March 16, 2015

#6FrameStoryChallenge by Pratham Books

by Anusha Narayanan

Children’s book publisher Pratham Books has some interesting experiments in the pipeline. The StoryWeaver platform is one, designed to be a digital repository of ‘openly-licensed, multilingual children’s stories’, wherein the content will be freely accessible for readers and illustrators. Pratham Books recently launched the #6FrameStoryChallenge, a campaign to source and populate the StoryWeaver by word-of-mouth, before its official launch, by encouraging illustrators to “donate” some of their ideas to kickoff the project.

The Challenge was to create a children’s story in just six frames. Seems easy enough, but to make things more fun, the participants had to pick six words from a chequered grid of options, and form their own theme, which would become the underlying narrative. The organisers explained that, “These wordless stories are ideal for our story-publishing platform as it makes it possible for our users teachers, librarians, authors, parents etc. to weave text around these illustrations in their preferred language.”

Pratham Books picked some Illustrator Gurus – many reputed illustrators who they have worked with in the past.  These Gurus also helped pick the top three entries for the challenge, although it was mostly a campaign which didn’t aim at declaring winners in the end. Within two days of its launch, the challenge received a flood of emails and stories, and were lost in the many illustrated dragons, butterflies, lilies and rainbows. The Challenge closed on midnight 30th January 2015 and managed to surpass the initial target of 90 illustrations, with a total of 450-plus illustrations totally.

The winning stories:

1. Archana Sreenivasan – Idli and Cactus

Words used: #idli #cactus #birthday #underwater #scared #chicken pox








2. Niloufer Wadia – The Old Lady Who Loved Juggling

Words used: #juggle #spectacles #umbrella #market street #mango #basket








3. Jithin Jacob – Bear with me

Words used: #cry #bear #sing #burp #mushroom #laugh







You can take a look at the work of the Gurus here, some of whom, such as Vinayak Varma, Kalyani Ganapathy and Prashant Miranda, have also been featured by Kyoorius in the past. Pratham Books will be launching the StoryWeaver platform next month, so watch out for their big announcement!

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