Blessings for the club !

Dear Young  Readers ,
When you are troubled, don’t make a fuss.
Just take it like a platypus.
Find some quiet, some juice, a nook
And drown your woes with a Duckbill book.
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Sayoni has worked in publishing for over thirteen years, including at Oxford University Press and Penguin India. She was in charge of the children’s list at Puffin India, before she joined Scholastic India as publishing director, a position she held for several years. Most recently, she worked at ACK Media as the group publisher. As an editor she has worked with well-known authors like Siddhartha Sarma, Anushka Ravishankar, Samit Basu, Jerry Pinto, Manjula Padmanabhan, Ruskin Bond and APJ Abdul Kalam, among others. She has participated as speaker and resource person in national and international publishing events, like AFCC Singapore, Bookaroo, JLF, among others, and has taught at various publishing courses in India. In 2012, Sayoni along with Anushka Ravishankar, set up Duckbill, a publishing house for children and young adults, in partnership with Westland.
My dear young readers,
I have been writing in various English publications for the last 15 years. But my readers will be surprised to know that I’d read very few English books when I was a child. Being a student of a Government school in Trivandrum I had few friends who enlightened me about English writers. I never came across any reading clubs, after the fashion of ‘the Little Reader’s’ which could’ve inspired me into world literature. But that doesn’t mean I was a poor reader. I gorged up a lot of Malayalam books. I got connected to my land, and it helped me a lot as a writer when I picked up English later. I was able to conjure the spirit of my land in my travel stories in English.
My dear kids. You must always be curious and passionate if you want to leave a mark in this world as a writer. Don’t look out for excuses for not reading. You must find time to sit down and open a page. Fall in love with the word. Savour every word that you find interesting. Find occasions where you can use it. This is a rewarding game dear.
I am sure that, at ‘The Little Reader’s Club’ you will go really deep into the rabbit hole. A fantastic world will reveal itself to you as you open your eyes and look through the prisms of books. Feeling a bit jealous that I hadn’t got such exposure when I was a child. But I am very happy for you, kids.
Read !
Manu Remakant is  a  teacher, student, writer and reader brought together by passion.
He is  Associate Professor Department of English, SN College, Chempazhanthy, Trivandrum, Kerala.
Don’t miss his website.  http://rumroadravings.com/
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Dear young readers,
Everyone will tell you that reading is important and that books in general have to be loved. Ever since I was as old as you I have been wondering if that is true. I used to get bored easily with books and I used to think something is wrong with me. I think we should read what we really like and not force ourselves to read a book just because everyone is saying that we should be reading it. Is reading important? I think so. Watching TV does not need training, but reading needs training. The more you read, the better you get at it — it really is like playing tennis or roller-skating or bowling. Reading is the most beautiful thing that we can do to ourselves, but if we force ourselves to read things we do not want to read, we will start hating the process. So we must keep searching for books, because books, too, are searching for us. Bye.

Manu Joseph  is an Indian journalist and writer. He is the current editor of OPEN magazine. His debut novel “Serious Men” was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prizeand won the 2010 The Hindu Literary Prize. It was included in Huffington Post ‘s 10 best books of 2010. In 2011, it was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. He also received the PEN Open Book Award for the novel in 2011.His second novel ‘The Illicit Happiness of Other People’ was published in September 2012. The novel has been described as ‘a quirky and darkly comic take on domestic life in southern India.’ Joseph was born in KottayamKerala and grew up in Chennai.

Website : www.manujoseph.com

Novels

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Dear Little Readers,

I am very happy to be in touch with you through this beautiful blog. Like you, I love reading books. I love writing too. As a young boy my ambition in life was to write exactly like the authors of all my favourite fairy tales. It took me a few years to realize that I should write only like one person: I.

I am sure many of you will be authors, poets and playwrights in the future. My advice to you is think simple and be yourself.

Lots of love to each of you.

Anees  Salim

Anees Salim is the author of three books.

THE VICKS MANGO TREE (HarperCollins 2011)
THE BLIND LADY’S DESCENDANTS (Amaryllis 2011)
TALES FROM A VENDING MACHINE (HarperCollins 2012)

Anees Salim, Creative Head, Draftfcb Ulka Kochi, made his literary debut with the launch of his book, ‘The Vicks Mango Tree’ (Harper Collins) in October this year.

