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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

To Tulika, with love

We are deeply touched that people take the trouble to write and tell us how much they love our books and why. It gives us our energy shots!

On Tulika

Every Friday afternoon, in the village of Suviseshapuram, a classroom is transformed into a library. Many of the parents at the Kalnagar Elementary School are scavengers, making their living by picking through garbage and cleaning public toilets. On weekends some of the students work alongside their parents. Mothers started noticing the new library books their children were bringing home. With captivating illustrations and intriguing stories like Gadagada Gudugudu and Vaalameenkku Kalyanam, curiosities rose. One by one, parents with some reading skill started dropping by Kalnagar to see if they could check out books — for themselves. The new libraries are not just for the schools. They are also for the village or the neighborhood—broadening and expanding worlds for their communities.

Jane Koons , ALC School Library Programme in association with HRF (Hippocampus Reading Foundation)


One thing that has emerged in this “repeated reading” of Tulika books with my daughter is that in addition to the story the visuals in these books provide a very rich opportunity to connect experiences in our everyday lives in India with what we are reading. The context of life in India is present in the visuals waiting to be experienced, discovered and made connections to :)

Anita Balasubramaniam, Educationist, Chennai


I am overwhelmed as a mother and a vivid reader myself to see the diverse subjects you have published. The text and the illustrations of every book is eye catching. My daughter loved the books. Thank you Tulika for being so thoughtful for Indian children of today. Our generation unfortunately had to rely only on the foreign authors and Indian literature was mainly limited being regional due to the language bar (like Tagore being read mainly by Bengali kids).
  
Chandrima Pal, Scientist, Pune


The beauty of the edition you created continues to find its way to new languages, new readers, and it is not unrealistic to hope that it will outlive those who created it.

Alice McLerran, writer


Our state wide campaign on spreading the importance of reading for the better  future of children has been successful. With your books we have been able to enhance the reading skills of children in schools and communities... After the campaign children now appreciate the importance of
developing their reading skills.

Suseela, State Co-ordinator - RSEN


For all of us at Bookworm, Tulika books are a staple diet. They are the books we use and use well. They have the stories that allow us to make story telling engaging and learning experiences, they are the books that inform us and show us how a good book should be.

Niju Mohan, Bookworm


FoL (Fountain of Learning) has been working with isolated and neglected schools across Ladakh, towards both the Indo-China and Indo-Pakistan borders to empower children with the gift of education and these books helped provide a better overall quality of reading in these regions.

Deachen Yangdol, Avalokitesvara Trust


The Tulika books are very seductive and beckon loudly from the shop shelves with their vivid colours and imaginative illustrations. They are especially lovely to hold and feel… Apart from the aesthetic appeal, the choice of subjects, the bilingual approach, and the strong links to a 'sense' of India – contemporary, urban, rural and folk – make a very strong case for me to always consider a Tulika title with seriousness!

Anita Roy, Commissioning Editor, Young Zubaan


The Tulika series (Takdir, the Tiger Cub, Lai-Lai, the Baby Elephant) is filling an urgently needed niche. The general public is surprisingly unaware about wildlife issues, and this series could go a long way to programme in Uttaranchal and the tiger book in our programmes in Sundarbans and central India…

Belinda Wright, OBE, Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI)


Marion Sneyd and I purchased two sets of books from you, in both English and Tamil, for the Child Haven International Home in Kaliyampoondi. I wanted to send you this email to thank you for these books and to tell you that the Tulika books are one of the highlights of the library. We were surprised that even the older children loved your books, both the text and the beautiful illustrations.

Susan Ayela, Educator, Canada


Some weeks back I bought your bilingual book THE SEED by Deepa's Balsavar (Tamil translation by Karkuzhali) and enjoyed reading it several times to my three year old grandson Vedant. It is a brilliant production with excellent scripts and pictures.  Last week .... I gave the script to the dancers for poetry appreciation and analysis without revealing the source and the context. The discussion went on for nearly half an hour and everyone agreed that it was a poem and a fit subject for dance!

