Monday, October 31, 2011

Notes from Frankfurt

Now that you know how we got there, here are some notes from the actual book fair!

The Frankfurter Buchmesse, as the Frankfurt Book Fair is known, is the largest trade fair for books in the world, attracting around 300,000 visitors each year. The book fair is over 500 years old, the earliest fair being held by local German booksellers soon after the invention of the Gutenberg press. It's a centuries' old tradition and we were delighted to be a part of the book fair once again. 

I think our annual trips to these book fairs are propelled by a search for beauty - beautiful books, beautiful places and beautiful people. Of course, it's business as usual, and our days are jam-packed with meetings to discuss translation rights and distribution deals and foreign licenses. We met publishers from all over the world for a week that was as populated with serious discussion as it was with fun and revelry.

Our books met with much interest, and that's always gratifying to note. We had pinned up gorgeous posters across our stand, and passers-by would often stop by, simply curious or fascinated by the posters.

There was also a palpable difference when compared to last year in terms of the amount of space taken up by digital applications and services. Large designated "hotspots" could be found all around the messe, where discussions on print and digital publishing took place. Several exciting gadgets could be seen everywhere, each more complicated and outlandish than the previous.

These are pictures of our beautiful stand lined with picture books and posters:

And you can see more pictures here!

Friday, October 28, 2011

On Getting to Frankfurt

What can I tell you about the Frankfurt Book Fair that I didn't tell you last year? Instead of telling you about the fair itself, I decided this year to talk about our struggles to actually get to the book fair, which are just as interesting.

We dutifully registered for the book fair well in time and booked ourselves a stand in Hall 3.0 where the children's publishers usually are. It's a lively, cheerful hall, one of the old favourites at the messe, and we knew that was where we wanted to be. We got our paperwork together and completed all formalities and our stand was confirmed.

Then, on 9 September 2011, we began to apply for our visas.

Day 1: Having got all the necessary papers together, I arrived at the VFS in Chennai to apply for a visa. It was around 11 in the morning and my mind was already preoccupied with thoughts of our chaiwallah, who usually turns up at the office around this time. When I finally presented our papers around an hour later, I was informed that the earliest interview date available was 12 October (by which time the fair would have already begun in Frankfurt!). Upon further enquiry, I was told that the reason for this was that the embassy was restricting the number of applications this year. I then investigated the possibility of a visa without an interview for my colleague (since she is a holder of two Schengen visas in the past year). I was told that the VFS was accepting only 2 non-interview cases per day due to the aforementioned restrictions and since I did not arrive early enough, I was not among those two. Disappointed, but not hopeless, I went away.

Day 2: Since the VFS opens at 8 in the morning, I decided to arrive at 7:30 and attempt to be one of the early applicants. When I arrived, I was the twelfth person in line. Apparently, eleven others had had the same idea.

Day 3: I was sure today was going to be the day. I set my alarm clock for 5:30 in the morning and was at the VFS by 6. I was the eighth in line. "What time did you get here?" I asked the sleepy gentleman in front of me. "5 am," he said. I resolved to wake up even earlier.

Day 4: True to my word, I set ten different alarm clocks to make sure that I would wake up in time and managed to drag myself to VFS by 5 in the morning, a time when late night partiers with more active social lives than me were probably dragging themselves home. "Why are you going so early?" my grandmother asked. "Auspicious time," I replied, "The visa gods won't grant visas unless I go at the auspicious time." She nodded wisely. "The gods are like that sometimes." I contemplated carrying a yoga mat there and performing the surya namaskar (which, of course, I don't know how to perform, but how hard can it be?). I walked up to the VFS at 5 am and there were already four others in the queue. This queue, mind you, was out on the street and not on the actual premises of the VFS. By now, I was a familiar face on the street. Joggers and pakoda sellers waved good morning. The guard at the VFS smiled at me sympathetically. Once again, I turned and returned home forlornly.

