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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: India, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 129
1. Going Global

I received some great news from my publisher that all of my books are going to be available for sale in China and other Asian markets.  Guardian Angel Publishing has finished negotiating with an agent to distribute English language books.  This is coupled with a mandate in China that all school children should learn English.  So I’m really excited that my books will be open to such a huge market.  Also in the works is distribution to India and other emerging markets where my books are not available.  I’ll keep you posted on any further developments.  But I couldn’t wait to spread the word.  How cool is that?

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2. Interview with Varsha Barjaj, Author of Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Varsha!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Varsha Barjaj] I am hard working, idealistic, optimistic, loyal and driven!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood?

[Varsha Barjaj] What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star–in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Varsha Barjaj] My favorite scene is the one in which Abby and Shaan take a rickshaw ride to the beach in Mumbai. I loved writing the details of the rickshaw ride.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Varsha Barjaj] Striking the balance between the fun, playful aspect of the story and the deeper issues of cultural identity, belonging within a family and being in a city with vast disparities between the rich and the poor.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Varsha Barjaj] My comb

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Varsha Barjaj] A picture of my family, A Don Quixote card holder, and a sunshine yellow “I Love Mom” mug made by my daughter.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Varsha Barjaj] Michelle Obama. I love her charm, her look and her intelligence.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Varsha Barjaj] I just finished re-reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and it blew me away. I also read the ARC for School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott and was charmed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Varsha Barjaj] Readers can connect through my website or on twitter (@varshabajaj

Thank you for this opportunity to “talk” to you and your readers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star—in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

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3. If You Were Me and Lived in … India: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World | Dedicated Review

In her latest addition to the fun and educational series “If You Were Me and Lived In …,” award-winning author and former social studies teacher Carole P. Roman introduces young readers to the country of India.

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4. The Power of Children’s Books to Change the World

First Book Global: New books to 10 million kids worldwide

In 2012, Malala Yousafzai, age 15, was shot in the face by Taliban thugs for daring to promote education for women and girls in her native Pakistan. She has not only survived, she has taken her cause to the global level. Her speech before the United Nations inspired the world: “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

I think of Malala often; her words and the battle she is waging against forces determined to keep her away from a world of knowledge. We know that one child with one book can change the world. But millions of children are being held back from the knowledge they’re so hungry for, not only by violent fundamentalism but by relentless poverty. This is a battle, and we have to win.

That’s why today at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, I announced First Book’s commitment to reach 10 million children worldwide by 2016 with the books they need to read, learn and succeed.

First Book Global: New Books to Kids At Home and Around the World

Each year, First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise, connects 2 million children from low-income families in the United States and Canada with brand-new, top-quality books and educational materials. Over the next three years, we will expand our efforts globally, reaching classrooms, programs and NGOs in India, Brazil, Egypt and elsewhere.

Let’s Bring New Books to 10 Million Children Worldwide Our efforts abroad will strengthen our work domestically. One of our core missions is to bring children here in the United States books and digital content that reflects the full diversity of the world. As we expand the market for books and materials in a range of languages, countries, and cultures, the array of content we can offer in the United States will also grow. More stories will be available to all children.

We’ve been preparing for global expansion for a long time. Our team at First Book has already learned from pilot projects around the world with partners including Feed The Children, World Vision and Touch A Life Foundation. We have been in discussions with a variety of potential global partners who are eager to work with us to access new educational resources that have been so scarce for the children they serve.

A Real and Urgent Need

Make no mistake. It will be hard work. The demands on our staff, volunteers and partners will be staggering, and the fundraising needs are daunting.

But we don’t have the luxury of waiting until it’s easy.

Children in poverty around the world are waiting for us, and so are the local heroes working to educate them. They have no supply pipeline for books, calculators, educational games and digital readers. First Book is the missing piece, and they need us now.

Over the next three years, we’ll be building our content, our partnerships and our outreach, and we’ll be asking you to help us fulfill this commitment to children around the world.

Click here to sign up for occasional email updates about First Book and our global expansion, and to learn ways you can get involved.


The post The Power of Children’s Books to Change the World appeared first on First Book Blog.