Sujata Vijayaraghavan, Dancer, Chennai


I recently visited my friend in Berkeley, California. She’d just returned from Chennai and bought a collection of Tulika books for her two daughters.....I too loved the books and immediately checked out your website. I was drawn to your philosophy on children’s books and it was wonderful to see such a great collection of innovative children’s book. I loved reading the profiles of your authors and illustrators and marveled at the awesome talent you have.

Ria Patel, California


It's cause of them [Tulika] that my son just loves Karimuga and Bajrangbali and not chhota bheem.

Rachna Koppikar, Entrepreneur


To me, the treasured moments of my daughter's childhood are the times we spend together pouring over an aesthetic book — mostly Tulika's! Thanks for the happy moments.

Jackie Schimdtke, Oklahoma, USA


We've found your books to be amazing… your books have been part of engaging children in regular enjoyable reading, who otherwise would not be. I feel if more people knew how good Tulika Gujarati books are – more people would buy them.

Gautam and Krutika Patel run a Home Learning Centre


I'm interested in the way certain individuals try to keep the cultural / spiritual / emotional heritage of India alive for coming generations. I see you do that through your publications. Commendable.

Devashish Makhija, Writer, Filmmaker and Director


One weekend when we were visiting some close friends, Amrita got a lovely gift from them… a stack of books published by your firm. And every single book from that collection has taken her on a new journey, especially books like Malu Bhalu, Eecha Poocha and The Runaway Peppercorn, which were her favorites. Now that we are back home, her only connection to those memories are through those books… it also fondly reminds her of  those special cozy afternoons she shared with her grandma telling her similar stories. I am very glad to know that FINALLY there are some books out there, which can make a difference, and more importantly these are books, which our children, here in the USA can relate to. I applaud you for taking this step and putting out such great products…there is obviously a dearth of good and wholesome books/authors for children’s reading. We have a huge, urban, educated middle class in India but pathetically not enough literature is being created for children. Books are typically written to enhance reading skills… but equally important is the need to foster good values, critical thinking and appreciation for our rich folklore and culture in the young minds of our children.

Anuradha Gokhale, Parent


The simple language and the use of just a few lines per page make it a great resource both for reading out to children and for shared reading by the children in class. Apart from this is the high quality of paper and printing which one rarely gets to see in Hindi books.

Amrita Patwardhan, Pune, India


Thank you so much for When Ali Became Bajrangbali -- I enjoyed the book very much, in its play of narrative and image, both very sophisticated (it's the most difficult mandate to achieve that refined simplicity which compresses a great deal and yet conveys pleasure and sense), and in the way it conveyed some profound insights into Indian culture and politics. Congratulations to Devashish Makhija and to Priya Kuriyan.

Ranjit Hoskote, poet and theorist, Mumbai


On newsletters

Your news letters are very refreshingly amazing, nice to see that your books are  a fantasy of childhood imagination  in  this metallic  world of concrete materialism, and plastic emotions, a runaway route from  hard reality.  During my teaching career my writings for children were an escape  route for relaxation.  I have forwarded a manuscript titled FLIGHT TO FANTASY, to you a year back, where animals get into humanised situations to make it hilarious. You are doing a great job, as you are truly opening a   world of fantasy, good wishes and regards to your entire team.  

Soma Banerjee


Thank you very much for your wonderful ideographical newsletter. Highly Commendable! Congratulations also for fast development in educating and reaching the needy and deserving. I feel really happy on seeing new programs and aids for easy educating system.

Basil Pereira, Educator


On birthday packages 

It's been a great experience dealing with Tulika. Great customer service is really rare in India, so you folks really stand out... Once again, both I and my wife are super-impressed by the speed, thoughtfulness and attention to detail from Tulika and we'll wholeheartedly recommend you folks to all our friends :)

Rohin Dharmaprakash, Bangalore

Thank you for the beautifully wrapped books and extra thank you cards and the gift for my daughter, the mom book!!!!! She was so happy and the book is so beautiful. So very thoughtful of you.