A school drop-out, Salim spent most of his growing up days in a home library. Salim, who calls himself an autodidact, spent his adolescent days travelling across India. In 1995, he joined Ulka as a trainee copywriter.

Salim has three more books coming out in the next two years. ‘Vanity Bagh’ (Picador) sketches the picture of a tiny Pakistan inside a big Indian city. ‘The Blind Lady’s Descendants’ (Amaryllis) is written as a suicide note of a young Muslim from a little known Indian town. ‘Tales From a Vending Machine’ (Harper Collins) is the hilarious story of a young girl employed at an airport coffee shop.

More about Anees Salim.  ( From http://www.exchange4media.com) Speaking on his new book, Salim shared, “‘The Vicks Mango Tree’ is essentially about the Emergency, a period millions of Indians consider as the darkest chapter of India’s history. I was too young to understand its meaning and implications when it happened. But I remember listening to people, mostly women, who supported it because they had blind faith in Indira Gandhi. And, of course, there were people who were totally upset about the Emergency, but they were as quiet about it as the censored newspapers. The Emergency was one thing I had always wanted to write a book about, even as a schoolboy.”

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Dear Children,
Welcome to the magical world of books .Books have given given endless happiness to me in life. They have been constant friends and guides.They have transported me into worlds about which I had no idea . Every book that have read has changed me as a person in some way or the other .They have been my valuable companions in this journey called life. Please accept their friendship and you can also enjoy what I have enjoyed since childhood-the romance of reading! Happy Redaing, Kids. ..
Jaskiran Chopra, journalist, author and teacher from Dehra Dun.
I have been working as a professional journalist since 1985. I am working with “The Pioneer” now. My books, “Jashne-e-Tanhai” (a collection of Urdu and Hindi poetry ) and “Autumn Raga” (A novel in English )were published in 2004 and 2011 respectively. I also teach at Doon University, a state government University in Dehra Dun. Reading is a passion with me and so is writing.I earlier worked with United News of India and the Times of India.
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Dear readers,
Being a dynamic woman of letters – and being a dedicated mother of two adorable tiny tots – it is small wonder that  Lekshmy Rajeev felt compelled to revive the fast dying reading habit in children of the digital era and is planning to open ”The Little Readers’ Club’ on the auspiciuos day of VijayadashamiThe children of Thiruvananthapurum, between the ages of five and a half and ten are indeed very fortunate that this club will be offering them a treasure trove of interesting books that is sure to enrich their English language learning and literacy, which will stand them in good stead in the years to come. May the club scale great heights of success and accomplish its noble mission of inculcating the
much-needed reading habit in our children.
All the best !
Nalini Vijayaraghavan  W/ o Padmashri  Dr. Vijayaraghavan ,Vice Chairman, KIMS Hospital,  is a voracious reader, writer, artist and homemaker.
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Dear Children,
Reading is one of the most delightful of hobbies. Reading is the magic elevator which carries us up or down  into other universes. Every book takes us to yet another world created by the author. I would say it is like a virtual tour of the slices of lives of other people when it is fiction or a thriller. If it is non fiction, it is also experiencing the delight of exploring and finding out facts and information that we didn’t know till now. SciFi is another fascinating field to explore through reading.
Good Luck !

Jija Madhavan Hari Singh, IPS ( Retd)

Former DGP & Commandant General Home Guards, Karnataka.

She is the founder of Art Mantram. https://www.facebook.com/art.mantram.5

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Which was the first book I read? I tried recollecting, but no title comes to mind. All I remember is that as a child I knew that be it a birthday gift, or a prize for doing well in school, the gift wrapped packet could only be a book! Other than playing with friends the only way we spent our time was reading, exchanging books with friends, competing amongst our group of friends to get ahead in reading a series of Enid Blyton’s utterly gripping adventure series. If there was no new book around, the same book would be read again! There was great joy in reading a story that had already been told to us by an elder, because the stories from the Ramayana or the Panchatantra became richer in memory, with the descriptions that I came across in the printed word.  Books have always been around to liven up my days. Thank God for Books!

