Saturday, February 16, 2019

Karadi Tales Shortlisted For London Book Fair International Excellence Award

Ahead of the 48th annual London Book Fair, the shortlist for the International Excellence Awards for publishers has been announced. Chennai-based children’s publishing house Karadi Tales has been shortlisted for the Audiobook Publisher of the Year Award on the basis of its high-quality content and its partnership with the Karadi Path Education Company.

Karadi Tales is an award-winning independent children’s book publishing house that was founded in 1996. Its picture books and audiobooks have been on prestigious lists such as The New York Public Library’s Best Children’s Books, White Ravens, IBBY, the Amelia Bloomer list and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program, and have sold translation rights around the world. Karadi Tales was a pioneer in the children’s audiobook industry in India, with stories narrated by acclaimed theatre and film personalities, and set to professionally performed music.

Karadi Path was founded in 2010 as Karadi Tales’ partner company with the aim of bridging the cavernous English literacy gap in India by using stories and immersive learning. The award-winning Karadi Path pedagogy saw exponential success and is now part of the curriculum in over 3000 schools, benefiting over half a million students, many of whom are at the bottom of the income pyramid, with limited access to English language learning tools. All Karadi Path programmes feature content from Karadi Tales.

Karadi Path has partnered with the Indian Government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, The State Council of Educational Research and Training, and schools for tribal children, girl children, and minorities, and has been recognized by USAID and the San Francisco-based Project Literacy Lab for its effectiveness in environments with limited infrastructure and for first-generation English learners.

The Karadi Tales-Karadi Path business model is a unique one that brings high-quality, low-cost products to those who need it most, and has been recognized for its innovativeness in this sector.

Every year, the London Book Fair sees participation of over 25,000 publishing professionals from around the world. The LBF International Excellence Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 in The Conference Centre, Olympia, London.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Interview with Chitra Soundar - Author of the Beloved Farmer Falgu Series

Chitra Soundar is the author of the much-loved Farmer Falgu series. She hails from India, resides in London, and lives in imaginary worlds woven out of stories. She has written over twenty books for children, ages 3 - 10. Here, she talks about what inspired the Farmer Falgu books, and the creative choices she made while writing the series.

How did you decide which festivals and events Farmer Falgu would attend from the many options available?

When the first two books of Farmer Falgu were published, I created many activities for Sankaranthi, the harvest festival. That’s when I discovered the kite festival that happens in Rajasthan during this time and hence I thought it would be fun for Farmer Falgu and his daughter to fly kites.

Farmer Falgu is ever the optimist, why do you think that’s important to have a character like that in children’s literature?

Farmer Falgu takes after my grandmother and her advice for me as a child – always see the positive side of things. As a child, I grew up thanking about my blessings than worrying about what I didn’t have. Children who learn resilience at a young age are able to cope with disappointments better and they will keep trying until they achieve their goal. Telling this in stories will help children understand through another character without preaching to them.

In Farmer Falgu Goes to the Kumbh Mela, was it a conscious decision to show him being kind even when it meant losing out on something he'd been looking forward to?

I think in today’s world we all need to think outside our own needs. Farmer Falgu cannot walk past someone who has fallen down or is lost, just to get to his destination. That’s not the kind of person he is. It actually has the underlying motto from Bhagavad Gita – Do your duty, do not expect results. And that’s what he does too. A hero is someone who is kind and courageous despite the outcome and not because of the outcome and hence for me Farmer Falgu is kind and considerate first and foremost.

And finally, did you always want Farmer Falgu to be a series or had you only planned for one book initially?

At first it was only one story I sent to Karadi Tales. And then the second one came to me and Karadi Tales agreed to publish it. The series idea was from Shobha, our publisher who loves Farmer Falgu as much as I do and wanted more stories for him.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Awards, Awards, and More Awards!

It’s been a great season for us at Karadi Tales when it comes to awards. Several of our titles were nominated, and quite a few were winners.

The Clever Tailor by Srividhya Venkat, illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath won the Peek-A-Book Children’s Choice Award in the 5 to 6 age category, while 8563 by Soumitra Ranade and Rudradutt Ranade illustrated by Ambika Sambasivan was nominated in the 11 to 12 years category!

