Not-for-profit publisher Pratham Books has launched a series of four “PhoneStories” meant to create a reading experience for children using words, images and sounds. The publisher hopes to take advantage of the high penetration of mobile phones as part of the new initiative that was launched on its Storyweaver open source platform to make reading more accessible for young children.
The first in the series, titled Watch Out! The Tiger is Here! was released on November 14 to coincide with Children’s Day and was written by wildlife writer Sejal Mehta, illustrated by cartoonist Rohan Chakravarty and narrated by stand-up comedian Rohan Joshi in English (above) and Purnesh Kumar Tripathi in Hindi (below).
The remaining three stories, to be released in the coming weeks in multiple languages, will also be centred around teaching children about wildlife and will be shared with over a thousand schools and pre-schools.
“The idea for the books was three-fold in my head – to endear children to the wilderness, to shine the spotlight on lesser-known species, and show animals for what they are, not what our perceptions would want them to be,” said writer Sejal Mehta. Suzanne Singh, Chairperson of Pratham Books said she hopes the move will promote curiosity and exploration among children.
While mobile publishers like Juggernaut Books have shown that getting people to pay for books on their phones still remains a challenge, these free audio-visual books might just get kids (and teachers) interested.