Day 5: Foolish as it seemed, I decided to try one last time. This time, I took precautionary measures. I asked a colleague to take a 3 am shift and I arrived to relieve him at 6 am. This time, we were successful - I was the second person in line (some hapless soul had taken the trouble to spend the night there!). I finally managed to make the application. Exhausted but victorious, I left VFS, hoping I'd never have to come back.

Day 6: No such luck. Since I was only able to make my colleague's application as a non-interview case, I had to return to make my own, of course. By this time, the earliest available interview date was 16 October, which happened to be the last date of the fair. But I had a few tricks up my sleeve. We had somehow managed to pull a few strings with the embassy and, through some rather diabolical means that I will not currently elaborate on, I was able to get myself an interview date on 4 October. Yes, I am that well-connected.

Of course, the interview went well and I received a one-month multiple entry visa, although my colleague somehow ended up with a 7-day visa (for the exact duration of the book fair) and could not extend her trip even if she wished to. Later, a fellow publisher told us that his visa was rejected because his hotel booking was "not close enough to the messe grounds".

After many, many sleepless nights, we did finally make it to Frankfurt - and as a gorgeous bonus we managed to get bumped up to first class on our way there! And the book fair was wonderful as always, although every now and then we would smile at each other, knowing how close we were to not being there at all.

p.s. Don't worry, a more detailed report with photos etc. will follow!

A Review of Dancing Bear

Here's a review of Dancing Bear a new picture book from Karadi Tales on a blog called Topsy Turvy Life!

You can buy this book and other picture books from Karadi Tales here.

And don't forget to enter our reviews competition here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saffron Tree celebrates with CROCUS 2011

Saffron Tree is turning 5, and this is how they party!
Saffron Tree turns five this year. Five. It has a nice ring to it. Mainly because five is an important number in many traditions. There is of course the ancient pentagram or the five pointed star, incidentally, dating back to the Vedas too, as a symbol of man, the five wounds of Christ, the five times a devout Muslim is called to prayer, the five symbols of Sikhism and not so sacred but oh so important, the five fingers on a hand. We at Saffron Tree however, decided to narrow our focus to Aristotle's five classical elements, namely, water, fire, earth, air and ether.
As is usual, we bring you a veritable bonanza. Reviews, art and craft, our very popular Crocusword and interviews galore, of arborists, archeologists, environmentalists and more. Even as I type this I wonder if I've given you too much of a peek. Perhaps I have. So I'm going to stop here and leave you thirsting for more. What I will share with you, is our lovely banner, designed by the very talented Lavanya Karthik. Feast your eyes on it, folks and brace yourself for the smorgasbord ahead. As ever, spread the joy, share the beauty of the written word and tell the world that CROCUS 2011, is almost here.
Follow the Saffron Tree blog as they celebrate their birthday with CROCUS 2011.

Telling Stories with Pictures

Karadi's five new titles are featured in The Hindu, with word bytes from Shobha Viswanath, publishing director of Karadi Tales and author of two of the books in the series.Read it here!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Karadi's new "app"-etite!

Karadi Tales is charting new horizons with its venture into the world of iPad apps. Here's what the Hindustan Times has to say about it in their article Karadi tales now on the iPad. Featuring word bytes from Karadi Tales Creative Director, and author, Shobha Viswanath, the article explores Karadi's new path.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind

Tarie Sabido's lovely blog, Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind, which reviews and features the very best of children's literature from across Asia, now lists the 5 latest picture book titles from Karadi Tales. Check out the blog post here!

Thanks, Tarie!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reviews of Dorje's Stripes

Dorje's Stripes is a book from Karadi Tales about a royal Bengal tiger. Here are some recent reviews from international magazines, journals and blogs!

The Midwest Book Review writes:

Beautiful watercolor, delicately tinted paintings help tell the story of Dorje's Stripes" in an unforgettable way. Surely "Dorje's Stripes" will help to sensitize the world to the plight of the threatened Royal Bengal Tiger and help motivate action towards its protection as a species. 

Read the entire review here.