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5. Maggie Welcomes Thousands of Visitors Worldwide

Maggie Steele, the storybook heroine who vaults over the moon, has been attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. So many visitors, in fact, that she’s using a time zone map to keep track of them all.* People are … Continue reading

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6. India cartoonist Aseem Trivedi's arrest sparks outrage

India cartoonist Aseem Trivedi's arrest sparks outrage:


Once again, the absurd headline of “Politicians have cartoonist arrested” helps put things in perspective for the rest of us. All the best to Mr Trivedi during all this, and hats off to his courage and convictions and that of all political cartoonists.

Mr Trivedi was arrested on Saturday for a series of cartoons lampooning politicians. He refused to apply for bail at Monday’s hearing, and said if telling the truth made him a traitor then he was happy to be described as one. In one of his cartoons the customary three lions in India’s national emblem are replaced with three wolves, their teeth dripping blood, with the message “Long live corruption” written underneath.

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7. The Tiffin by Mahtab Narsimhan

A few months ago while at my local library I came across a copy of the children’s book The Tiffin by Mahtab Narsimhan. I was running late and didn’t have time to read the book flap but because I was so intrigued by the cover I checked the book out. Later that night I began to read The Tiffin and was instantly hooked! Set in India the book tells the story of the rare time when a tiffin (a box lunch delivered by a dabbawalla) goes astray. The tiffin contained an important note which when lost results in devastating consequences. The Tiffin is a book that can be judged by it’s intriguing cover and I was up until the wee hours of the morning reading it from start to finish.

The next day, a wee bit sleep deprived, I spent some time on the computer researching the book and learning more about author Mahtab Narsimhan. Originally from Mumbai,  India, Narsimhan  now resides in Toronto, Canada.  The catalyst that started her writing career was a tragic one. In 2003, devasted by her father’s death she began to write down her thoughts and memories of their life in India.  These scribblings, along with her love for fantasy, morphed into the idea of writing a novel and her first book The Third Eye was published in 2007. Sequels The Silver Anklet followed in 2009 and The Deadly Conch in 2011. Narsimhan has also published two anthologies Piece by Piece: Stories About Fitting Into Canada (Penguin Canada, 2010) and Her Mother’s Ashes Part 3 (TSAR Publications, 2009).

The Tiffin  has been nominated for several  awards and is shortlisted by the Canadian Library Association for the 2012 Book of the Year for Children Award.  If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend you add it to your “Must Read” list.  Check out this wonderful review of the book by West Vancouver librarian  Shannon Ozirny (who you may remember was the MC at the VCLR Serendipity Conference that Marj and I presented at in Vancouver early this year). Shannon’s review was printed in the November 2011 issue of Quill and Quire and is partially reprinted here with Quill and Quire’s permission.

The Tiffin
by Mahtab Narsimhan
(Dancing Cat Books, 2011)
Reviewed by Shannon Ozirny

In the context of children’s literature, the term “other worlds” often connotes places that are purely imaginary and only reachable by an enchanted cabinet or peculiarly numbered train platform. But Toronto-based, Silver Birch Award–winning author Mahtab Narsimhan (the Tara Trilogy) introduces children to the “other world” of the dabbawallas of her native Mumbai. Despite being very real and accessible by traditional modes of transport, this world will be just as awe-inspiring for North American young people as any fantasy realm could hope to be (click here to read more!)

And here is the book trailer


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8. PaperTigers’ Global Voices: Richa Jha (India) ~ Part 3 of 3

It’s been our privilege to have Indian writer, editor and blogger Richa Jha as our guest blogger for the past two weeks. Today we present the final part in her three part series:

Reader-less Books: Reading Habits of Indian Children ~ by Richa Jha

If  you haven’t read the previous entries, you can get caught up by reading  Part 1 here  and Part 2 here. In today’s post Richa addresses some of the reasons on why Indian youth may not be reading books written by Indian authors.

We can’t see them

Our books get lost in the sea of international books on the bookshelves at the stores, especially when there are tens of series vying for attention. A single spine in the middle of it is no show. Some of the bookstores do have dedicated shelves or sections for Indian authors, but the traffic is thin there. Children’s books continue to figure low on most publishing houses’ agenda. The lack of the necessary promotional push for these books from their side affects their visibility. So does the media’s cool shrug at most of these books. The bookstores aren’t too enthusiastic either to back the Indian authors as they don’t see them moving off the shelf much. This chicken-egg situation only compounds the general feeling of apathy that the Indian authors sense towards their work, in general, from all sides.