Best Wishes  ! Bhawani Cheerath
Bhawani Cheerath is an independent journalist whose interests lie in the arts, heritage, films, and women’s studies, her articles have been carried by major English dailies.  
Major Works. Malayalam translations of two Bangla titles – ‘Gosaibaaner Bhooth’ by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and ‘Tagore Kathakal Kuttikalku’ (a collection of 30 stories by the poet – laureate) by Bhawani have been published by the Kerala State Institute for Children’s Literature.
Email  :  bcdemail@gmail.com
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Dear children,
My story telling experience was largely gathered from my grandmother and my mother. Not just the epics, they opened up the world of folk tales to me as well as poetry and songs. By learning to read and hear stories, you will realize how wide and beautiful this world is, how diverse and different from what you already know. And that’s the delight that will make you fun-loving, understanding, friendly and open-minded. Be ready to ask questions, such as “Why did Sita go to the forest and not stay back with Rama?”; or, “Did Ekalavya’s parents tell Drona how cruel he was for demanding their son’s thumb?”, and even, “Doesn’t Little Red Riding Hood finally teach the wolf a lesson?” Stories are a great way to become storytellers yourself. So, read and tell us all your stories, little authors!
Love.
-NABINA DASNabina Das is the author of the debut novel Footprints in the Bajra (Cedar Books, New Delhi). Her book was longlisted in the prestigious “Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2011″. An MFA (Poetry) from Rutgers University, US, and an MA (Linguistics) from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, Nabina’s poetry collection Into the Migrant City, the product of an Associate Fellowship and residency with Sarai-CSDS (New Delhi) in 2010, is forthcoming from Writers Workshop. Another short fiction collection titled The House of Twining Roses is forthcoming from LiFi Publications, in early 2013. Nabina’s poetry and prose have been published in several international journals and anthologies, the latest being The Yellow Nib: Modern English Poetry by Indians, Queen’s University, Belfast. Nabina is also a contributor to Prairie Schooner literary journal from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, US, and is in the peer review committee of The Four Quarters Magazine literary journal published from northeast India. Winner of several writing residencies and fellowships (2012 Charles Wallace Fellowship in Creative Writing, University of Stirling, UK, and 2012 Sangam House Lavanya Sankaran Fiction Fellowship being the latest ones), Nabina has won prizes in major poetry contests such as the 2009 Prakriti Foundation Open Contest, 2009-10 UNISUN Reliance Poetry Contest and 2008 Open Space-HarperCollins Poetry Contest. A 2007 Joan Jakobson fiction scholar (Wesleyan University, US) and 2007 Julio Lobo fiction scholar (Lesley University, US), she has worked in journalism and media for about 10 years (The Ithaca Journal, US; Tehelka news portal, Delhi). Trained in Indian classical music, she has performed in radio/TV programs and performed in street theater. Nabina blogs athttp://nabinadas13.wordpress.com/ when not writing, teaches Creative Writing in classrooms and workshops and dabbles in writing about art in words.
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Best Wishes !     Email. devdutt-at-devdutt-dot-com.

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist and author whose works focus largely on the areas of myth, mythology, and also management.

Latest Books . Please visit  http://devdutt.com/  for an exciting array of  children’s books.

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Dear Children,
 
As you read,every book opens up to you like a secret garden . Its flowers and scents will become yours forever,making it a place you can enter again and again, as often as you like— no matter where you are and how old you might grow.
 
Love
 Mini Krishnan
Editor-Translations Oxford University Press
 
Mini Krishnan is from Kerala and she  is the Concept and Series Editor of Living in Harmony a Peace Education programme of books (OUP) which brought together writers from different faiths to prepare lessons on Value Education for Indian school-goers . She is, besides, Member, National Translation Mission Member, NCERT Focus Group on Peace Education, NCF 2005 .Founding Editor, South Asia Women Writers website hosted by the British Council Charles Wallace Fellow 1992 On the jury, Sahitya Akademi English language awards .She has served on the Film Censor Board,Southern Chapter and on the Nominating Panel for the Magsaysay Award in Arts and Journalism and writes on translation and peace advocacy in journals and newspapers.
 
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Dear Kids,

Like most of you, I was brought up on simple, honest and often character building stories by my grand mother. Those 5 minute stories, heard at night in my ancestral village, went on to play an important part in my life. Remember, reading or listening to stories, of whatever nature, will help you understand the various ways in which a particular event is conveyed to you. You will be richer when you end a story, and I request you to question, and re-question, all your doubts. Leave none to ambiguity. A story is not just a narration, it is an event which will have an impact on your life, big or small. So enjoy them as much as you can, for you will look back at them with pleasant memories when you grow up to be responsible young citizens of this country.
Have fun, and remember to question,

Cheers,
Amit, your friend.

