Book Review : Takloo, the Little Salt Seller
The book is quite the learning opportunity: author Radhika Bapat is a clinical psychologist well versed in using storytelling as a teaching tool; artist Poonam Athalye’s whimsical illustrations are gentle, subtle lessons in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, not to mention a celebration of gorgeously colorful palettes. As effective as the story is, before it even begins, you’re presented with a full page of “How should you use this book?” suggestions to enhance or even disregard the narrative. Clever Takloo, clever publisher, too.
That publisher is Pratham Books, a not-for-profit organization based in India, with a mission to put “a book in every child’s hand.” They publish in 11 languages, offer over 1800 titles (thus far), most of which cost less than 35 Indian rupees. That’s just over 50 cents (!) in U.S. dollars. Their story cards go as low as 4 INR – less than a dime! That’s impressive access to their “brand of story books as Indian as the children who read them.” And thanks to our global markets, their books are available all over the world, which is why Pratham is getting the international recognition they deserve: Last month, they were cited by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards 2014, commended “For Its Effective Implementation of Best Practices in Literacy and Reading Promotion.”