Librarians, there’s finally a quiz tailored just for you! How much do you know about children’s books? How do you run your school library? Take this fun test to find out where you stand as a school librarian.
It’s always a pleasure to come across Rajiv Eipe’s unique, lively illustrations in children’s books. If you haven’t yet had the fortune of seeing his work, get your hands on Let’s Go! published by Tulika Books and Dinosaur-Long-as-127-Kids published by Katha. Read a super-short interview with Eipe in which he talks to the HSLS team about finding inspiration to draw, his favourite children’s books and his secret desire to become one of Roger Hargreaves’ whimsical creations!
Your children’s book illustrations are gorgeous and you certainly have a distinct style. What inspires you to draw for children?
Thank you! It’s a good feeling to play a part in the storytelling process, however small, and if a picture I make can light up the characters in a story for the reader, then I can tell myself that I’ve put my skills to some use.
Tell us about a book that you loved as a child. Do you remember what you loved about it?
We had a picture book called The Fox and the Hound – That’s What Friends Are For, a heartwarming story with fun illustrations that I was particularly fond of. Also, a book of Russian folktales with marvellously detailed watercolour illustrations.
Name three contemporary illustrators whose work you admire and feel that children should be introduced to.
Shaun Tan, Prabha Mallya and Jon Klassen.
Which are five books that every school library must own?
Mukund and Riaz by Nina Sabnani
The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
While exploring books with children, we often tend to focus more on the text while not tapping fully into the potential of pictures. What are ways in which we can explore the visual narrative with children more effectively?
Is that true? Maybe it will help if writers, artists and publishers of children’s books are more open to pushing the boundaries while producing books. Having said that, there’s some wonderful work being done in the children’s book space at present. A wider range of illustration styles, formats and book designs will help, I suppose.
What was your school library like?
The first school I went to had a huge library, but I don’t remember using it much as I wasn’t much of a reader. The second school I went to didn’t have one at all.
If you could become any book character for a day, who would you choose to be?
Rajiv Eipe lives in Bangalore and works on Animation and Illustration projects. He infrequently posts some of his work at behance.net/rajiveipe
It’s not every day that you come across someone like S L Faizal, a librarian who thrives on reading innovations in the school library. From launching the first library blog in India, to promoting information literacy through fun campaigns such as Face-a-book, this librarian’s initiatives deserve to be in the spotlight. Find out more about his experiments with promoting reading in Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom, Trivandrum.
The tagline of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom library where S L Faizal works is: Where minds meet and ideas pop up. Clearly, Faizal doesn’t take this tagline lightly. Enthusiastic about discovering new possibilities to help the library evolve, Faizal’s always looking for effective ways to motivate children to read more. Although Faizal has plenty of pet projects, we have decided to highlight three of his most promising library initiatives.
The concept was developed from the realization that almost all students between the ages of 11 and 17 are connected on social networks like Facebook, and spend less time reading physical books. So they were told this: If you are bored with Facebook, come to your Library and face a book, a real one. Face-a-book – an encounter with a real book – was started in 2012 as a collaborative project between the library staff and students. Thus emerged www.faceabook.info where children could post their thoughts after reading books borrowed from the library. Born out of this initiative was another reading program called Book Ambassadors. As a part of this, 50 students were selected to closely read a book each. Each of them then became the ambassador for the book that they had read (e.g., Ambassador of Harry Potter). These ambassadors were expected to face all queries specific to the book that they were representing. They were also honoured with badges and certificates.
Library Junction (www.libraryjunction.net) was launched in 2010 as an online Academic Social Network with all the features of a popular social network. The targeted users were the net-generation students. Designed as an online collaborative learning platform, members could ask questions, express views, hold discussions, share information, work on projects together, communicate with others and get to know the world better. The project team consisted of more than 1000 students (between the ages of 6 and 17) and 10 teachers from different subject backgrounds. The project won NCERT’s Best Innovative Project for Schools Award in 2011 and KVS Innovations and Experiments Award in 2010.
The prime objectives of this project were:
Library-Social Connect (LSC)
LSC is a social responsibility initiative by Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom to connect students to society through books and reading. The project was kick-started in 2013 through a campaign called ‘Gift a Book and Get a Friend’. This was aimed at providing students with better opportunities to find out more about their community – other learning systems in particular – and to make friends through books. Students of the school’s Readers’ Club collected more than 550 books and gifted it to children from underprivileged backgrounds studying in Govt.U.P.S.,Palkulangara. In the spirit of friendship, students from both schools presented cultural programs together, participated in fun activities, told stories, and shared their food. The support and response from students was overwhelming. Visit http://librarysocialconnect.wordpress.com for more details.
Do you feel that your school library is awesome and deserves to be in the spotlight? Well, write to us at email@example.com and and we’ll be excited to feature you.
Librarians, beat the heat this summer by participating in HSLS’s popular ‘I Love My Library’ workshop.
A dynamic school library deserves an equally dynamic school librarian, one who is constantly looking to evolve. In collaboration with Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, HSLS has designed the ‘I Love My Library’ workshop – an activity-filled session which equips librarians with the tools to infuse fun and excitement in their school libraries through the year.
This workshop will:
The workshop is scheduled for May 2014 in Bangalore. If you’re interested, please call us right away at 080 25630206 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How often do we tell children that their actions can make a difference? On World Earth Day this year, raise awareness around environmental issues. Here are eight awesome ways in which you can inspire your students to be more environmentally-friendly.
1. Bring plants into the library.
Are there plants in your library? If there aren’t, bring in plants that will flourish indoors. A little greenery will do wonders for the atmosphere of the library, making it more inviting. Keeping in spirit with World Earth Day celebrations, it will be fantastic if you could plant a seed in the library. As you do this, gather children around you and talk to them about the importance of plants and trees. How about narrating the inspiring stories of Wangari Mathai or the Chipko Movement? You could even invite a science teacher to initiate a discussion.
