Sunday, September 25, 2011

For International Girl Child Day-Collaborative Children's Book Written and Illustrated by Women

 In two days, five authors, four illustrators, three translators — all women have written what might just be, India's fastest collaborative children's book, ever.
Pratham booksIn celebration of International Girl Child Day (September 24), Pratham Books invited four authors (all of them women) to write a book in just two days.

Pratham Books is a not-for-profit organization that publishes affordable children’s books in multiple Indian languages.

The story was to revolve around a girl protagonist. The authors typed their stories into an online collaborative document which had been shared among the participating authors, illustrators, and translators. This document had, in turn, been embedded into their new website. To showcase it live, they used auto-refresh in Javascript. Therefore, the entire scenario was pretty much “live”.

To be true to Pratham Books' essence, the story had to be multilingual – so they got it translated in Hindi, Kannada and Marathi too.  Since the translators could also see the story online they could start their translations as soon as the story came up.  The illustrations were uploaded live too, as work in progress.

This is how it worked.

On September 22, Roopa Pai started the author marathon.  Subhadra Sengupta and Anita Vachharajani continued the author marathon the next two days. Mala Kumar concludes the author marathon on September 23.

The story created over the two-day period was used in storytelling sessions across the country on September 24 for  International Girl Child Day.

Pratham Books’ Champions (storytelling volunteers) will also conduct sessions at orphanages, government schools, community libraries across the country including Bangalore.

So far they have had about 18 volunteers sign up for this from different parts of the country — Nagaland, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Vadodara, Delhi, Bhopal and others.

 Suzanne Singh, managing trustee, Pratham Books says, “We hope that many girls can be inspired by the work of the wonderful women authors and the story that we create. We believe every child, girl or boy, should have a childhood full of good books that open windows to the world. That is why we publish the books in so many languages and also allow free downloads of many of our books.”

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