Monday, March 18, 2013

Interview on Chennai Live on World Storytelling Day!

Did you hear us on Chennai Live 104.8 FM ON 15 March 2013? Chandni Khanna, director of Chennai Hippocampus, Bavini from the Book Lovers' Program for Schools, and our own Commissioning Editor, Manasi Subramaniam were interviewed by RJ Sanobar Sultana of Chennai Live about the importance of storytelling. If you missed us on the air, don't worry, here are clips from the interview!


World Storytelling Day at Hippocampus

A great storytelling event of The Story and the Song!

More pictures here!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reading Between the Lines

Shobha Viswanath, Publishing Director of Karadi Tales, weighs in on the picture book in The Hindu. Here's her article reproduced below:

The annual international Bologna children’s book fair that looms around the corner (March 25-28) will once again, in its 50th year, open its doors to children’s literature from across the globe.  There are 1200 exhibitors from 66 countries registered to participate at the fair this year who will showcase their books – picture books, illustrated books, activity books, chapter books, young adult novels, educational books, encyclopedias, graphic novels, e-books, apps, and the list continues to expand as technology finds newer ways to transmit the printed word.

In India, while we continue to grow, slowly but surely, in literature for the young adult, the picture book market has somehow remained a difficult terrain to cross. Across the rest of the world, especially the western world, the place that the picture book occupies in the life of a child is not just significant, but appears almost mandatory.

As a nation and a culture, in India, picture books have never occupied any space. Our early childhood comprised of games, festivals, food, and song and dance, but being read to was never an integral part of growing up. One of the reasons for this is perhaps the abundance of stories, real or imagined, that existed in every household and was shared with the family. Stories told to very young children were often used as tools of distraction to get them to eat or sleep rather than for entertainment or enrichment. Books were introduced to the child only after she entered school. The first printed stories that the child saw were the ones in her textbook. In light of this, there was never a market demand for books with lush illustrations or stories in which the pictures spoke more than the words. On the contrary, even adults who bought books for children looked for anthologies or compilations, as these were considered better value for money than a single illustrated story with meagre text.

Art too, therefore, occupied a secondary position in books or sometimes none at all. Cartoon-like illustrations imitative of the Disney style or pictures that depicted exactly the same thing that the text revealed were easily accepted. Folk art was seldom looked at as a means to enrich the story and contemporary art had still to find its own voice. There was no focus on teaching illustration for children’s books from institutes that offered courses in Fine or Commercial Art. As for the publisher, art or illustrations were simply something that added a little relief to the monotony of the page rather than a dynamic agent that could convey something far more potent than what the story itself suggested.

If art was a neglected child, writing did not receive any preference either. Most children’s stories were retellings of folktales or from the Panchatantra and the Jataka. Even if one was not looking for new voices or contemporary stories, the ability to tell an old and familiar story with a striking difference was sorely absent. Retellings were so unimaginative that it was hard to differentiate between them sometimes.

If Indian writing in English has fast gained ground both at home and abroad, the same talent does not seem to spill in the direction of children’s writing. There are no awards that are instituted for children’s writing or illustration and the solitary Crossword Book Award somehow encompasses the whole gamut of children’s literature from picture books to young adult novels. This makes little sense as the skill required to write a picture book is vastly different from the skill required to write a chapter book or a young adult novel. Additionally, a picture book also needs to be judged on the merit of how text combines with art to tell the story, while there is no such requirement for any other category. The award does not operate on a level playing field.

In the light of changing social parameters, with families shrinking and even grandmothers rushing to work, the child’s need for stories has to be fulfilled with good illustrated books. The last fifteen years has seen a few publishers recognise this need and create beautifully illustrated and well-designed picture books. Karadi Tales, Tara Books, and Tulika Publishers have made bold and interesting forays into this arena. While Tara has even won the prestigious Bologna  Ragazzi Award, among several others, for their beautiful screen-printed art and handcrafted books, Karadi Tales over the past few years has taken its new line of picture books to the international market. Breaking away from the traditional moorings of Indian illustrative styles, many of their books have caught the attention of European publishers. Many have also been listed on the White Ravens Catalogue of Outstanding Books and some picture books have won the distinction of being on the International Board of Books for Young People’s list of  Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities.