Thukpa For All by Praba Ram and Sheela Preuitt, illustrated by Shilpa Ranade has been selected for the 2019 IBBY list of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. It is our second book to be featured on this list, the first being the audiobook version of Little Vinayak, which was featured on the 2013 list. The IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) are a non-profit organization whose mission it is to promote international understanding through children's books, give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards, and encourage the publication and distribution of quality children's books, especially in developing countries.

For the third year in a row, one of our books won the Jarul Book Award. Papa’s Marathon by Nalini Sorensen, illustrated by Prashant Soni was this year’s winner, and Sadiq Wants to Stitch by Mamta Nainy, illustrated by Niloufer Wadia was nominated. The Jarul book award is a children’s choice award which makes this even more special. Children from kindergarten to grade five are given a chance to read and vote for the best book. Previous titles of ours that have won this award are The Night Monster (2017), and Dada’s Useless Present (2018).

Farmer Falgu Goes to the Market has been featured in the 2019 USBBY Outstanding International Book List! It is our second book to make it to the list, the first being The Blue Jackal which made it to the 2017 Outstanding International Book List. Every year, USBBY’s Outstanding International Book committee sits down to select books that represent the best of children's literature from countries other than the US that exhibit a distinct cultural flavour, have artistic and literary merit, and qualities that engage and appeal to children. It is a huge honour for our book to be included on this prestigious list.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Behind the Scenes of "Something's Moving"

Have you ever wished you could swing like a monkey, glide like a swan, or bound like a deer? Author Daya Subramanian tells us what inspired her lovely poetry in our recently launched picture book "Something's Moving". Featuring stunning folk art by Anusha Sundar, the book features the various movements of animals, and has been praised by reviewers as having 'delightful verses' (Booked For Life) and being 'a beautiful book to read aloud' (Myth Aunty).

Read on to find out what talented author (and member of Karadi Tales' editorial team) has to say about her writing process!

Have you always been interested in poetry?

Yes, I have, but I had never tried writing poems or rhymes before Shobha (Viswanath, Publisher – Karadi Tales) asked me to give it a try.
My undergraduate degree was in English Literature and Poetry was my favourite subject. Deconstructing poems is so fascinating to me. I was a big fan of Robert Browning’s poems – I got hooked on to them after studying My Last Duchess when I was in 10th grade. I have a couple of other stories in mind and I can’t imagine writing them in anything other than verse now - I think anything sounds better in verse!

Why animals, why movements – how did this story come about?

Shobha showed me some completed illustrations of animals done beautifully in Indian folk-art style. Anusha Sundar, an intern at Karadi Tales at the time, had drawn them and put them together. Shobha asked me to try and think of some text to go along with it – it could be a story or just a child observing various animals. She gave me complete freedom to decide how I wanted to write it – the only thing was it had to be about animal movements and include a verb for each animal. For instance, ‘bound’ for deer, and ‘slither’ for snake. I decided to have a child fascinated by animals narrate how much she wished she could move like them. I for one am definitely reminded of our human limitations every time I think of how fast a cheetah can run or how high a bird can fly. So I guess that is reflected in the book.  

What are some other books that are cooking in your mind?

I want to write a book about a child who keeps getting lost in daydreams (because this is a problem I’ve had my entire life!) She daydreams about living underwater with whales during biology class and being able to make herself invisible and create mischief while she is at a boring party. I think her extremely wild imagination might make for some nice illustrations too.

Any advice for aspiring children’s book authors?

As this is my first book, I don’t know if I’m experienced enough to give advice! But going by my childhood experience of reading and loving books (and my limited experience working in a children’s publishing house) I’d say don’t dumb down the text for children. And if there are a couple of words they don’t understand, that’s alright, it can be used as an opportunity to learn the word. A three-year-old child might not know what ‘tranquil’ means but they might understand what it means based on the context.
Also, take constructive advice when it is given to you by someone with experience in children’s publishing and be willing to modify your story a bit!

The book "Something's Moving" can be purchased through this link: