Thursday, April 19, 2007

Daddoo's Day Out

Daddoo, the little frog, decides to do something different on her day out ... A lively book that celebrates friendship and introduces children to the world of animals, colours and sizes.

The New Indian Express
(Wednesday, April 18, 2007)
Does Daddoo’s Day Out remind you of the popular film, baby’s Day Out? This book, written and illustrated by Prabjhot Kaur is somewhere on the same lines and even won the Runner-Up Prize at the 10th Noma Concours for Picture Book Illustrations!

The story revolves around Daddoo, a cute young frog, who lives in a small pond with her mother (Ma) and her friends. Her life goes on happily until one day when Daddoo gets bored of doing the same things everyday and decides that it was high time she went exploring into the outer world and made new friends.

The story is all about Daddoo’s day out in the world that lay beyond her small pond, where she meets other animals like a black snake, white swans, and an alligator! By the time she makes her escape from Mr Alligator, it becomes dark and even starts raining, leaving poor Daddoo miserable, under a mushroom’s umbrella. How Daddoo realizes her folly and how she gets back home is what the rest of the story is all about.

The story has illustrations in bright and bold colours that merge into each other to give an adventurous feel to the story. They are present in all pages and have been done in a very novel style, with a lot of lines in them. They are used to convey certain ideas that cannot actually be put forward with words alone and the language used through out the story is very lucid and easy to understand.

The story’s concept or more popularly called ‘the moral’ has been subtly expressed and clearly explains to the Gen-X, what a nightmare, leaving home at such a tender age, could turn out to be. The way in which Daddoo, at the end of her day out, says, “I want to go home!” strikes a chord with the readers and clearly portrays how lost a child can feel without the protection of his/her family and friends.

The author has taken the fact that children no longer want to stick to their roots, thanks to the increase in individualism in our society, and has spun a simple but impressive story that tells us what the consequences of such a rash decision can be.
Tips for parents and teachers:

A great read-aloud book to share with a young child.
A beginner’s book for children learning to read.
The story with its view of life in a small pond and the larger forest can be used as a supplementary reader in the classroom.

The Author & Illustrator
Publishers: Katha
Also available in Hindi
Age Group: 5-8 years
Statistics: 24 pages size 10 x 8
ISBN 81-87649-94-1 [PB]
ISBN 81-89020-13-7 [Hindi]
Price: Rs 75 [PB]
Rs 50 [Hindi]

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Lingers for long ...

The Daily Pioneer

Not flowers of henna is a collection of 15 short stories. These stories are a translation of Kamleshwar, the noted Hindi litterateur. Usually whenever a novel is translated into any other language it loses its essence but the beauty of these stories is that in spite of being translated into English they have not lost their impact. The book also includes the much acclaimed Not flowers of henna (kitne Pakistan) one of the authors finest novels.Take for example the story The Wait, nowhere does one feel that it was not originally written in English. This because the translator, Jai Ratan has equal command over three languages - Hindi, Urdu and English. Though it is true not all stories are able to retain their original impact or the message they are able to convey to the reader.

The stories are moving bringing about the pathos of the people like in the case of The River of Flesh. It's about how Jugnu, the main character goes on with her life.

That despite the fact that everybody is aware of the fact that she is unwell, she has to get on with her job because without that she would not get any money for her treatment. When she falls ill the second time she is forced to borrow from her so called customers and the only option left for her is to pay them back by servicing them. It is another matter that they take advantage of her situation and the debt seems to be endless.

On the whole the author has dealt with each story with such sensitivity that at the end of it you realise that life is not about the big events. It is made up of little and small experiences man goes through in his everyday life.
- Shalini Sakena
The Author
The Translator
Jai Ratan
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Category: Katha Hindi Library
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 204 Pages [PB]
Price: Rs 250 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

These are my Children

Poignant, bittersweet, earthy. Nine heartwarming slices of life from Goa about empty nests, affections betrayed, relations made and unmade.The entanglements and entailments of human feeling echo through this engaging gallimaufry of stories from the pen of one of Goa's finest writers. In this deeply sensitive translation from the Konkani, These Are My Children mirrors a Goa that may have changed with time yet holds on steadfastly to a character and energy that is all its own.