2. Read aloud a captivating story related to the environment.
Pick a book from the library that will help set the mood for World Earth Day. You could even read selected portions of it. Hopefully, this will evoke their curiosity and motivate them to complete the book. Want to take a look at our recommended books? Click here to see it.
3. The Go Green Contest: Hold a contest that raises awareness around important environmental issues.
School-wide contests are a great way of drawing attention to any cause. For younger grades (Grades 2-5), hold a bookmark contest in which they have to make bookmarks that promote ways in which to be environmentally friendly. For older grades (Grades 6-8), organize a poster competition in which they have to make posters that promote the need to be more environmentally friendly. You could even pick more specific themes such as endangered animals, global warming, etc. Make sure the winning bookmarks and posters are displayed in the school library.
4. Invite an expert who works toward protecting the environment.
The school library should ideally be a hub for information – a place where children can ask all sorts of questions and find answers. You’ll be surprised at the number of people in your city/town whose work is aimed primarily at protecting nature. Invite an expert to your library and ask them to talk to your students about the work they do.
5. Keep a nature’s basket.
Take children from younger grades for a short nature walk. Ask them to collect any one thing that they find in nature – a seed, a leaf, bird’s feather, and so on. Keep all that they’ve collected in a basket in the library. There, your nature basket is ready. It’ll be great if you can keep a magnifying glass along with the basket, in case anyone wants to zoom into any of these objects.
6. Draw attention to the environmental books in your library.
This is a great opportunity to draw attention to the best books related to environmental themes in your library. Wipe the dust off these books and put them on display. Avoid putting books that are not likely to interest children.
7. Screen a film that will spark off discussions about nature.
Have you noticed how children are invariably drawn to books that are adapted to the screen, or vice versa? Pick a film – that also exists in the form of a book – which throws light on important environmental issues and is likely to capture the imagination of children. A film followed by a discussion is always a great idea. How about Dr Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’?
8. Pin up our latest BookSmarts question in your library and challenge students.
BookSmarts is our monthly book quiz for booklovers. This month, our question is linked to the environment and your students will have fun trying to answer it. Click here to download and print it. Oh, we can’t wait to see how your students will respond!
Do email us at email@example.com to let us know how your students responded to any of these activities. We would love to hear from you!
Do you take your own bag to the supermarket? Have you been recycling? Switch off the lights! Why don’t you cycle to work?
It’s that time of the year when we are all reminded of the importance of being environmentally-friendly. Across the world, April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day. But is it enough to go green for just a day and forget about it soon after? Absolutely not! For decades now, books have been used to introduce children to different environmental themes. Have a look at eight incredible books that will inspire your students to be green citizens for life.
1.Let’s Plant Trees by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer (3 to 5 years)
Imagine finding a seed (pongamia) inside a book! Here’s the perfect book to celebrate trees and inspire a generation of tree-huggers. Let’s Catch the Rain, Eshwer’s book on saving rainwater, is also a thoughtful, important book recommended to schools by the CBSE.
2. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (5 to 8 years)
Published in 1971, this environmental fable has been considered as one of the ‘Top 100 Picture Books’ of all time in a 2012 poll by the American Library Association. A book every school library must own!
3. Polar Bear, Why is Your World Melting? by Robert E Wells (7 to 9 years)
Using the example of the Arctic ice melting and polar bears struggling to cope, this book explains the phenomenon of global warming in a simple, engaging manner.
4. The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth by The EarthWorks Group (9 to 12)
A wonderful book that shows children simple ways in which to make a difference to the environment. A slightly expensive book that is worth buying!
5. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (10 and above)
An unusual ecological mystery involving endangered owls, a Pancake House scheduled to be built over their burrows and three middle-school kids on a mission to protect the owls’ home.
[Note: The image used in this blog post has been illustrated by Mike Gordon for ‘Why Should I Save Energy?’ published by Hodder Children’s Books.]
1. Keep the best books locked away in a cupboard, especially the ones that are likely to make children laugh. Laughter in the library is more dangerous than it appears to be.
2. Choose books for children every single time. Don’t dare allow them to make their own selections.
3. The school library needs to be a genuinely child-unfriendly space. Let in very little sunlight and keep the walls as bare as possible. Children are drawn to bright and colourful spaces, so don’t ever make the mistake of creating an inviting space. Imagine the horror of children flocking to the library!
4. The best librarians are stern and unfriendly souls. This way, children are hesitant to approach them and avoid making conversation. Bliss.
5. Reading must always be graded. Frequent tests must be conducted in the library to assess children’s reading skills. Why would we want children to read for pleasure alone? That’s utter nonsense!
(Note: The image used in this post is from ‘The Librarian From the Black Lagoon’ and has been illustrated by Jared Lee.)
In ‘Ten and a Half Inclinations’, author Ben Okri makes a compelling case for reading. Every child must read this powerful piece of advice from Ben Okri – an acclaimed Nigerian novelist and poet – best known for his novel ‘The Famished Road’. Put this up in your school library for all children to see, or read it out to them.
1. There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten you. Find that trail.
2. Read outside your own nations, colour, class and gender.
3. Read the books your parents hate.
4. Read the books your parents love.
5. Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you; and make their works your secret passion.
6. Read widely, for fun, stimulation and escape.
7. Don’t read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later, cautiously.
8. Read what you’re not supposed to read.
9. Read for your own liberation and mental freedom.
10. Books are like mirrors. Don’t just read the words. Go into the mirror. That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That’s where the gods dream, where are realities are born.
10 1/2. Read the world. It is the most mysterious book of all.