In 2016, I worked with Pratham Books’ Storyweaver project to commission a set of STEM books. The aim was to create fun, engaging picture books and illustrated books on various technology and engineering themes that could be used as supplementary to textbooks at the elementary level.
Since Pratham works with children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the challenge was to create books that were inclusive and not too urban-centred, and keeping in mind that the text would be translated to many languages. I eventually commissioned four books, the first of which is just out: Richa Jha’s Gul in Space
This is a story in verse about young Gul, who, as a birthday treat, goes for a spin in a rocket, headed to the International Space Station. And, you guessed it, weightlessness strikes! To idea behind the book was to talk about space and zero-gravity environments through Richa Jha’s fun poetry and Lavanya Karthik’s vibrant art work. Take a look at it in full glory:
The book is going to be out in print form soon, but for now is available online at StoryWeaver. For the uninitiated, StoryWeaver is an open-source resource for stories in multiple languages. The stories on the site are available for reading, downloading, printing, translating, illustrating and re-levelling.
All stories and illustrations on StoryWeaver are available under open licenses. Which means we give people the right to share, use or even build upon the creative work that is available here. All tools for translation and formatting are absolutely free. The stories created here are actively shaped and nurtured into being delightful invitations for participation and collaboration – without the chains of restrictive copyright licenses. To read is to free the imagination, to discover new thoughts and ideas.