Shubha Gajanan, Parent

Friday, January 13, 2017

Tulika in 2016!

JANUARY

We started the year off on a high…

The House That Sonabai Built won The Hindu Young World-GoodBooks Award for Best Book – Non-Fiction, and Gender Talk: Big Hero, Size Zero was announced as an Honour Book in the same category.

Radhika Menon participated in a panel discussion on ‘Inclusion of Specially-abled Children in Children's Literature’, at the New Delhi World Book Fair.


FEBRUARY

We turned 20 and it was Open House at our office! Our family of authors, illustrators, translators and well-wishers trooped in through the day with warm wishes. 

Bhimrao Ambedkar: The Boy Who Asked Why won the Darsana Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Production.

We launched the popular bilingual picture book, Tiji and Cheenu at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

A Bhil Story went back to the Bhils! Children from Rani Kajal Jeevan Shala school, Kakrana village, Madhya Pradesh were delighted to read a book about their own people! 



Our favourite storyteller, Cathy Spagnoli, visited the Tulika Bookstore! This gentle, smiling, spirited and strong lady embodies a storytelling style that is mesmerising, even when she speaks just above a hush!

Mr Sathyanarayanan of Lohit Libraries dropped in. Chief enthusiast in the making of Hambreelmai’s Loom in Mishmi, he never ceases to amaze us with his zeal for getting good books out to children.



Wildlife photographer Bina Kak took her ‘wild’ story, Sultan’s Forest to Bookaroo Jaipur. 

Art educator Vishakha Chanchani conducted an engaging craft session with the multiple award-winning The House That Sonabai Built.

We celebrated World Storytelling Day at JustBooks library, Anna Nagar, Chennai, with a reading of Wings to Fly. With the year’s theme being ‘Strong Women’, this uplifting story was the perfect choice!

With rhythm and rhyme, writer Sandhya Rao chanted, sang and recited poems on World Poetry Day. The children at Redwood Montessori danced to the beat of the drums of Dum Dum Dho!



Our books went LIVE on Worldreader where they’re continued to be read and top the charts in the ‘most read books’ category.

We said ‘Konichiwa’ to the Japanese edition of Who Will Rule?



Our taste bud tantaliser, A Silly Story of Bondapalli, staged by Gillo Gilehri for the first time in Mumbai, played to an overwhelming response!

The popular stand-up book, Home was reprinted in a new avatar.

We launched two e-books, The Why-Why Girl and A Silly Story of Bondapalli on the Juggernaut app.



Australian writer Ken Spillman launched his latest picture book, Clumsy!

Actor Twinkle Khanna, the ambassador for Vidyanjali Yojana, a government scheme to promote reading habits among children picked A Silly Story of Bondapalli for a rollicking read aloud.

Several popular titles were released as multilingual anibooks on YouTube by BookBox. 



Winner of the first Bal Sahitya Puraskar, Just a Train Ride Away, was published in Punjabi!



We created some fabulous handcrafted puppets based on the hit Gajapati Kulapati series.

Spotted at an exhibition by a discerning eye, a striking piece of Warli art, turned into the brilliant book, My Gandhi Story. The same exhibition, Bapu: A Craftperson’s Vision, travelled to Australia, along with the books!

Stephen Huyler’s spectacular photographs of the self-taught artist, Sonabai, in the four-time award-winning The House that Sonabai Built were on display in Columbus, Ohio, USA.



Our engaging Read and Colour Stories were brought back on the shelves.

Film lyricist and Tulika translator Raj Shekhar took two of his books, Pakdo, Pakdo Us Billi Ko and Ruru Raag to Arushi, an NGO in Bhopal, where he recorded the stories for their library. 

Mr Ravi Arora, an IAS officer currently posted at Navsari, Gujarat, conducted a programme to sensitise children towards differently-abled people using the Gujarati edition of Why Are You Afraid To Hold My Hand? 

Illustrator Proiti Roy and animator-filmmaker Nina Sabnani were nominated for the Big Little Book Awards.