Let’s blame it on our parents!

My generation of parents grew up on a staple diet of Enid Blyton and Edward Stratemeyer (creator of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew), and for most, that fodder lies frozen in time. An essential rites of passage, we expect to see our children reading these. Most parents shy away from even exploring the Indian-Author shelves at bookstores.

At the same time, we do have a new (but small) breed of parents who are keen to introduce their children to the growing world of Indian YA fiction. But while the parents take care to buy these books, most children are reluctant to explore them. Buying, therefore, isn’t always enough. A possible way to get our kids interested in them would be to explore the book together. I remember sitting with my son a couple of years ago and reading aloud a relatively unknown gem by Ranjit Lal, The Red Jaguar on the Mountain. By the end of the first chapter, he was hooked and came back later to say, ‘The book is so cool!’

Things can only get better from here. Last month, India’s first zombie fiction for young adults, Zombiestan by Mainak Dhar hit the shelves (the second one by him is due for a release soon). Payal Dhar’s There’s a Ghost in My PC, Oops the Mighty Gurgle by RamG Vallath and The Deadly Royal Recipe by Ranjit Lal – all for middle schoolers slated for release soon – promise to be a hell of an adventure-and-fun packed reads. There’s visible promotion around them and the publishers and the authors seem to be having fun talking about their books. Don’t stop me from turning up that bubbly voice inside me that’s humming now-these-are-what-our-children-will-go-grab. Out of choice. Ahem! Amen.

Richa Jha is a writer and editor and, like many of us, nurtures an intense love for picture books. In her words:

I love picture books, and want the world to fall in love with them as well. My blog Snuggle With Picture Books is a natural extension of this madness. The Indian parents, teachers and kids are warming up to loads and loads of Indian picture books beginning to fill up the shelves in bookshops. It’s about time we had a dedicated platform to it. The idea behind the website is to try and feature every picture book (in English) out there in the Indian market. Usually, only a few titles end up getting talked about everywhere, be it because of their true merit, or some very good promotion, or some well-known names associated with them. There are many other deserving titles that get left out in the visibility-race. This website views every single book out there as being deserving of being ‘seen’ and celebrated.

0 Comments on PaperTigers’ Global Voices: Richa Jha (India) ~ Part 3 of 3 as of 12/5/2012 4:19:00 PM
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9. Poetry Friday: I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail, illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti

Illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti, designed by Jonathan Yamakami,
I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail
Tara Books, 2011.

Ages: 8+

The glorious blue and intriguing cut-outs on the cover of this truly stunning book just beg you to pick it up and explore its pages.  As you open the book, the feathered (or is it fiery?) eye leaves the peacock’s head behind, and you have to keep on turning until you find the whole bird.  From then on, each page reveals a half-line of the anonymous seventeenth-century English nonsense/puzzle poem that makes up the text.  The clever cut-outs mean you can read the poem in two ways – in its original tricky layout that offers a surreal, perplexing view of all the amazing things that “I saw,” or the more logical sequence created by joining the second half of the former line to the first half of the latter:

I saw a peacock with a fiery tail
I saw a blazing comet drop down hail
I saw a cloud… [you can read the whole poem here]

The secret is in the lack of punctuation throughout and the poem would make a fun punctuation task for younger children to work out – but the poem offers much more than a school exercise and is a delight for people of all ages to ponder the essence of poetry.  Joined here with Ramsingh Urveti’s combination of black on white and white on black art influenced by his Gond roots, and Jonathan Yamakami’s imaginative book design, I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tale is a veritable feast for any poetry lover.

This is Urveti’s first solo book but he was a contributor to Tara Books’ much loved The Nightlife of Trees (New Horizons Award 2008).  Here, his artwork is extraordinary in the way it manages to convey all the twists and turns of the poem whether puzzling or logical.  He incorporates the recurring “I saw” inventively throughout.  The ebb and flow of the different scales alluded to, from a mighty oak to a tiny ant, are reflected in the intensity of the patterns that at times seem to froth from the page.  The book’s physical design is full of surprises right to the end: and this is a very physical book.  In the age of the e-book, this is an oasis for anyone who loves the physicality of the book.  If you think you know just the person you’d like to give it to, you might have to get hold of two copies – this is one of those books that would otherwise be impossible to give away!

