SOULTales - Character Strengths, Stories & Vocabulary

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Following up... on What/How/Where of Locating Books for Children




At the beginning I wish to make myself clear…
All opinions/views/ideas/suggestions expressed here are purely my own!! This is a personal blog, and my intention is to share information that is of interest to me, and hope that it could be of some use/interest to my viewers…
Having made my disclaimer loud and clear, I will now move on…!!

I realize that many are interested in books, and those working/ living with kids can have no other preoccupation!!
So here is a compilation of publishers and the kind of books that is available in the market for children. I have combined foreign publishers and Indian ones. Many foreign publishers have entered the Indian market. So depending on your pocket, you can pick and choose what suits you.
I found 3 publishing websites, with comprehensive lists of publishers. They are a western compilation, but as I said, there is no harm in knowing…
www.publishing central.com
www.blueroses.com
www.acqweb.org
Enter these portals and look for children’s publisher’s and the list is there for you to browse through!

Here is my list:
1) Amar Chitra Katha: Who doesn’t know these? The comics for the masses.Started by Mr.Anant Pai of the Tinkle books fame; Informative and colourful, extensive variety. (My only suggestion is that small children do not like the graphic mythological stories, so avoid telling them about death and sacrifice till they are about 5 years. If you do tell them, focus on positive values, rather than the negatives, which is such a part and parcel of these myths.)
Their online portal is excellent, with many stories and games.

2) Karadi tales: My children grew listening to their audio books. Karadi, has now started their online e-audiobooks as well. I prefer audio story books to the video media, the reason being that primarily stories and storytelling must spark imagination in children and listening skills encourage creativity.

3) Madhuban publishers: As far as Indian publishers are considered, they have come out with many series. Tread with care. Some books are not upto the mark in terms of content and presentation.

4) Navneet publishers: Most parents will be familiar with this name. Their collection of activity books/colouring books etc are a plenty. As far as quality is concerned, I give them full marks. Yet I caution storybook lovers to give their collection a good look before buying them.

5) Oxford Publications: Been in India for a long time. I prefer their Reading Readiness series. (Thats because I learnt from them!!). Their Kitty and Rover series for early child reading, which comes now in a new and bright edition, is great to start children on reading. A trusted name, so pick them up, whatever titles you get.

6) Scholastic: A brand name now. Franklin and Clifford are published through them. Schools are in partnership with Scholastic, and invariably my daughter wants a book, every time, from the sales counter they set up in her school.They are also one of the co-sponsors for the Singapore Storytelling Festival, if anyone has a chance to visit, participate in that, don't miss it, for yourself/kids..and do tell me how it went!

7) CBT: Children's Book Trust, still publishing stories by Indian Authors. My favourite. Go in for the individual stories, don't buy collection of stories.

8) NBP: Nehru Bal Pusthakalaya is an offshoot of the NBT, or the National Book Trust. Again these books have Indian authors, simple, unassuming stories. Simple stories like Rupa the Elephant and Munia finds Gold are from them.I love them. I wish NBT would also come up with Story telling fests like the Singapore Book Council, I wonder why no one has thought of this?....

9) Sesame Street: Growing Up Books from Sesame Street, are great reads, and I don't have to tell you, the story line is great. clear simple pictures, and familiar characters, all make these books well loved.

10) Disney books: On similar lines to Sesame, Disney publications brings out all their cartoons in print form, enjoyable any day. Who doesn't like their visuals. So pick up Snow white, Hunch Back of Notre Dame, and Hiawatha from Disney, if you find them.

11) Sterling Press /ECP: Some of their publications are the Bubbles series, simple and about a monkey who does his bit of mischief. very young children will love these.

12) Random House: Little Witch reading series from them is good stuff. I personally like such themes, which tells children how to be different....and still be liked!

13) Egmont: Lot of these books can be found in the market, they have brought the Noddy series in easy to read fonts and layouts. Though I like the easy to read versions, I somehow prefer the older hard bound versions...old fogey that I am!

14) DK publishers: They have some good encyclopaedia's and books. Assured quality for sure.

15) Lady bird Series: Been there for a long time. Primary readers are good.

16) Penguin publishers: Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond, for older children.
There are some more publishers, suggested by dear friends: Leo, Appu and Chandra publishers.

17) Pratham Books: Now they have an interesting website. Check it out. Their prerogative is to bring books to the rural children. Tulika publications is part of this initiative. Why Why Girl by Mahaswetha Devi, was one of their first releases...

The bottom line to all this, is that there are excellent books available nowadays, but while selecting books for children here are some things to look for

a) Age group:
Goes without saying, younger children want pictures, touchy/feely books, audio books. Put them, onto colourful primary readers.
Transition groups would still like pictures, but look for story line, and I find this group likes humour. So look for funny and tickly books!!
The older group could go for Adventure/Mystery/Magic/Science Fiction. Let them experiment and read what they like. Give them variety so that they are not stuck to one genre, if thats possible! Children can be clannish sometimes...difficult to convince. Keep trying.
(One trick is to read the books they enjoy so much, share thoughts on the same, so that they see us, as adults liking their taste, and then they learn to appreciate the books we choose for them)

b) Story Line: Try to identify what genre your child really enjoys. Humour, Mythology, Animals, Adventure, Mystery ....usually the Primary Story teller's interest will reflect in your children's choice of books! But as they see different books let them show you what they like.

3) Page Layout: Font, pictures, grammar/language are aspects to look for. Visual appeal of the book is so important when choosing a book.

Finally I wish to tell you it actually doesn't matter if you do pick out a lousy book, that too can be a process of learning with kids as you can discuss why or what makes you dislike the book!

Keep reading, and enjoy the time well spent with your children. It is a heady feeling (at least for me) to have children sitting near me/on me while I tell/read a story and they Listen with wide eyes/open mouth...
(Just once try stopping at some crucial point and watch them, as they jump at you to continue....sweet heaven!!)