi-faceted youth and presented the reincarnation of Lord Kama (God of Love). In this book, his life is essentially torn between slaying asuras and battling the never ending ploys of his jealous step-mother and step-brother.

Relationships play a vital role in the story as each one of them is multilayered. Be it Pradyumna the lover, the friend, son or the warrior, he excels in each part. The book also traces the course of Mahabharatha and how the outcome of the war led to the Yadava clan being cursed to doom.

The book leaves the readers to ponder about how the sequel will bring out the contributions of Pradyumna to his clan. The book is a peek into mythology and oscillates between a serious and light tone from time to time. A sure way to keep the reader hooked to the plot.
- Janani Rajeswari S

The Web Trail

Author: Dr Ira Saxena;
Publisher: Virtuous Publications, New Delhi;
(ISBN: 9789350316320)

Dr Ira Saxena’s latest book, The Web Trail, is a young-adult detective novel which is set against the background of cyberspace and international terrorism. Young adult fiction in India is making headway since it reflects the concerns of the specific age-group which is quite distinct from that of children’s literature.

The Web Trail is the third of a trilogy of detective stories by the author – the others being Caught by Computer and The Virus Trap, both of which feature computer technology and the future of computing. Since young adults are involved in the field of computer programming and interested to know how technology can be used as well as misused, and also how they too can contribute to catching thieves and terrorists in a mind game. Little violence is shown here to disgust the reader - the most horrifying scene is that of the deadly a virus swallowing up vital data. The net becomes the haunt of secret terrorist organisations which pass on illegal money through the network, under the cover of universities, authorised financial networks and even the Border Security Force.

The protagonists are Anshuman and his friends, the Cygma gang - all smart, spunky, twelfth standard ‘screenagers,’(as the author puts it), who are computer science students of a New Delhi school. Exploring in Cyberia, the private computer chamber of Anshuman’s uncle, Deepak, they stumble across a huge money transaction by an unknown company, UT International, which, on investigation, turns out to be a terrorist organisation.

The pace of the action accelerates when a spate of bomb attacks on the capital begins. Instead of secret passages, the Cygma gang discovers secret pathways on the internet, and their weapons of offense and defence are constructed by themselves. As in conventional detective fiction, the presence of adults is limited.

Of particular note is the use of computer terms, jokes and the coinage of new words. The Cygma gang, true geeks that they are, translate everything into the lingo close to their heart. Siddhartha even swears “By my Pentium chips!” Manas jokes that the trinity of the computer era are System Installation (Brahma), System Maintenance (Vishnu) and System Upgrade (Shiva)!

However, keeping in mind readers who might not be very knowledgeable about computers, the author, who, astonishingly, does not have a technological background, explains in the course of the story computer terms progressing from the simplest to the most advanced, thus adding educational value to the story. The use and appeal of the book is further enhanced by the warnings against cyber/mobile snooping.

The book is a laudable contribution to the body of young-adult literature since it falls under a rare sub-genre which may be termed tech-detective fiction. It portrays educated and empowered young adult characters is a healthy and realistic manner, enables their participation in the defence of the nation is a practical way, and demonstrates the triumph of brain over brawn. The book, which is contemporary in themes and characterisation, makes an interesting, informative and thrilling read both for the young and the young at heart. - Dr Shobha Ramaswamy, assistant professor, Department of English (Aided), Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore.

Do institutions really give enough time to publishers to promote their titles? Is content development really so vital in the wake of so many unethical competition from the trade controlling school books business? Should publishers continue to increase the price of books so that they are in a position to meet the unfair demands prior to prescription? These are just a few issues which Raghu Ramakrishnan Aiyar, executive senior vice president, Amity University Press ponders, in conversation with Varsha Verma. The challenges…

While, the pre-primary and primary segment for the publishing industry is growing continuously, there are a few challenges which the industry is facing. Publishers like Amity University Press, are constantly striving to meet these challenges by not succumbing to unethical trends; but offering value-based content books.

It is a long journey, the birth of a book. From manuscript stage to CRC, the book goes through various stages of evolution including the ultimate one of review at the semi final stage. Costs involved are – cost of book making, royalty to the authors, illustrators, designers, etc. The costing also includes man hours put in by the experts in the field. Every book of every publisher goes through these stages. “But, the point of issue is all these efforts become an exercise in futility when it falls in to the wrong hands at the decision making stage. It is a pity,” points out Aiyar. “Books should be accepted by institutions purely on merit on its content development,” avers Aiyar. For this, the decision makers and the influencing members of the institutions should sit more with the publishers to get to know the titles better. Trade and the commercial aspects should come in only later after the merit is well recognised. “Unfortunately the reverse is happening, not enough time is being given to the publishers,” points out Aiyar.

The trade & the publishers...

Raghu Ramakrishnan AiyarThe trade unfortunately understands only one language – discount and more discount. Merit in their hands is a useless tool. Monitory aspect gets the preference. Most often the publishers increase the MRP to meet the unjustified demands of providing more discount. But, this is no solution. It cannot work always. Sooner or later justification will have to be given up to higher ups at the government level where, even now the high price factor of private publishers is being scrutinised seriously," he adds.