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted byRobyn Hood Black at Read, Write, Howl - head on over.

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10. Classic Indian Tales

Product Details
Classic Indian Tales

The gods and the demons come together to churn the ocean using the mountain Manthara and the serpent Vasuki to get the elixir of immortality. Uruvashi, the most beautiful woman in all the worlds, created by the god Narayana from his thigh, descends to earth only to fall in love with a mere mortal. Savitri tricks Death into doing something he has never done before. Emperor Akbar challenges Birbal to find the ten biggest fools of Agra. These and many other tales of boons and curses, love and betrayal, wit and humor, valor and pride, drawn from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Panchatantra and traditional folklore of India, are brought together in this fascinating collection...

If you liked this, try:
The Magical Adventures of Krishna
Twenty Jataka Tales
Indian Tales
One Grain of Rice
The Drum

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11. Week-end Book Review ~ The Great Race: An Indonesian Trickster Tale by Nathan Kumar Scott and Jagdish Chitara

Reviewed by Charlotte Richardson:

Retold by Nathan Kumar Scott, illustrated by Jagdish Chitara,
The Great Race: An Indonesian Trickster Tale
Tara Books, 2011.

Ages: 3+

With The Great Race, Tara Books continues its stellar presentation of picture books illustrated by talented indigenous Indian artists. Nathan Kumar Scott retells the simple Indonesian trickster tale, a version of the tortoise and hare story. The traditional craft of illustrator Jagdish Chitara, a Waghari textile artist from Ahmedabad, is painting ritual cloths that celebrate the Mother Goddess in brilliant white, red and black. He uses the same ancient techniques and colors to depict the many stylized animal characters in this endearing folk story, his first secular project…

Read the full review

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12. Finders Keepers by Robert Arnett and Smita Turakhia

Finders Keepers? by Robert Arnett illustrated by Smita Turakhia Atman Press 6 Stars Press Release:  A true story, Finder’s Keepers?  was inspired by the honesty of one young boy in India who found the author’s lost wallet and could not understand why he should be rewarded for returning to Arnett what was his.  The concept …

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13. What does the future hold for international arbitration?

How can we outline the discussion on the law and practice of international arbitration? What is the legal process for the drafting of the arbitration agreements or the enforcement of arbitral awards? Long-time international arbitrators Constantine Partasides, Alan Redfern, and Martin Hunters — co-authors of Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration: Fifth Edition with Nigel Blackaby — sat down with the OUPblog to discuss the latest developments in their field. Watch the following videos to learn more about current views on international arbitration and what changes they expect to see in the future.

How did the idea of writing a book come about?

Click here to view the embedded video.

What challenges are arbitrators facing now?

Click here to view the embedded video.

How do you view the future of international commercial arbitration? 

Click here to view the embedded video.

Nigel Blackaby, Constantine Partasides, Alan Redfern, and Martin Hunter are the authors of Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration: Fifth Edition. Nigel Blackaby is one of the partners of the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Washington, DC. Constantine Partasides is a one of the partners of the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. Alan Redfern is the barrister and international arbitrator at One Essex Court Chambers in London. Martin Hunter is currently a barrister and international arbitrator at One Essex Court Chambers.

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The post What does the future hold for international arbitration? appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Guest Commentary: The Life of an Indian Visual Effects Artist

Within the last 6 months, two of the biggest U.S. visual effects houses—Digital Domain and Rhythm & Hues—have declared bankruptcy. Among the culprits responsible for their downfall is outsourcing and offshoring of VFX work to countries like India, China and Malaysia. This goes hand in hand with other reasons like foreign government tax subsidies and credits, corporate mismanagement, and Hollywood studio economics.

But what exactly does it mean when work is sent to one of those other countries? Work isn’t sent overseas simply because it’s cheaper. The cold, hard reality is that work goes overseas because developing countries have lax labor laws that offer minimum worker rights and maximum opportunity for worker exploitation. It amounts to sweatshop labor, and in some cases, indentured servitude.

