Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bright Sparks @ Delhi

Einsteins, Aryabhattas, C V Raman all came alive at the Katha run school Katha Khazana at Govindpuri as the school organized a Fresh Fiction Festival on Friday.
The hot topic of debate was Extreme Science. Under this Memory Game, Spelling Bee, Spin Game, Tongue Twister, Cartoon Contest events were held that were open to all students of the school.

Kids enjoying themselves, dressed up as ants.

In the Discovery and Documentary films section, Children were shown films on the Destination Mars, The Earth surface, and The Solar system.

Clay models and craft work were made from waste material in the hands on activities section. The pre-school children enjoyed the Ants Game (Chhoti jaan Kaam Mahaan) before breaking into fun and frolic of Jingle Bells.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A shrine for illustrators ...

Esha Birnur & Anand Gurnani, from the popular website for animation, speak with Katha's Managing Editor, Dr Rizio Yohannan Raj, about Katha, its books, illustrators, and their space.

In these days of crass commercialization, it is rare to find a commercial entity that pursues its artistic ideals with zeal.

Close to two decades into the publishing industry and Delhi based Katha Publications still pursues the proverb "A picture is better than a thousand words" with full vigor. Set up in 1988, by Geeta Dharmarajan, Katha, in its eighteen years of existence, has come up with many brilliantly illustrated books and also won many accolades and awards.

Strongly positioned as a publishing house that gives creative freedom and space to its illustrators, Katha has worked with a range of artists, from multiple Award winners to 10 year old first timers. Katha`s Managing Editor Rizio Raj shared with Animation "As a publisher we are very serious about promoting talent. The illustrator should have a versatile style and the quality of his/her work should be good. We encourage variety from page to page so that all pages don`t look alike giving them a portrait look and feel. The layout should be exciting, encourage a variety of illustrations-paint, photography, pastels, computer-generated art, needlecraft, clay and so on. For example, we have worked with award winning illustrators like Sonali Biswas, Sudipto Basu, Vandana Bist and at the same time have also worked with Ragini Siruguri who is all of 10 years old. Ragini has illustrated her mother Sadhana Ramchander`s "Autorickshaw Blues" for Katha, with special help from Taposhi Ghoshal" added Raj.

At Katha, different illustrators follow different ways of illustrating. For instance, Sonali Biswas who received the Chitra Katha Award 2003 for Outstanding Illustrations for The Lonely Unicorn, a story-counting book published by Katha.

Biswas who has also received the runner-up award from Noma Concours for Children`s Book Illustrations in 2000 first reads the text and then illustrates according to how she interprets it and then lays emphasis on the small details. She adds elements of delight, nudges the imagination of the child, creating an atmosphere where the imagination of the child can go wild.

"Katha gives one the freedom to imagine. It listens to the illustrator and understands that both the illustration and story are complimentary to each other. Also, it doesn`t follow the market but is idealistic. Katha tries to bring out contemporary issues such as health, environment, wildlife and education, where a child not only reads but gets an all round development." shared Sonali.

So what makes the best of illustration talent want to work with Katha?

For Sudipto Basu, a renowned illustrator and the winner of the Katha Chitrakala Award 2002 for The Song of a Scarecrow, a picture book written and illustrated by him, it is the freedom, which one gets at Katha. "Katha focuses on quality and content and gives a lot of freedom to design. An illustrator needs to breathe and Katha gives you that space to do so. Illustrations should look pretty and must be logically connected to the story and should concentrate on the plot as well enhance it."

Katha`s illustrations tell a story themselves be it characters such as Dadoo, the frog or Unicorn or Tiloo puppy, these illustrations are not only beautiful but a story in themselves. One look at them and instantly the child connects with the book.

For Vandana Bist, who has illustrated Surangini and The Princess with the Longest Hair for Katha, the text is very visual and supports the illustrations. In 1988, she was awarded the encouragement prize in the Children`s Picture Book Competition organised by the Noma Concours Foundation, Japan. Her work has been exhibited in Japan and Bratislava.

MD Rizio Raj concluded, "At Katha we follow certain guidelines when it comes to the quality of the illustrations. We do not encourage static illustrations and believe in work that can give the effect of visual movement and make the characters look alive. Expressions on faces and in posture are absolutely vital and it is also essential that a character appears to be of the same person from page to page, not young, old, tall or short versions. Attention is paid to the description that the text offers where the readers will compare what the author describes with what has been depicted."

Way to go!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Katha Chennai's Christmas Workshops

It's Xmas!
As you know, KATHA is actively involved in popularizing Indian literature and the art of story-telling. We believe in bringing back the joy of listening to a story, to a generation of kids who have grown up on the TV and Internet.
And now, Katha's back with Christmas Workshops, in Chennai!

Katha is now organizing a workshop module for children in the age group of 4 - 8 years, from the 23rd of December, 2006 to the 27th December, 2006. The workshops will have fun-filled sessions with creative activities that are connected to Katha's brilliant and marvelously illustrated stories, activities that make the child think, and expand his or her perceptions. Each session will be for 1 and a 1/2 hours, from 11.30 AM to 1 PM each day. The session will be a combination of story-telling and activities based on/connected to the stories.
The Workshops will be held @ ...

8, 1st Main Road,
Karpagam Gardens,
Chennai 600 020
Phone No: (044) 4211 4326
Media Mentions:

The Dates: 23rd December - 27th December 2006

Timings: 11.30 AM - 1 PM.

Age Group: 4 - 8 Years.

We're charging a very nominal fee of Rs. 500 for the entire module.
The last day for registration is 22nd December.

Join us on a merry ride, kids!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kalki comes to the Capital!

