Udaipur Author and story teller Arefa Tehsin’s book, The Elephant Bird, has been chosen for this years ‘One Day One Story’ event organized by Pratham Books. Written by Arefa Tehsin and illustrated by Sonal Goyal And Sumit Sakhuja, this story is about a magical bird, and a brave and curious child! This story could be used to talk about themes of friendship, courage, endangered species and more. The story, which is available in 7 languages was translated by community volunteers into 8 more languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, Punjabi, Assamese and is going to be shared by volunteers in 25 languages.
Over 3000 storytellers will be enthralling children across India with the story of The Elephant Bird to celebrate International Literacy Day. Storytelling is a powerful and attractive tool to spread the love of books and reading. For the fifth year running, Pratham Books brings the magic of storytelling to children across the country and beyond through its volunteers, called Pratham Books Champions. Every year around International Literacy Day, Pratham Books conducts its ‘One Day One Story’ campaign. It gives an excellent opportunity to individuals and organizations to connect with the children of their neighborhood or city and share the beauty of storytelling in their native language.
The main aim is to create an ecosystem that fosters reading and make reading fun. Pratham Books Champions project is a volunteer-driven, self-organized, customized, localized series of storytelling events.
From 250 volunteers in its first year, the campaign has grown to 3000+ volunteers who will go on to conduct 3200+ storytelling sessions across India. This year’s event is taking place on 10th September, 2016. From sessions in villages across multiple states to those in city apartments, from government schools to private schools, from education centers in small taluks of the country to the Pranab Mukherjee Presidential Library, the sessions are going to be accessible to a diverse set of children!
The format of this campaign gives the storytellers a lot of flexibility to choose the time and venue, find the kids you want to share the story with and spin your own version of the tale. “You are a cripple only if you think you are. My disabled grandmother Khurshid Banu Tehsin, an initiator of women’s education movement in Rajasthan, always said. And Munia believes the same. Who knows, when you go out there in nature, what unexpected friendships you’d form, what fears and disabilities you’d overcome? It is so heartwarming for me to see The Elephant Bird, which was hunted down to extinction in recent past, come alive in the hearts of thousands of children across borders of states and neighborhoods,” says Arefa Tehsin, author.
According to Renu Seth, Head of the Second Chance Program, Pratham, “This year, we also conducted orientations for Anganwadi workers of Ahmedabad (urban and rural) because we thought that if they also understood the importance of storytelling, and its impact, it would make storytelling in class happen in the true spirit. Sometimes, these small ‘how to do’ sessions act as a support and encouragement for many of us.”
“Our aim is to have a cohort of volunteers whose interest can be sparked through these storytelling sessions – enabling them to become long term champions of reading. Through their own interest and drive, they can add much more value to this program than a simple event that we can organize on a one-off basis. The volunteers also support each other through suggestions and conversations – thus fostering the true feeling of a community”, says Maya Hemant Krishna, Community and Outreach Manager at Pratham Books.
The campaign, which was launched 5 years ago has also been featured in the Limca Book of Records for hosting the largest number of volunteer driven reading sessions on a single day. Many times, this event becomes a stepping stone for people to start engaging with kids in their own communities and conduct sustained reading programs, after the event. This annual celebration of reading has transformed into a reading movement that connects volunteers to the children who have less or no access to books or storytelling.
A few pictures earlier Book reading sessions will give our readers an idea of the reach and intensity of the program.
If you missed hearing about this campaign earlier, you can still participate by Clicking Here.
Further, you can attend one of the public events by Clicking Here.
About the Author
Arefa Tehsin is an author, columnist and ex-Honorary Wildlife Warden, Udaipur. She contributes to national dailies and magazines like The Hindu, Outlook Money, Terra Green etc. She is the author of fiction and non-fiction books like Iora & the Quest of Five, Do Tigers Drink Blood & 13 Other Mysteries of Nature, The Land of the Setting Sun & Other Nature Tales (this book has been taken up as textbook for English at Ecole Mondiale World School), Tales from the Wild, Steed of the Jungle God and The Elephant Bird: a picture book in six languages selected for the International Literacy Day Campaign, 2016. Her latest book is ‘Wild in the Backyard’ published by Penguin.