We hear a lot about the perspective of Western artists affected by the outsourcing and offshoring, but nothing from the overseas artists who are the supposed beneficiaries of the work. It turns out, they’re not exactly enjoying it either.

This commentary piece was submitted by Bhaumik Mehta, an artist who spent 7 years working in the rendering and lighting departments of many top Indian animation and effects houses. He has now left the industry to work as a freelance 3D artist for interior designers and architects, a field that he says is much less exploitative. Per Mehta’s request, I have removed the names of the studios he listed in his original piece to protect colleagues who may still be working at those places.

Commentary by Bhaumik Mehta

I read your story of recent layoffs happening at studios like DreamWorks and Rhythm & Hues. I wish to express my deep sorrow and concern for all those artists who have had to put aside their families, friends and health to finish the tasks that were assigned to them by the studios.

Many bad things happen at studios in India, too. At one studio, artists are asked to work without salary for at least four months, at which point the studio can ask them to leave if they didn’t find their performance “good” enough. At another studio, they reduced their staff in the 3D animation department from 150 people to a mere 5 people. One studio takes Rs 30,000 (approximately $550) as a deposit from artists and only returns to the artist (without interest) once they complete two years employment at the studio. [Note: An average MONTHLY salary might be Rs 7,500 ($138 month) so the deposit is equivalent to nearly 4 months salary.]

Every studio has adopted a hire-and-fire policy in which artists are asked to sign a contract of six months after which the studio has a right to either keep the artist or remove them according to the project’s requirement. One studio has laid off their most senior artists and shifted their base from Mumbai to Banglore; another studio will either delay an artist’s salary by two months or won’t pay at all; and yet another studio requires their artists to come to work on Sundays as well as on public holidays. All the while, animation institutes are taking fees like Rs 450,000 (approx. $8,300) but providing education and equipment that isn’t even worth Rs 4,500.

It would be nice to raise this issue and let everyone know the condition that Indian artists have to endure. They are sacrificing their lives for their passion, but they are exploited by people who have no interest in art and whose only motivation is earning as much as possible by spending as little as they can.

I left the industry two years ago. I am glad to have done so and have started working as a freelance 3D artist for interior designers and architects. I am not earning as much as I used to when I was in the studios, but I have no fear of someone asking me to leave their office once their project is completed. I choose to live with dignity and honor as well as giving time to my family, friends and health.

I hope that by making others aware of these issue, I can save my artist friends from further exploitation.

(Photo via Shutterstock)

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15. Owen Hurley Named Technicolor’s Animation and Games Creative Director

Technicolor announced last week that they have appointed Owen Hurley to be the Creative Director of its Animation and Games group. Hurley will be based in Bangalore, India, at Technicolor Digital Productions’ animation studio.

The company, which formerly focused on technology solutions for the entertainment industry, has been building its reputation as a content producer since 2010. Their Indian studio has a dedicated unit working on Rockstar Games

including such titles as Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3.

Earlier this year, Technicolor also announced plans to develop original content. Their current projects in development include Berkeley Breathed’s Pete & Pickles; Atomic Puppet, (a co-production with Mercury Filmworks); and a TV series adaptation of the graphic novel series The Deep.

Hurley recently directed Technicolor’s Barbie in the Pink Shoes for Mattel. Prior to working at Technicolor, Hurley was the Director of Animation and Cinematics at Vancouver-based Relic Entertainment, where he worked on the games Company of Heroes and the Dawn of War series. During an eight-year stint at Mainframe Entertainment, he directed episodes of Beast Wars, ReBoot, War Planets and Weird-Ohs as well as the direct-to-DVD movie, Casper’s Haunted Christmas.

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16. My Month of More "Colorful" Reading

29 days ago, I challenged myself to read only books written by or about people of color. This challenge was partly inspired by Black History Month, and partly due to a realization that since leaving my classroom in Baltimore, I had pretty much stopped looking for books that reflected the faces of "my" students.

I can almost guarantee that I would not have read most of these books without taking on this challenge, and boy-oh-boy would I have been missing out! In an effort to summarize this month of reading, here are a few awards and a few "similar interest groups" for quick reference.