Chie Media’s Fundoodaa train of fun got their first lot of Tulika books on board, and you can choo choo choose them in the language you prefer. More anibooks!

The first in our Illustrated Classics series, Our Incredible Cow was nominated for the Crossword Book Awards – Jury Award.

More of our books were published by Oxford University Press, Pakistan. 



Illustrator Krishna Bala Shenoi’s book trailer for Gone Grandmother has been trailblazing the internet. 

Dum Padam Pappadum from the Oluguti Toluguti book of rhymes was published in the Archa Calendar, by the globally renowned International Youth Library in Munich.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

On Gone Grandmother


Author Chatura Rao writes about the launch of Gone Grandmother.


I took Gone Grandmother to the Peek-a-Book Children's Literature Festival that was held in Bandra, Mumbai, on December 10th, 2016. It was my first public reading of this recently-released picture book for 6+ readers.

It is a story about the passing of a beloved grandmother. I hoped the children might respond to it in their characteristic way - with wisdom, humour and empathy. This is not the first tale of loss that I've explored with children. About Grandfathers and Trees is a starkly beautiful story about losing a grandfather, written by my sister Adithi Rao for our short story collection, Growing Up in Pandupur. I've read this story with children at creative writing workshops. They've received it with wonder.

I read out Gone Grandmother at the Peek-a-Book fest, only a little nervous. About forty adults and children had assembled. The children ranged from under-tens to 14-year-olds, the latter from the Allana English School in Kurla.

While I read, a volunteer projected slides showing Krishna Bala Shenoi's vibrant illustrations. The children listened quietly, almost sorrowfully, when I told them how Nina's grandmother - her Nani - had left suddenly one day. They seemed to understand how lonely Nina felt while skipping now that Nani, who used to count her skips, was gone. They giggled at the lists Nina made - Ways to Get to the Stars and Ways to Find God's Home. They appreciated Krishna Shenoi's simple line drawings that accompanied these lists, drawings that they might have made themselves, had they been Nina!

As the story drew to a close, I explained that in nature everything comes to an end: trees wither, rivers empty and dry up, even mountains crumble to dust. True? The children nodded wisely. I was aware that although we were of various religious faiths there in that room, and each religion explains death a little differently from the other, natural science is common to us all.

I explained how I came to write this story: when my grandmother passed away last February, a child in the family had asked her mother where Nani had gone. To the stars, her mother had replied. The little girl wanted to know how that was even possible, given that Nani was no featherweight!

If I could make a story based on a loved one and an incident, couldn't my young readers do it too? Immediately five or six children raised their hands, eager to tell about a favourite person in their lives and what happened ''one time'' with that person.

A little girl called Misha told about her turtle, Mitch, who eats a lot.

Ananya told about her best friend who once drew random circles that Ananya laughed at, but which, surprisingly, grew into a piece of art that their teacher put up for all to see.

One tiny girl took the mic and simply stated that her grandma had died in a car accident before she ever knew her and that her mother hadn't told her any stories about her yet.

Then, bespectacled, shyly smiling Fauzia from Allana English School, stood up. ''I was very close to my grandfather,'' she said slowly. ''He would drink cold water although the doctor had said he should not. I knew about this, though nobody else did. A few hours before he had the heart attack that took him, he drank cold water. I didn't tell anyone...'' A shadow darted across her face.

Are you sorry or glad you didn't tell? I prodded gently.

''A bit of both,'' she replied, smiling a little sadly. ''It was our secret till the end.''

With that line Fauzia's incident became a story for us, her listeners. And perhaps a story to help her begin to make sense of the feelings all mixed up in her.

In the face of loss all we can really do is gather the memories, spread them out and play with them for a time. We reinvent them as stories in the glow of love remembered. The children I met made the shift from memory to story quite easily. Discussing Gone Grandmother with them was truly a special experience, a generous sharing.

I hope Gone Grandmother reaches plenty of small ears, and the pages of this book are marked by many sets of little fingerprints in time to come!