The Statesman
(Thursday, 12th April, 2007)
From the Katha stable comes the book These are my Children by Konkani writer, Damodar Mauzo, which has been translated by Xavier Cota into English. The book narrates stories from Goa that speak of affections, love, betrayal and relations made and unmade. Human feelings are aplenty in these nine beautiful portrayals by one of Goa's finest writers.

Rich in vocabulary and few characters, the nine not-so-short stories have strong characters – rich and poor, good and evil – that impart an important message. Whether it is living in harmony or treating the rich and poor as equal or even debating the righteousness of someone’s actions; the stories are educative and important for character building.

The entanglements and entailments of human feelings echo through this engaging range of stories. In this deeply sensitive translation, changes with time that have entered Goa are spoken of but repeatedly narrates the character and energy that is typical; of the place. How Goa through its very strong characteristic customs and values retains its old world charm in spite of the ever-growing changes engulfing the new world is the main theme behind the book.

The Vow is a story about a priest and an old man. The priest finds solace in treating the needy., telling people about God and His grace while the old man shows strength of character by keeping a vow that a mother once kept to get her son back. The priest deeply moved by the old man’s faith, devotion and fatherly affection, learns more about life and God through him.

When sons go awry and do not listen to their father, sometimes young age and deep conviction in one’s abilities leads the youthful, intelligent men onto a path of their own. Minguel’s Kin is also the story of a man whose son goes away to prove his mettle without the help of his father and his money.

The story sharing the name of the book is These are my Children. This story narrates the woes of an old woman in Goa who bore three children, Abel, Anthony and Angela but all three of them go to foreign lands leaving her alone. She loves the coconut trees in her yard as they are named after her children reminding her of them and keeping her company. When the notice to hand over the land to the government is served so that a train path can be laid there, she is troubled as now with the land would go her children (the trees) she had nurtured with immense care and great love. Here is an excerpt from the story, These are my Children.

It was a nightmare. She tossed and turned the whole night long.

The three saplings she had planted in the names of her children had grown into healthy coconut trees. She had lavished those young plants with all the maternal love that couldn’t reach her children across the seas. They weren’t just like her children. They were her very own Angela, Anthony and Abel.

“Don’t pour your heart out for them, dear,” Diniz would chide. “After all, they’re only trees. What if one of them falls in a storm, tomorrow?”

And she would be furious. “Why should the tree fall? If it must, then may it fall on me! If it’s ruined, may I be ruined with it!”

- Aroma Sah.
The author

The Translator
Xavier Cota

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Category: Katha Konkani Library
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Secrets of Kalindi

Have you ever had the urge to protect an elephant from poachers? Or work with a scientist who's doing research in solar energy? Have you wished for the power to motivate a whole village or help a group of women achieve their dreams?

If you are looking for action, adventure and fun, then this is the book for you. The Secrets of Kalindi has many, many stories within it, and many, many endings. You are the star of this book. You decide what you want to do! So go ahead and choose the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that will make your picture. Learn a little about how you can help Planet Earth - our only home. Happy adventuring!

Hindustan Times
(December 13, 1998)

Have fun reading and enjoy the puzzles too.
(The Hub for Kids in Chennai)

This book is no ordinary book. In this book you literally write your own story! You should not read this book from the first page to the last. Read till the end of a page and choose from the options open to you. This will take you on different trails.This example is worth noting!You and your friends are ready to go on a two-day excursion to Kalindi Kunj. You reach the place by nightfall and you go to sleep. The next morning you find that you are up before everyone else. You feel that there is time for a little exploration. You have the following options:If you want walk to the ruins go to page 50If you want to go off on your own turn to page 8 If you decide to stay with the group go to page 6...

The story keeps branching! The rest is up to you. You are the one who chooses the path.With eye-catching illustrations and mysterious touch, ‘The Secrets of Kalindi’ has many stories within it that leads you to different endings. Brought out by Katha Publishers, this book is by Geeta Dharmarajan and is priced at Rs. 75.

- J Anirudh, Class 9, Sri Sankara Senior Secondary School, Adyar
The Author
Geeta Dharmarajan
The Illustrator
Atanu Roy

Publishers: Katha
Category: Katha Books for Children/Balkatha/A Jaldi Adventure Book
Statistics: 80 pages
ISBN 81-85586-44-6 [PB]
Price: Rs 75 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Igniting young minds

The dreams of thousands of children in Delhi's slums are lost in poverty. As part of a unique initiative, a Delhi-based NGO has set up Asia'a first computer clubhouse. Suruchi Khubchandani reports.
Amidst the chaotic traffic signals of the Capital, the race among them to get going is what we witness everyday. Often clad in torn clothes, these innocent faces make for a heart-wrenching sight.