Favorite YA Read of the Month: Tie between Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis and Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena (these two couldn't be more different, but I'll remember them both for a long, long time)

Favorite MG Read of the Month: The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani (love, love, love this book)

Favorite New-to-Me Author: Ashley Hope Perez - I thoroughly enjoyed What Can't Wait and am eagerly awaiting The Knife and the Butterfly. I can't help but feel a TFA bond with Ms. Perez and I'm so thankful that teachers like her exist!

Favorite Blast from the Past: American Girl - Cecile's New Orleans series

Favorite Illustrations: Heart and Soul - The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson (Abigail Halpin is pretty fabulous too, but Kadir Nelson's paintings were just breathtaking)

Favorite Book that Brad Pitt Should Turn into a Movie: Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

Novels in Verse:
- Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes
- The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle
- Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

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17. India—Part One, Bangalore

Here is a picture of a banyan tree (that we didn't take; it's from a public domain site, since we kept forgetting our camera.) You see these in both Bangalore and in Chennai. And I like to call it the tree where one tree makes a whole forest.

The dog is well again! The student art show is on display (which deserves a post of its own, one of these days.) And now, at last, India. 

It's hard to believe that two weeks ago Saturday afternoon we were driving home from the San Francisco airport after about twenty-three hours spent either in a plane or waiting for one. And that two weeks before that we were being met at the airport in Bangalore by our nephew after a similar flight. (No wonder we were so jet-lagged!)

We have grown nieces and nephews (with families) and a sister-in-law in Bangalore. During two earlier trips to Chennai (formerly Madras), we had not been able to include Bangalore in our visits. So Bangalore was our first stop this time. Our nephew, Ashok met us at the airport at 5:00 a.m. We stayed with him and his family, and had a wonderful visit with him, his wife, Gayatri, their two children, Rohan and Tarun, and our sister-in-law, Malathi. And also the family dog, Caesar, a 90-pound golden labrador who longs to be a lap dog. I miss them all already!

Unfortunately, we were so busy catching up on news and enjoying the visit, that we forgot to take pictures, even though my husband had taken two cameras. I'm waiting for our nephew to send copies of the pictures they took so that I can post them here.

On the very first day (Sunday) I also met up a writer friend I met online a little over two years ago, Rachna Chhabria. We had exchanged copies of our books and have followed each other's blogs, and she was a great help to me in navigating aspects of FaceBook. She teaches creative writing at Mount Carmel College. 

Her blog,  Rachna's Scriptorium, always has interesting insights and good advice about writing.  It was a pleasure to meet her in person. H

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18. The 2012 Bologna Ragazzi Awards

The 2012 Bologna Ragazzi Awards for the best children's books in terms of graphic and editorial design have been announced. Champagne, cake, confetti, coffee, and CONGRATULATIONS go to:

New Horizons - Mentions

Misunderstanding, written by Farideh Khalatbaree and illustrated by Ali Boozari (Shabaviz Publishing Company, Tehran – Iran)

Waterlife, written and illustrated by Rambharos Jha (Tara Books, Chennai – India)

Opera Prima - Winner

Tabati, written by Nadine R. L. Touma and illustrated by Lara Assouad Khoury (Dar Onboz, Beirut - Lebanon)

Opera Prima - Mention

Grimmie's White Canvas, written and illustrated by Hyunjoo Lee (Sang Publishing, Seoul – Republic of Korea)

Thanks to my friend Jules, one of the Ragazzi jurors, for this information!

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19. Week-end Book Review: Wordygurdyboom! The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray by Sukumar Ray

Sukumar Ray, translated by Sampurna Chatterji
Wordygurdyboom! The Nonsense World of Sukumar Ray
Puffin Classics (India), 2008.

Ages: 8+

Sukumar Ray was a Bengali writer born in Calcutta in 1887.   After being educated in India and England, he returned to his father’s printing press business U. Ray & Sons in Calcutta. At that time, the older Ray had begun publishing a children’s magazine called Sandesh. When Sukumar took over the press in 1915, he began to write for the magazine, producing poetry and stories, as well as illustrations for SandeshWordygurdyboom! is a collection of Ray’s writing and illustrations, translated from the original Bengali by Sampurna Chatterji. As noted in the introduction by Ruskin Bond, Bengali is a language that ‘lends itself to rhyme and rhythm, to puns and wordplay.’  Ray, influenced by the nonsense verse of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, carved out his own unique style of verse in Bengali and, thanks to Sampurna Chatterji’s excellent translation, readers can really enjoy his ‘non-sensibility’ in this English anthology.