The importance of a picture book in the life of today’s young child cannot be underestimated. In the absence of a vibrant storytelling environment, it is books that we have to give our children. As author and illustrator Joyce Wan says, ‘Picture books have the power to capture your heart and transform your soul. They are the first interaction we have with books and that initial connection creates a ripple effect that lasts a lifetime and for generations to come. Picture books empower the underprivileged and give hope to the voiceless.

Reading pictures is just as important a skill as reading words. A beautiful picture book is a medium of storytelling and a work of art. It teaches without overtly preaching and it has the magical quality of telling you a different story each time you read it. There’s no better way to teach a child to value art and aesthetics than by exposing her to picture books. In fact, there’s no better way to teach an adult either!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two Reviews in Outside In Inside Out

Outside In Inside Out is a wonderful database of picture books from around the world, and they've featured several Karadi Tales titles. The latest additions to their featured list are The Bookworm and The Story and the Song. Do read these fantastic reviews of the 2 books!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Song of the Story and the Song!

What happens to stories that don't get told? What happens to songs that don't get sung? Are they forgotten or do they emerge some day? Parvathi knows a story and a song, but she keeps them to herself. The story and the song, however, are determined to escape!

Here's a song composed by 3 Brothers & A Violin about the story and the song that are trapped in Parvathy's body!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Come join us for a storytelling session on World Storytelling Day!

KaradiTales, in association with HippocampusChildren’s Library and The BookLovers’ Program for Schools, invites you to a storytelling session on World Storytelling DayCome join us as we tell you a story that’s all about the importance of storytelling!

Date: 16 March 2013 
Venue: Hippocampus Children’s Library
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Address: 4/11Third Avenue Indira Nagar Chennai 600020
Contact details: +919884955454 /+914424433544 /+914442116417

The story that will be told is called The Story and the Song, a gorgeous picture book from Karadi Tales. Come join us for stories and activities all based on the art of storytelling!

The Story and the Song is based on a South Indian folktale of the oral tradition about sharing stories and music. The story brilliantly emphasises the importance that art and stories play in our lives. In its own subtle way, the book breaks gender stereotypes among children. This book is now distributed throughout North America and widely recommended in libraries, schools, and parenting journals for its multicultural values.

Oral storytelling is an ancient tradition and the most personal and intimate form of storytelling. The creative process of sharing stories and music is fundamentally intrinsic to any other act of communication. Contemporary society has lost its ability to pass its history along in stories. Research in artificial intelligence demonstrates the necessity of storytelling and music in order for human innovation and progress. Children no longer grow up within the security of an extended family or of a well-integrated community. Therefore, it is important to provide the modern child with a well-developed tradition of storytelling.

The Story and the Song, in its own quiet way, manifests this belief through the story of a woman who forgets to share her knowledge. The message that a child gets from this story develops a lifetime appreciation for the arts and even for the very basic acts of sharing, communication, and storytelling.

Come join us this Saturday!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kotagiri Storytelling

Storytellers from the Book Lovers' Programme for Schools (BLPS) had gone to Riverside Public School, Kotagiri last week for a storytelling session with Karadi Tales. They narrated Dorje's Stripes and Dancing Bear to children of Classes 3, 4, and 5. Here are some pictures from their sessions!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Bookworm reviewed!

Richa Jha reviews The Bookworm on Snuggle with Picture Books! She writes:

Shilo’s exquisite art work. It’s a lovely mélange of water colour illustrations, collage and scrapbooking. The result is an eye-popping textured, multi-layered enigma about the backdrop with a wealth of interesting details for children to dig out at each read. The overall feel is that of exploring the world and of discovering the amazing richness in the natural world; a feel that seems to be tailor made for Shesha. The most outstanding spread is the ‘his books were his world’ spread (featured above). Just look at that rainbow striped tiger and the winged horse emerge from the pages of his secret diary! Brilliant!

Read the entire review here!