“Again, academic publishing is the only industry where publishers have to wait for anywhere between 120-150 days to realise the payments from the trade. The excuse for this is that the trade is not able to realise the payment from institutions on time. This is an ongoing task, year-after-year,” protests Aiyar. “The payment comes in bits and pieces and the final dues are settled only after the trade gives the unsold books as, ‘returns’.

This percentage of returns in many cases exceeds the industries norm of 10 percent. And, in most cases when the books reach the warehouse of the publishers, the wear and tear is total,” exclaims Aiyar. The demand of the trade can be frustrating – CD (Cash Discount) for early payment, TOD (Turnover Discount), if the sales increase the certain quantum, high returns etc.

etc. etc. Not withstanding all these travails traditional publishers like AUP survive grandly. Joining the traditional publishers are a new crop of young entrepreneurs who are equally very clear on merit based books over ‘Monitory Induced Practices’. This is good news and a great happening, urges Aiyar. In this list is also included the foreign participation in the Indian Academy Publishing scene.

Young parents...

Another important aspect is that young working parents are now equal players in the formative years of their children. They are spending more time in upliftment of their children. “In this segment, parents are not bothered about price. They are looking for value-based and content-based books. They want well-produced book with high content. This is a good step as they are now keen on complete education at home front as well. This will help schools in the long run,” opines Aiyar.

What’s good about our education system?

The all-round evaluation of a child is a recommendable step in our present education system. “The CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) is a good move and schools are encouraging sports in a big way.

Even though children may miss a few classes, they are taken care of by the school. This is making children more confident, assured and forthcoming,” opines Aiyar. “Academic publishing has come of age and it is growing, notwithstanding the fact that epublishing is making foray. The printed and digital form will complement each other as e-publishing will take a long time to sync in as there is no adequate infrastructure for the same,” tells Aiyar.


Amity University Press (AUP) is making a steady progress, for which North being their flagship territory, as their headquarter is based in Delhi. “Last year, we saw good growth in South and we are coming up with marketing bases in this region this year. Brand Amity, undoubtedly, is helping in a big way,” informs Aiyar. “We are adding 66 new titles this year in subjects like English, Science, Maths and General Knowledge.”

On asking about their plans for regional publishing, Aiyar replies that it is definitely on cards for regions like West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc to cater to the syllabi of the state government.

Besides, they are also looking at another product mix – the translation series, which will have stories from various states with folklores attached to it. “We are also planning short stories on Nobel prize winners of the country, to be included in core textbooks,” he says.

With so much still in store, AUP is sure to scale further heights in offering content-rich books to the Indian education industry.

National Book Trust, India organised a workshop on ‘Developing Books on Yoga for Children and Young Readers’ in the run up to the celebrations of the first International Day of Yoga on June 21 as declared by the UNO. The workshop was held at NBT Conference Hall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi on June 19, 2015. “I am pleased to connect with health, peace and reading,” said Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman director, United Nations Information Centre for India and Bhutan, the guest of honour on the occasion.

Talking about the benefits of Yoga, she said, “Stress is chronic in this age. Physical inactivity leads to lifestyle diseases like Cancer. Yoga helps in bringing peace of mind and health.” She felt that books are powerful medium to make people aware about benefits of Yoga. She also delivered the message of Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general, UNO on the occasion.

Prof Ramesh Bijlani, eminent Yoga scholar was the chief guest on the occasion. In his keynote address, he said, “Yoga has a set of techniques to give mental peace and health.” He added that asanas, pranayam are the visible aspects of the Yoga but it has invisible aspects, too, which make us realise that we are not the doers but we are instrumental of spiritual guidance. He opined that combination of these aspects is necessary while writing for children.

Earlier, Dr M A Sikandar, then director, NBT, India welcomed the guests. He said that he does Yoga in the morning as it is stress-buster. He also informed that Yoga will be the theme of the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair and there will be focus on children also.

The workshop brought together Yoga s chol a r s , children authors, artists, child psychologists, editors and book production specialists for brainstorming sessions and suggested a road-map for publishing suitable illustrated books on the subject for the target age-group by the Trust.

Comic Con India hosted country’s first ever and the most iconic ‘BATMAN’ themed party of the year in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad to celebrate the awesomeness of the character. In Hyderabad, Comic Con India hosted ‘Batman Celebration Night’ on July 23, 2015 at Heart Cup Coffee. It was aweinspiring for the fans to be a part of an event that has never occurred in the city ever before.

The entire programme not just witnessed numerous cosplayers but the whole place was filled with fans dressed in Black with yellow emblem flaunting on their chests. With music played from all the previous Batman movies and games & activities inspired from the Batman franchise, it seemed that the place somewhat was transported to the fictional city of Gotham.

Jatin Varma, Founder, Comic Con India, shared, “The Batman Celebration Night with Random House India was a lot of fun! We hope all fans had a great time, we know we certainly did! We'll be back soon with more such events!”

The bar was decorated in the most iconic Batman style with special drinks made which were named after Batman characters, hence the club saw large number of nonempty hands of the attendees throughout the event. Two round of drinks were on the house for those who were in proper Batman Cosplay and a single round was on for the ones who were wearing Batman T-shirts. The event indeed was a delightful experience for enthusiastic fans.