The book is made up of a selection of Ray’s writings which include poems, stories, and even a made-up hunting diary of a Professor Chuckleonymous. Throughout the book, strange creatures abound like the Limey Cow which is “not a cow, in fact it’s a bird” or the Billy Hawk calf who “is forbidden to laugh.”  There’s the Wonster who is a pining, whining, ‘nag-nag’ or the Pumpkin Grumpkin who looks like a walrus-manatee. In the poem Mish Mash, there are all manners of creatures combined to become such oddities as the ‘duckupine,’ the ‘elewhale’ or the ‘stortoise.”

In Ray’s stories, various odd characters appear like the calculating Raven of Haw-Jaw-Baw-Raw-Law or the mischievous school boy Dashu of “Dashu the Dotty One.” There’s Professor Globellius Brickbat who experiments with cannonballs made up of “nettle-juice, chilli-smoke, flea-fragrance, creeper-cordial, rotten-radish extract,” the result of which, as you can imagine, is not flattering to the appearance of the man post-experiment.

Wordygurdyboom! is a delightful collection of writing. What is astonishing, however, is the fact that this is a work of translation. Non-sense verse relies heavily on the nuances of language; that the Bengali could be translated into English in this manner is truly, as Bond points out, ‘deserving of a medal.’ Much credit has to be given to Sampurna Chatterji for bringing this lively, witty writer’s words into English for a new generation of readers to appreciate and enjoy.

Sally Ito
April 2012

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CHAINED, by Lynne Kelly (FSG, May 8, 2012)(ages 8+).  In this debut novel by Houstonian Lynne Kelly, ten-year-old Hastin takes a job with a circus owner in order to pay off his sister's hospital bill.  His job -- to care for the baby elephant Nandita -- is made more difficult by the cruel elephant trainer and the circus owner.  He contemplates running away with her, but where can a ten-year-old boy go to hide out with an elephant?

CHAINED offers a thought-provoking look at elephants and how how captive elephants are sometimes treated, as well as a compelling protagonist and poignant coming-of-age story.   

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21. Classroom Connections: CHAINED

Classroom Connections is a series meant to introduce teachers to new books.

CHAINED - Lynne Kelly

Lynne Kelly has written a story that unwraps the heart and asks it to be brave, loyal, and above all, kind.  Readers of all ages will worry for Hastin as he marks the wall that records his bondage to a cruel master, but they will ultimately celebrate his jubilant triumph.  This story unwrapped my own heart. –Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor and New York Times bestseller THE UNDERNEATH

reading level: 10 and up
setting: Northern India

Please tell us about your book.
CHAINED is a midgrade novel about 10-year-old Hastin, who lives in a rural village of northern India with his mother and sister. To help pay off the hospital bills from his sister's illness, Hastin takes a job as an elephant keeper at a run-down circus far from home. Life at the circus isn't the adventure he expected, but he and the elephant, Nandita, become best friends. They're both captive workers for the cruel circus

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22. Tara Books’ Book Building

During our time at the recent Bologna Children’s Book Fair Marjorie and I had a lovely visit with Gita Wolf and Maegan Chadwick-Dobson from Tara Books.  Tara Books is an award winning,  independent publisher of picture books for adults and children based in Chennai, South India. Founded by Gita in 1994, Tara Books consists of a dedicated group of writers, designers and artists who remain “fiercely independent” and who strive to publish books with the unique union of fine form and rich content. Tara Books sets itself apart from other publishers by truly offering readers a literary and visual feast and they are especially known for their children’s books created by tribal artists in the Gond, Patua and Mithila styles which are made entirely from hand  – from the paper to the printing and binding! Their book Waterlife by Rambharos Jha won the 2012 New Horizons Mention, BolognaRagazzi Awards and is PaperTigers’ Book of the Month.