Biblio Reads writes:

Wonderful!  A tale that succinctly targets the plight of the Royal Bengal Tiger in an imaginative and magical story.

Read the entire review here.

Jaci Miller of Kids Books Central writes:

Gently and sensitively told, the fictional Dorjes Stripes communicates the plight of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger through Dorjes experiences in the wild. Readers should be aware that a bit of eastern mysticism trickles into the story as Master Wu travels into Dorjes dreams to learn his background.

Read the entire review here.

The School Library Journal writes:

This heartwarming story is enhanced by stunning watercolors that add to its peaceful tone and suggest a quiet beauty as well as depict the actions and emotions of each character. 

The original link is available only to subscribers, but you can read the review here

Publisher's Weekly writes:

Working in brilliant, seeping watercolors, the Korean illustrating team plays up the mystical elements of the story, while underscoring the dangers the tigers face. But the new stripe on Dorje means he has found a female companion, bringing hope for Royal Bengal tiger populations. A closing note about the tigers’ vulnerability adds urgency to this subtle story about preservation and survival. 

The original link is available only to subscribers, but you can read the review here

Kiss the Book, a book-blog, writes:

The text is simple and easy to understand. The illustrations are beautiful. This book would be a good read aloud for preschoolers who like tigers. 

Read the entire review here.

Tasha of Waking Brain Cells writes:

Ruddra’s tone is one of respect and awe for this creature.  He takes his time to tell the story to its fullest, offering inspiration along the way.  The illustrations are glowing with bright colors that capture the coat of Dorje and the world of the monastery.  The watercolors have been allowed to bleed a bit, creating auras around things.  At other times, the painting is tight and controlled.  The two play against each other, showing the wild next to the tame. This is a lovely and inspiring book about threatened species.  It captures the plight, the loss and the recovery in one beautiful story.  

Read the entire review here.

On In the Pages, a review of several books including Dorje's Stripes

What a great multi-cultural story - Master Wu, a Buddhist monk in Tibet, tells this story about why the tiger has no stripes and how he may yet get his stripes. I liked this - it is totally different than other picture books and gives us a wonderful glimpse into the culture of Tibet.

Read the entire piece here.

On Paper Tigers:

This powerful and majestic animal is now one of the Earth’s most threatened species, but the story of Dorje is one of hope. “Dorje only knew cruel men before he met us,” explains Master Wu, but just as the tiger – and perhaps eventually his clan – recovers under the monks’ care, so can future generations work to change the fate of this beautiful animal.

Read this write-up on the book from Paper Tigers!

For more details on the book, click here. You can also buy the book from Karadi Tales here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Interview with Karadi Tales on Saffron Tree

One of our favourite websites on children's literature is Saffron Tree. Here's an interview feature on Saffron Tree with Karadi Tales

Here is a peek into the exciting world of Karadi Tales. The makers of the most relevant Indian rhymes in recent times and all those lovely audio and picture books that are a treat to listen to and make a perfect gift for any occasion. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Read, Review, Blog!

Are you ready for the competition of the month? Read, Review and Blog! Karadi Tales is excited to announce our October contest where you review one book and win four! You read that right. Pick up any one of the five titles released this month, review it, post the review on your blog and send us a link by leaving a comment on this post. 

The two best blogs will be chosen, and winners will take the other four books home. So, grab yourself a book and get blogging.

The five new titles are available at all retail stores and online from Karadi Tales.

Contest closes Saturday 29 October 2011. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gandhi Jayanthi Wishes

It’s a special day, it’s Bapu’s day! 

This Gandhi Jayanthi, learn more about the man who made history with a gentle smile. Karadi Tales brings you The Story Of My Experiments With Truth (book + Audio CD) to help you remember him. Gandhi’s autobiography is in an abridged form, with a seamless narrative that provides the backdrop of pre-independent India. Interspersed with the Mahatma's favourite songs, the audiobook is a remarkable listening experience.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 2011

In 2011, we'll be giving you a calendar for every month with artwork from one of our books. Here's the October 2011 calendar. We hope you like it!