Shall I Give You a Good Book?

This is a guest post by Chintan Girish Modi. He is pursuing an M.Phil. in English Language Education. Based on field work with school students in a low-income neighbourhood in Dongri, Mumbai, his research has to do with encouraging children to write by building on their interests and experiences instead of responding mechanically to teacher-driven writing prompts. He is interested in poetry, travel, children’s books, libraries, and alternative modes of assessment, particularly peer feedback. He writes for Teacher Plus and Young World, and manages People in Education, an online group that connects various stakeholders in education, and facilitates the sharing of resources. Some of his published work is available at http://chintangirishmodi.wordpress.com and started blogging because of “a friend who says share karna chahiye”.

And share he does! Chintan is a treasured member of our community who is always sending us stuff that is of interest to all of us here. We’re fortunate to have friends like Chintan.


On my recent trip to Varanasi, I discovered an unassuming little treasure called ???? ??? ??????? ?? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? ???????? ?? ??? ?? ????? (translated as Shall I Give You a Good Book? A Book for Amateur Book Activists), that was published way back in 2003.

As I savoured page after page, there was absolute admiration for the sincerity and sheer commitment on the part of the authors — Usha Rao, T. Vijayendra, and Shailaja Kalle. As the preface will tell you, none of them are native speakers of Hindi, and have not studied the language beyond high school. While they apologise for the inaccuracies that might have crept into their use of the language, they also express a conviction that the earnestness of their intent will more than compensate.

They have put together an excellent resource for people who want to start community libraries in villages and small towns, or hold book exhibitions to create awareness about the vast amount of reading material that is available, or even run small bookshops.

The book starts off as a letter written by Usha to her friends Damayanti and Shyama, and spans the whole gamut of practical details involved in such an enterprise; from initiating contact with publishers, to filing correspondence, keeping accounts, selecting and ordering books, classifying books based on age group and genre, generating interest in reading, and sustaining a culture of reading. In addition to this, the book also offers you publisher contact information and lists of books classified under various categories.

It is a low-budget publication, in keeping with the constituency it sets out to serve. The book may not be printed on fancy and colourful paper, but the anecdotes and sketches liven it up. Priced at a modest Rs. 25, it is a collaborative venture by eight publishers from various parts of the country. I am reproducing here the address of each, so that you can pick up your copy from the one that you find most convenient.

Manchi Pustakam, 12-13-452 Street No. 1, Tarnaka, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500017. Tel. 040-27015295/6

Bal Sahitya Bhandar, Chaurai, Post Barginagar, Dist. Jabalpur 482056. Madhya Pradesh

Rupantar, A 26, Surya Apartments, Katora Taalaab, Raipur 492001, Chhattisgarh. Tel. 0771-2424669

Shishu Milap, 1, Shrihari Apartments, Behind Express Hotel, Alkapuri, Vadodara 390007. Gujarat. Tel. 0265-2342539

Sahitya Chayan, 91, L. I. G., Hastal, Uttamnagar, New Delhi 110059. Tel. 011-25633254

Bal Sahiti, Voluntary Health Association of Punjab, S. C. F., 18/1, Sector 10-D, Chandigarh 160011. Tel. 0172-543557

Roshnai Prakashan, 212 C.L./A., Ashok Mitra Road, Near Circus Maidan, Kanchrapada, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal.

Jeevan Mangalya, Near Telephone Exchange, Kausani, Dist. Almora 263639, Uttarakhand.

PS: Many thanks to Hema-ji for introducing me to this wonderful book

UPDATE : Someone forwarded this blog post to T.Vijayendra and he got in touch with Chintan and informed him that a few people have actually started libraries and bookshops after reading the book. He also has a few copies of the book left and if someone wants the book, they can contact him :

T. Vijayendra

Phone: 08258 205340
Mobile: 94907 05634 (No signal at the farm).

10-124, Nakre Village & P. O.
Karkala Taluk
Udipi-576 117
Karnataka, India.

Address for post
c/o Dr. Chhayalata
7-67 P, Jayadurga Compound, Temple Road,
Kannarpady, Udipi 576 103, Karnataka, India

Email : t.vijayendra at gmail dot com

As always, if you’d like to guest blog for us or if we could guest blog for you on your blog, please email us at web at prathambooks dot org.

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