The racy Tamil historical novel, Kalki’s Parthiban Kanavu translated into English by Gita Rajan as "Parthiban’s Dream," drew students from various schools across Delhi to participate in the story reading and activity workshop at Partyzone, India Habitat Centre on Saturday 9 December 2006.

The program began with a brief introduction about the book, Parthiban's Dream. This book witnesses the times of the great Pallavas and Cholas, the royal intrigues and conspiracies and the exploits of the great Narasimha Varman that has inspired storytellers down the ages.

Introducing the author, R Krishnamurthy popularly known as "Kalki" was born in 1899 at Puttamangalam in Thanjavur district in an orthodox Brahmin family. Inspired by patriotic ideals, Kalki left school to join Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. Kalki has 35 volumes of short stories, novels, essays, travelogues and biographies to his credit. The phenomenal success of Kalki’s novels can be attributed to three factors – his gift of storytelling, the abundance of humour in his writings and his portrayal of the cultural and social aspects of the nation and the times.

Narrating extracts from the book, storyteller Nupur Awasthi said that Parthiban’s Dream was penned by a man considered to be a pioneer in historical novels in Tamil literature. A story of epic proportions, it presented various little known facts to every child. Getting the children to open up, the storyteller asked whether the children knew "Who was Kalki - the much awaited tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu?’’

She asked the children to introduce themselves with similes. After reading a few paragraphs, the storyteller gave handy tips of temples in south India and showed some photographs of the temple town Kanchipuram. The children also enacted a few lines from the book. One became a king, one the daughter and the other the boatman. Some of the children also sketched temples.

To add more substance to the event, students from DTEA School presented a Shruti- "Vara veena mridupani..." Some of those present there joined in the singing too. Kalki too was a great musician. Some of the schools who sent their students, include Bluebells International, Katha Khazana, Mother’s International, St. Mary’s, Hans Raj Model, The Banyan Tree, DTEA and K R Mangalam.

The book has been well illustrated by Srisrividhiya K or Srivi, a designer, writer and a visualizer. She holds a masters degree with distinction in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College and is currently pursuing her masters in Arts in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is focused on the areas of developing media for children and using art as a means for creative thinking in Children.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New Releases, for the New Year ...

Katha is delighted to announce the arrival of its latest releases, featured in ...

A delightful story that combines mythology and contemporary environmental issues, Ma Ganga and the Razai Box tells us something we have overlooked – that Ma Ganga is miffed.
Written by: Geeta Dharmarajan
Illustrated by: Sonali Biswas
Category: Children's Fiction

Satyadas is a simple allegorical tale of changing fortunes and the exit of humane values at the advent of material well-being and prosperity.

Written by: Bimal Kar
Ilustrated by: Neeta Gangopadhya
Category: Young Adult Fiction


In her refreshingly subjective style, Merle Kröger portrays the tenuous connections between reel and real life, the past and the present, and with chilling perception, depicts the clash of stark Hamburg reality with the Bollywood dream factory.

Written by: Merle Kröger
Translated by: Rubaica Jaliwala
Category: Adult Fiction

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

King Parthiban's Dream ...

Katha is proud to present you ...

... one of Thamizh's sparkling writers of history and adventure. From the pen of the master, Kalki R Krishnamurthy, flows Parthiban's Dream, expertly translated by Gita Rajan, and magnificently illustrated by Srivi.

A story of epic proportions spanning dynasties, Parthiban's Dream is realized on a landscape that resounds as much with heroic war cries as it is awash with the tenderness of familial and romantic love.

Witness the times of the great Pallavas and Cholas, the royal intrigues and conspiracies and the exploits of the great Narasimha Verman that has inspired storytellers down the ages. A heady mix of history and legend, with Parthiban's Dream, we bring the inimitable Kalki to you.

Katha invites you to storytelling workshop on Kalki's "Parthiban's Dream"
Eatopia, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Saturday, December 9, 2006
from 9.45 am to 12 noon

Entry is free for kids in the 5 - 15 age group.

Join us on a magical trip back through the centuries!

Book: Parthiban's Dream
Publishers: Katha
Age Group: Young Adults, 12 +
ISBN 81-89020-64-1
Price: Rs 150 [PB]

For more details about the workshop, please contact Lakshmi Ramakrishna, Media Relations Officer, @ Tel:(91.11) 26521752 Ext 25

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Queen from the Sky ...

The Sky Queen

The clouds form her silken white robes. Her sweat and tears are running water and rain. Her voice rings out in the sweet songs of the birds and humming insects. She is Nyanyi Myete of the lovely, ever changing natural world, the glorious celestial aunt of the Kojum-Koja.

The New Indian Express
(School Magazine, July 12, 2006)

What strikes us most about Mamang Dai's The Sky Queen is its bright colour illustrations that are sprawled across the 30 odd pages of the book.

The author weaves out a fairytale, about a civilisation called Kojum-Koja, and how on the occasion of the Pime, tragedy befell them. The land of the Kojum-Koja is devastated by floods and gales, and is wiped off from the face of the Earth.

The second part of the book witnesses the rise of Nyanyi Myete, the lady of the Kojum family out of the ruins. With her sweet songs and music, she once again breathes life into the world.

The illustrations in the book are done in bright colours, mainly bold pastels. The gaiety and festivity held during the course of the story, are well depicted through the illustrations, along with the costumes and jewellery of the north east Indian community.

Mamang spins an adorable folk tale around the bounty of nature, and paints a pretty picture through her pen, of tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.

- Sujata Chakrabarti

About the author

Mamang Dai

About the illustrator


Publishers: Katha
Age Group : 5 - 8 Years
32 pages, size 8.25 x 6
ISBN 81-89020-32-3
Price: Rs 75

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