Senior Sub-Editor/ Correspondent ·The Economic Times

Amit Kumar was born and brought up in the industrial town of Bokaro Steel City, Jharkhand on 7 May,1 986. After completing his schooling from Bokaro, he went on to do his graduation in History (hons.) from the Delhi University. After graduation, he did his post graduation in Journalism from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai in 2008. Since 2009, Amit worked with the international news agency, Reuters. For the past two years, he has been working with India’s largest business daily, The Economic Times, in Delhi as a Senior Copy Editor. He loves to listen to old Hindi music and read books on history. He can be reached at amitamit86@gmail.com

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Dear Children,
My first gods came to me from the pages of books—from the Ramayana for Children that my grandparents gifted me. When I was too small, they read out the stories to me. In time, I started reading on my own, and books took me on such fascinating journeys! From the adventures of a little bird that was smart despite its size to the voyages of Sinbad the Sailor—I could travel around the world through just words.Books are friends we can carry anywhere, even if can’t take our real friends everywhere we go. So friends, enjoy all your book pals and have a happy Navratri!

Bhaswati Ghosh  writes and translates fiction and non-fiction. Her first work of translation from Bengali into English–My Days with Ramkinkar Baij–has been published by Delhi-based Niyogi Books in January 2012. This work also won her the Charles Wallace (India) Trust Fellowship for translation in 2009. Her stories have appeared in Letters to My Mother andMy Teacher is My Hero– anthologies of true stories published by Adams Media. Bhaswati has a background in journalism and has contributed to several websites (includingHumanities UndergroundGlobal Graffiti,The Four Quarters MagazineParabaasAsia Writes) and print magazines (Teenage Buzz, ByLine, Cause and Effect). She has written for major Indian dailies such as The Times of IndiaThe Statesman and The Pioneer.  She is seeking agents/publishers for her non-fiction book-length work, Making Out in America, a humorous, anecdotal account of her brush with American English.

Bhaswati currently lives in Toronto, Canada.

Email bhashwati@gmail.com

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Dear Children,

The first book I remember reading is a child’s version of Ramayana by the children’s writer Mali. Titled Mali Ramayana, the book, written in Malayalam was my regular bed time read. In parallel, I read and re-read an abridged version of the Swiss Family Robinson, the classic; this was of course an English book. I remember, on many a night when I waited for sleep, I tried to imagine myself as one among the stranded family on a lonely island. It was a delicious feeling, the characters of the books you read just before you nodded off into sleep visiting you in that twilight zone between wake and sleep; some of them following you into the kingdom of sleep. I used to get this recurring dream of a blue sea, with waves in the middle and calm on the beaches and me on a boat with Bhim, looking for a lonely island to land. I always woke up before we landed, so the dream used to go on for ever.

The Navratri season was special even then, not because of the celebrations, but because for three whole days, we laid down our books on the mandap before the Supreme Goddess, ostensibly to get blessings for a great year ahead in studies. Although, for many children, even reading bill boards was taboo at this time, my parents gave me a huge concession,I could read story books. So the Puja was a season to wait for, to read as much as you could, and I used to store books for the season like a mean ant.
Now, I remember those three days in October as the best of my life. Uninterrupted reading, which gave me my best strength, words. Goddess Saraswathi, the one who wields the power of words and all art, has stayed on with me all these years. I believe now that the marathon reading spree I undertook in those years has been the best prayer I ever gave up to God. The prayer that was answered.

All the best !

Suneetha Balakrishnan is from Kerala and she  writes and translates into two languages, English and Malayalam. Her poetry and fiction have been included in anthologies in India and abroad. She is a journalist by profession and her articles have appeared in print and online in The Hindu, The Business Standard, The Caravan, The Reading Hour, Muse India and thehoot.org. She has also been certified by the British Council as a Creative Writing Trainer. An alumnus of the Sangam House International Residency in its first season, Suneetha is now working at her first novel. You can read more from her at http://suneethaspeaks.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/

2 comments on “Blessings for the club !

  1. Pingback: Vacation Dampened; Lover-King Mahishasura; Pep Talk for Kid readers | nabinadas13

  2. this is an excellant venture…..our thoughts and childhood memories are always filled with books like russian folk stories, n greek myths etc..may this can be inculcated to our children also…

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