Statistics affirm that there are about 100 million children who live on the streets in our country today. Sans any respite, most of them starve, dwell in unhygienic conditions and bear the burden of virtually parenting their siblings. Education or brush with technology is unthinkable.

But for a Delhi-based NGO, Katha, the status quo wouldn't have ever changed, at least in the Govind Puri slum cluster of south Delhi. Katha, which has stemmed from the renowned publishing house with the same name, had with the initative of Geeta Dharmarajan kick-started a literacy project, It started with just five children in the slums of Govind Puri way back in 1988. In a small setting at Sarvodaya Enclave three months back, the NGO gave shape to Intel's first Computer Clubhouse in the Asia-Pacific region besides giving a reason to the street and slum kids to smile. Not that they no longer feel the need to go and beg for alms or do nitty-gritty jobs at the traffic junctions, the enticement of a new technology, is helping hold their steps back.

The rendezvous with computers for these children starts every morning and afternoon, when the vans known as the 'Tamasha Road Vans (TRS) collect them from areas such as INA, RK Puram, Hauz Rani and Saket. Says coordinator Rajesh, Exploring various keys of the keyboard, their functions fascinated these children. With the passing days, they have learnt to draw and play on the computer and in the process have become familiar with many things including words. From the initial ''I can't' the proposition has changed to 'I can', they have knocked the T. More than 157 kids have visited the computer club and 50 have become regular. Besides divulging in Word programs, movie software and games, the children upto the age of 12 years, have transgresses to browsing the net.

But as it goes, the start is always a Herculean task and the computer club also found it difficult to attract and retain the children initially.

Starting from 10 children in the first month, the count increased. "It is not always easy to convince a child, more so if the child happens to be a breadwinner. These children have never been to a school so they are quite reluctant to follow a routine and use their thinking power. But when they come here, get acquainted with the computers and experience the thrill of operating one, they became quite regular. In fact, lately the numbers have increased to the extent that the TRS became jam-packed and children who were left out started running after it," adds Rajesh.

A spin-off of this set-up being that these children observing the well-dressed people doing rounds of the place have suddenly becomes conscious and aware of their own.

Amrita Talwar of Katha says, "They have become hygiene conscious and want to take a bath, comb their hair. In the long run, this exposure will instil lifelong learning skills in them, who are oblivious to such mannerisms."

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Katha is back with its Summer Workshops!

Summer visits Chennai in full force, and together with it comes Katha's refreshing array of workshops for children, this 2007, through April and May - with more stories, activities and games than ever before, designed and created especially for youngsters! Katha's Books for children and young adults transport them to a land of make-believe, yet root them to the very real world around them. Katha displays its superbly told stories this summer, through its story-telling workshops, with fresh perspectives in language, illustration and design - chosen with care to suit the target age group.

Katha wishes to leave a creative imprint on the fresh minds of children much before they take on the fine print of an adult world. Something that will linger on and colour their years to come.

Come, be a part of the fun-filled Katha family, and listen to our stories!

Katha will hold these workshops for children in the age group 3 - 9 years, on the following days in April:

Module I: April 9th - April 13th 2007

Module II: April 23rd to April 27th 2007

Age group: 3 - 9 years

Timings: 10.30 AM to 1.00 PM

Katha's storytellers will entice you with beautifully rendered tales, challenging activities and creative games. Workshops are scheduled for May as well.
The Summer Workshops will be held at:

No 8, 1st Main Road,
Karpagam Gardens,
Chennai 600 020

For further details, please feel free to call us at 4211 4326/94443 90134.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The man from Chinnamasta!

Goswami weaves into her narrative the turbulent history of Assam and her prose is marked by compassion and humanity. In the novel, we see the force with which the great weights of tradition and religious ritual come up against the dramatic urgency of change.