Besides hearing about the latest Tara Book releases, Marjorie and I also learned more about their exciting new Book Building which just opened off Kuppam Beach Road in Thiruvanmiyur, South Chennai, India. After years of operating out of small rental places and not being able to adequately showcase their books, Tara Books embarked on an ambitious plan to construct a three storey, environmentally friendly building (80% solar powered) that would house all aspects of their business and would become an unique cultural space dedicated to exploring the form of the book.  In February 2012 Book Building opened its doors to much acclaim and fanfare! Book lovers and visual lovers of all ages are invited to come enjoy ongoing exhibitions, watch visual artists at work, participate in workshops, browse though books and art prints in the  bookstore, enjoy specially commissioned wall murals created by a range of Tara Book artists, and more!  Permanent exhibition highlights include Bhajju’s Mural, an original mural by Gond artist Bhajju Shyam (see PaperTigers’ gallery of his work here) on display in the outdoor gallery (images of the mural being painted can be seen here) and The Patua Pillar by Patua artists Manu and Swarna (images of the mural being painted can be seen here).

Book Building is open Monday to Saturday from 10am – 7:30pm and admission is free. To hear about upcoming activities including the launch of an exciting new annual Carnival of Books Festival and the inauguration of the children’s reading corner, visit Tara Books’ 0 Comments on Tara Books’ Book Building as of 1/1/1900

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23. Chained by Lynne Kelly

5 Stars Meet Chanda.  She is the catalyst for today’s review of Chained, a smart, well-written, and engrossing novel by Lynne Kelly.  Chanda is a young girl bitten by fever mosquitoes and now carries a dangerously high temperature.  She needs medical help now.  With the help of a neighbor, Amma, her mother, takes Chanda to [...]

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24. The Jungle in the Book: an Interactive Art Exhibition for Children ~ Tara Books’ Book Building, South Chennai, India

A few weeks ago I blogged about Tara Book’s new Book Building. Situated in South Chennai, India, the Book Building not only houses all aspects of Tara Books‘ award winning  publishing business but is a unique cultural space dedicated to exploring the form of the book. Book lovers and visual lovers of all ages are invited to the Book Building to enjoy ongoing exhibitions, watch visual artists at work, participate in workshops, browse though books and art prints in the  bookstore, enjoy specially commissioned wall murals created by a range of Tara Book artists, and more!

A new exhibit has just been launched at the Book Building and we thank Pallavi Vadhia of Tara Books for sending us the details. The Jungle in the Book is an interactive art exhibition which runs until the end of August and aims to promote the joy of  reading, picture books and art to children. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of free events and educational workshops (offered in English and Tamil) for children, their parent and educators. Highlights include:

Saturday, July 21 ~ What is a Picture Book? What can we do with it? An informative workshop showing parents and teachers ways to use picture books. Conducted by Salai Selvam, an education and literacy activist and Tara Books Publisher Gita Wolf,

Saturday, August 11 ~ Look, Read and Think! How pictures communicate ideas – Working with the idea of human rights. Hosted by Salai Selvam.

Saturday, August 18 ~ An Artist at Work: open house event. Watch Sunita an amazing artist from the Meena tribe in Rajasthan.

To see the entire list of events and workshops click here. To see some photos of the exhibit visit Tara Books’ Facebook page.

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25. Male Monday: Irfan Master

“In the world I came from it wasn’t cool to say that you wanted to be a writer or read books. I always wanted to be a writer but I just kept it hidden for 20 odd years which was a strange state of mind to be in.”

One male author of color has a YA book released this month.

“Irfan Master is project manager of Reading the Game at the National Literacy Trust. His father is from Gujarat, India where the novel is set, and his mother is from Pakistan. Irfan grew up speaking both Urdu and English.” He grew up reading The Count of Monte Cristo with his grandfather and developed a love or reading. He knew that sometime ago, there was a split in India, but no one could or would tell him about it. So, Ifran decided to written A beautiful Lie. He went to India and then Morocco, where he wrote most of the book. he says “Everything came from the first two words ‘Everybody lies’…”

A beautiful lie has already been published in the UK and hit US shelves 1 August.



Award nominations:

North East Book Award

Essex Book Award

WE Read Book Prize

Branford Boase Award

Redbridge Book Award

Amazing Book Award

Waterstones Children’s.Book Prize


Filed under: male monday Tagged: India, Irfan Master, Male Monday, Pakistan

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