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Read India, Pratham Books

19 November 2009 5,673 views 4 Comments

Written by: Rashmi S

Read India initiative By Pratham Books

Read India initiative By Pratham Books


The Read India initiative by Pratham Books is an inspiring social entrepreneurship project. They are a non-profit trust claiming to produce high-quality and affordable children’s books in many Indian languages. Very much walking their talk, most of their books are in the Rs.15 – Rs.25 price range. Do not be fooled by the price, the books are on high quality paper and print, with bright and colorful illustrations(especially the 3-6 and 7-10 years age groups).
The inside of the back cover in most of their books features a kid with a love for reading. What more, they have digitized a whole bunch of their books and it is free for preview. Do check it out and DO buy if you can afford – http://www.scribd.com/people/documents/128645-pratham-books

We were so impressed with the books, we ended up buying a whole lot for the kids. Tulika books have been an absolute favorite with the kids, but the Pratham Books seem to have over taken them for the moment ;) It sure is easy on the wallet.

To my 2 year old, the top favorite from the lot we bought is “See You Tomorrow”. This is for the 3-6 year age groups. (Note: These books are read in rural areas, so I am guessing that the published age group on the conservative side. You could easily do the 3-6 age group books for the 2 – 4 year olds and the 7-10 age group books for the 4-8 year old’s).

See You Tomorrow By Pratham Books

See You Tomorrow By Pratham Books


Title:  See You tomorrow
Author/Illustrator:   Tanya Luther Agarwal and Partho Sengupta
Age Group:   2-4 years
The first read of this reminded me of the Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do you See series by Eric Carle and Bill Martin. In terms of the repetitive sentence with just the subject changing in each page.
“See you tomorrow, peacock”..
“See you tomorrow, frog”..
and so on..
Few times into reading the book, my little one now opens it up and reads it by herself.
Sometimes, she repeats “See you tomorrow, frog.. See you tomorrow, elephant..”. Sometimes it is “Bye bye, elephant.., bye bye frog.. ”
The illustrations are simply beautiful with minute details taken care of. Even the last page where the mother calls his friends in for breakfast, has the right food pictured for the animals. My little one says – mokkey eating banana, cow eating grass, peacock eating.. YUCK!(Lizard that is).

The one’s topping my 5 year old’s fav list are the “City of Stories” and “One Green Drop”.
Title:  City Of Stories
Author/Illustrator:   Tanya Luther Agarwal and Partho Sengupta
Age Group:   4-10 years

City Of Stories By Pratham Books

City Of Stories By Pratham Books


Honestly, I am tired of reading this book. I read it at least 10 times in the first 2 days of acquiring it. My 5 year old is too young to read it herself, but this one is such a super hit for her, that she can’t seem to get enough if it. The story is about a city where people are so busy, that a little girl is struggling to find one soul who would tell her stories. Didi not only comes to the rescue, but her story telling spreads and slowly and slowly the city gets addicted to telling and listening to stories. Such that life other than stories comes to a halt and the mayor decides to take action, and summons Didi and the little girl.
What happens next?

What happens next?
That is for you readers to find out by reading it yourself ;)
Some of the references are so colloquial, it brings back nostalgic memories. Like the doodhwaala’s illustration, where he is sitting down with the aluminum milk can. The “bhajjiwala” stops selling bhaji’s and many such references.


Title:  One Green Drop
Author/Illustrator:   Benita Sen and Baaraan Jilal
Age Group:   4-8 years

One Green Drop By Pratham Books

One Green Drop By Pratham Books


I fell in love with this book more than my daughter. Bold colors, beautiful illustrations, especially the cute grasshopper(see, I am calling the grasshopper “cute”, that must say something) with the most beautiful eyes, and a sweet little smile.
A nice matching game of the insects and their colors at the end of the book was the highlight for my daughter.


Next in the to-own queue is Handmand in India and the Once Upon an India series. Previewed the book here. Just too good. I HAVE TO BUY this one. Take a peek here.
Could not find the book preview for the Once Upon an India series, but an excellent blog post on this here.


More information on Pratham Books:

Browse / Order
Their 2009 Catalog
Website

!! HAPPY READING !!

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4 Comments »

  • Gautam said:

    Thank you so much for your kind words and reviews… We love hearing from our readers!

  • Rashmi S (author) said:

    @Gautam: Thanks for the comment. It was my pleasure to review the wonderful books. Making quality books and reading material available to rural kids, especially in the backward Northern India has been my dream. It’s was just natural for me to fall head over heels at the Read India project.
    So, thank you once again and hope to see the project getting more visibility across India.

  • Gautam said:

    You might be interested in what we did in Bihar as well…

    http://blog.prathambooks.org/2009/01/pratham-books-bihar-reading-improvement.html

  • Rashmi S (author) said:

    Gautam, thanks for the link. I had read this blog post some time back and the recent one in Bangladesh. You’ll are doing an awesome job. As I said, I have my own plans, a little different, but the ultimate goal is the same. Too many commitments as of now, but I hope my plans will materialize sometime in near future.

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