The Hindu, Literary Review
(Sunday, 1 April, 2007)

THE 65-year-old writer Indira Goswami has a dedicated readership in her native Assam, where she is known as Mamoni Baideo. Renowned for her knowledge of the Ramayana literature, she has been a faculty member in the Department of Modern Indian Languages at the University of Delhi; she has won several awards, including the Jnanpith Award in 2001; and it is a mark of her position of respect in the Assamese community that she was also, until recently, involved in peace talks between the Government and the ULFA militants of Assam.

Goswami's classic novel Chinnamastar Manuhto (The Man from Chinnamasta) is set around the 2,000-year-old Kamakhya Temple of the Sakta cult. Legend has it that this Shakti Peeth marks the spot where Sati's sacred yoni fell to the earth. The novel tells the story of Chinnamasta Jatadhari, a hermit who leads the effort for change in the cruel ritual of animal sacrifice, and others around him — notably Ratnadhar, the sensitive youth who falls to the ground and sobs when he sees a buffalo being dragged for its slaughter, and Dorothy Brown, the estranged wife of the college principal who comes to the Jatadhari seeking peace of mind.

It is not hard to see why Goswami is so well loved by her readers. Her prose is marked by compassion and humanity. She weaves into her narrative the turbulent history of the State, including the bitter defeat of the Ahom king at the hands of the Mughals in the 17th century, and the confrontation between the English forces and the Burmese at the end of the 18th. And in the 1920s setting of the novel, we see the force with which the great weights of tradition and religious ritual come up against the dramatic urgency of change.

In this aspect, The Man from Chinnamasta is also a courageous novel — for, at its heart is an impassioned protest against the horror of animal sacrifice. As a child, Goswami saw animal sacrifices being performed at the temple. The anguish of Ratnadhar, which reappears in one of her poems, draws its force from her childhood experience of witnessing this cruelty.

Vivid imagery

The novel begins by invoking the great river of Assam, the Brahmaputra, as a beast moving its "mighty shanks" as it flows. Ever the dramatic storyteller, her opening images contain hints of disease ("leucoderma victim"); deprivation ("widowed mother"); and even menace, later, where the curve of the river is described as "a sacrificial machete". And then, suddenly, the prose bursts forth to describe the glorious natural profusion of seuli, kendur, outenga, ashoka and khokan in the Nilachal hills. The Jatadhari himself strides on to the scene, "an ancient landmass arising from the water". Goswami's sentences are drenched with the green beauty of the landscape.

This spirited translation from the Asomiya, by Prashant Goswami, conveys a sense of the novel's vivid imagery. The translation was nominated for the Hutch Crossword Book Award 2006 in the category of Indian writing in translation.

Commendable project

And finally a word about the commendable Katha project, which has been working in the areas of language, culture and translation for close to two decades. What a difference it has made to the world of Indian writing! The elegantly designed books, with cover paintings by contemporary Indian artists (the Tyeb Mehta painting on the cover of this volume depicts the violence of the struggle between man and animal); the statement that 10 per cent of the cover price will go to help a child in one of the 17 Katha schools; the reassurance that Katha regularly plants trees to replace the wood used in the making of the books — it's a rare project that has so much integrity. Katha's greatest contribution has been in bringing to us newer and newer voices from all over this diverse nation, helping us to understand each other and ourselves.

The Author

Indira Goswami

The Translator

Prashant Goswami

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Cover Painting: Tyeb Mehta
Category: Katha Asomiya Library
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 200 pages
ISBN 81-89020-38-2 [PB]
Price: Rs 250 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Not Flowers of Henna

The Hindu, Literary Review
(Sunday, 1 April, 2007)
TWO months after his death, Katha has come out with a translation of 15 short stories penned by Kamleshwar in a literary career that began in 1946. Though the collection has been in the making for sometime now, it was hastened after his death in January this year.

All fresh translations by Jai Ratan, the collection is testimony to Kalmeshwar's belief that "life is not made up of a sequence of big catastrophes, but is woven out of the warp and woof of small everyday experiences". And, in each experience lies a story — be it as a signboard painter, night watchman, and scriptwriter for All India Radio or editor of a literary magazine. Only it requires a good narrator.

With 200 short stories, 10 novels, several film scripts including "Aandhi", "Mausam" and "Mr. Natwarlal", besides reams of editorial writing to his name, this collection is only representative of the corpus of work written by Kamleshwar.

For further details, go here.

To order your copy, write to us.

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