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The Pratham Education Initiative started about fifteen years ago in the slums of Mumbai, and by now "has reached over a million children with its pre-school, in-school and out-of-school programmes that aim to ensure that every child is in school and learning well. Pratham’s activities have spread to 13 states in India with cooperation and assistance from local government, leading corporate houses and local citizens. All of Pratham’s programme models are simple to implement, replicable, scalable and geographically comprehensive so as to ensure universal primary education for every child in India in the years to come."

By all accounts, this is a remarkable effort that will do more to change the face of urban India than slumdog movies... And one of their arms is Pratham Books, a not-for-profit trust that "seeks to publish high-quality books for children at a affordable cost in multiple Indian languages. Pratham Books is trying to create a shift in the paradigm for publishing children’s books in India. The low cost model proves that children’s literature can be attractive and affordable and therefore more accessible."

Read India is the imprint under which they have been publishing books for children, targeting Pre-School, Early Readers and Advanced Readers separately through a series of attractively produced inexpensive books. Priced at Rs 25, most of their titles are available in several languages. Take Kolhapur to Beijing: Freestyle! for instance. "The sheer joy of training your body to achieve what your mind dreams of...sports provides that joy. Read this story about a boy from Kolhapur who became the fastest 15-year old swimmer in the world!" is 28 pages long, and is available not just in English and Hindi, but also in Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Or the set of four titles, Once Upon An India that features children from different eras in Indian history as their main protagonists, also available in the same languages. Some titles, like Ganga ki Lehren (गंगा की लहरें ) are available only in Hindi and Marathi, but with 20 stunning photographs, this is one book that can be appreciated by all...

The list of books they publish is too long to put onto the Scholars site, but as always, we are happy to help you get any of their books if you simply write in to us, at scholarswithoutborders@gmail.com.

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