News of our latest books being launched in Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga languages has been covered by a few more publications.
Sonali Acharjee covers the book launch in India Today
Drawing inspiration from the challenges facing tribal education, three organisations, Pratham Books, Ignus-ERG with the support of Bernard van Leer Foundation, held Write workshops with authors speaking Saura, Munda, Kui and Juanga languages. This has led to a unique partnership to publish books for children in these tribal languages.
“This project marks a new chapter in the tenth year of Pratham Books as it is a significant first step in reaching the last child. It also links marginalized cultures with the world of formal education and could well be the beginning of creating a canon of literature for children from the ground up,” explains Manisha Chaudhry, head of content development, Pratham Books.
The books are in bilingual format. Using Odia script, they have charming stories for beginner readers drawn from the rich oral tradition of these languages and the illustrations use tribal art with contemporary twist. “This is a very important step for us as it marks the beginning of a journey where a publisher not only publishes in Indian languages but also in languages which don’t have a script. We are seeding a new set of readers and showing the way to other publishers to reach a nascent market but which will see exponential growth,” says Himanshu Giri, COO, Pratham Books.
Pratham Books launched the first set of ten books in four tribal languages and four story cards for the reading pleasure of children at Bakul Foundation, Bhubaneswar.
Tribal children face many challenges when they enrol in schools, the least among them is having to learn in a language that is different from their mother tongue. The state of Odisha has recognized this, and has taken the lead in imparting education in the mother tongue, in the early grades. The educational journey of lakhs of tribal children will be easier and more rooted in their own reality and culture.
The event started with the launch of the books by Padmashri Prof D.P Pattnayak (eminent linguist and educationist who was the Director Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore) and panelists Ms. Dharitri Patnaik (BvLF), AnantaMohapatra, Dash Benhur, DigantaMohantyand Mr. Subir Shukla had a discussion on “Democratizing the joy of reading for all children: A case for books in tribal languages”. There were storytelling sessions by tribal language storytellers for children simultaneously. The children loved the stories and for many it was a very nostalgic moment to hear stories from their own culture.