Discover Fabulous Books and Read for Children on International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day, first observed in 1966 and now included in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals program, was established in order to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.

Every year on September 8th, UNESCO observes International Literacy Day. The main aim is to gain global awareness on the issues related to child and adult literacy. Literacy is the best remedy is a phrase used by UNESCO in its banners, as literacy is central to the right of all children to an education.

In India, the literacy rate is 77% and there is a sizeable disparity at a gender-wise and state-wise level.

Reading Programs in India

On International Literacy Day, let’s look at two organizations that are doing their bit for kids’ reading efforts:

Pratham Books

Pratham Books runs an annual storytelling campaign called One Day One Story on International Literacy Day where Reading Champions from across India conduct storytelling sessions. The campaign aims to get ‘a book in every child’s hand’. Two books are selected for this venture- this year it’s  Satya, Watch Out!, a Level 2 book written by Yamini Vijayan and illustrated by Vishnu M Nair for younger kids, and Puchku Seeks a Song, a Level 3 book written by Deepanjana Pal and illustrated by Rajiv Eipe for older kids.  You can sign up here.

A Story A Day

Another initiative that has to do with reading books is the #AStoryADay initiative launched by Pehlay Akshar. Stories that are narrated are shared with children from underprivileged backgrounds and helps give them a headstart in English learning.

A couple of stories from children’s books at the Pothi.com Store are part of the #AStoryADay initiative. Here’s a story from Footprints on the Moon read by the writer Ishmita Menon.

In India alone, over 300 million children have been unable to study owing to the pandemic, so such initiatives are the silver lining. Tell us about any worthy reading initiatives you think we should know about.

Visit the Pothi.com Book Store on Buy a Book Day and Support an Author Today!

Today is Buy a Book Day!

On this day, we thought about talking about the Pothi.com Store, the place where all the authors who use the Pothi.com platform are at. Once you decide to self-publish, you can upload your files onto the system and ta-da your book shows up at the Pothi.com Store. That simple.

Pothi.com Book Store

Since today the onus is on buying books, let’s have a look at our Book Store- Books by Self Publishing Authors | Pothi.com

Pothi Store landing page

At the Pothi.com Store there is a huge variety of books in as many as 50+ categories from Antiques and Collectibles to Business Books to Travel Books and Comics. There are books by authors from all over the world, so we have books in the Store in over 40 languages!

In the New Releases section, you get to see the latest print books and eBooks that have been self-published. The Bestsellers is a list of the books that have the highest sales. Editor’s Choice is a curated list that we update from time to time- the books on this list are recommended by our in-house Editorial Team.

You can also search for a specific book using the search option.

On this day, pick up a book and encourage an author. A book is a labor of love- so much thought and effort go into the making of one and when an author decides to self-publish, they need to take so many decisions- not just when it comes to writing the book but also taking into account the making and selling of it as well. Do your bit to support our Pothi authors and buy a book now!

Celebration of Teachers’ Day: Six Books About Teachers and Mentors

Teachers’ Day recognizes the unique role that adults play in the lives of young minds and in shaping a country’s future.

Teachers’ Day is observed annually in India on September 5 to commemorate the birth of the country’s former President, scholar, philosopher, and Bharat Ratna awardee, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, on this day in 1888.

The significance of this day is paramount. It is a day to acknowledge the significance of teachers in shaping the young minds of children. For students, the day also means gifting roses, chocolates, and handmade cards to their favorite teachers to express their gratitude. Teacher’s Day is a day of role reversal and celebration for senior students.

Books to Read on Teachers’ Day:

Literature pays a great due to teachers. Here we have put together a list of books where teachers play an important role in molding their young students.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda develops a bond with her kindergarten teacher, Miss Honey, who encourages her academically and emotionally when no one else does. It is the most adorable and heartwarming book there is, and it shows how a good teacher can shape the mind and life of an innocent child.

Quote from Matilda by Roald Dahl

 

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Lucy Snowe begins a new life as a teacher at a boarding school in a fictitious city in Belgium. She is attracted to all the things that are adventurous and romantic. Lucy Snowe is the counterpart of Jane Eyre, a more patient reserved version. Villette is Charlotte Bronte’s last book.

 

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

This  Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award tells the story of a young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country. His aim? To visit and teach a black youth sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. They learn about the heroism of resistance as a group. Gaines brings to this novel, a sense of place, a deep understanding of the human psyche, and compassion for people and their struggle against racism and ignorance. His story is just as relevant today.

Anne of Green Gables by M. Montgomery

Miss Stacy, Anne’s teacher, uses unconventional and liberal teaching methods that others criticize, but she becomes a much-needed role model and mentor for Anne.

Quote from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The English Teacher by R. K. Narayan

The English Teacher is a part of a series of novels and collections of short stories set in R. K. Narayan’s fictitious setting of Malgudi. The story follows Krishna, an English teacher, his little triumphs and follies.

 

Teaching Yoga in an Upside-Down World

Teaching Yoga in an Upside-Down World by Susan Hopkinson

At the Pothi.com Store, we have a book about self-care for teachers, yoga teachers in particular. Susan Hopkinson discovered yoga in 1985, began teaching in 1998 and qualified as a yoga therapist in 2007. She negotiates the path a teacher needs to take in the modern world where fitness instruction and yoga asanas are often confused as one and the same.

We can never thank the good teachers in our lives enough! Share a memory of your favorite teacher or a book on teachers that you read and admired.

Wildlife Day: Eleven Books for Readers in the Anthropocene

National Wildlife Day was founded by animal behaviorist and philanthropist Colleen Paige. The idea behind this day is to bring to the fore knowledge about endangered animals and spread the word about animal conservation.

We put together a list of wildlife animal books for you on this day.

 A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald Durrell

Gerald Durell is the first writer who comes to mind when you think about books featuring animals.This is a rollicking account of his travels and how he created his own zoo.

“I hope that, in a small way, I am interesting people in animal life and in its conservation. If I accomplish this I will consider that I have achieved something worthwhile. And if I can, later on, help even slightly towards preventing an animal from becoming extinct, I will be content.”

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (Illustrated Edition) by [Rudyard Kipling]The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and the antagonist Sher Khan are unforgettable fictional characters from the immortal fiction The Jungle Book. Kipling wrote the book for his daughter Josephine as he mentioned: “This book belongs to Josephine Kipling for whom it was written by her father, May 1894.” Unfortunately his daughter lived only for six years.

“A black shadow dropped down into the circle. It was Bagheera the Black Panther, inky black all over, but with the panther markings showing up in certain lights like the pattern of watered silk. Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path, for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.”

Every Creature Has a Story: What Science Reveals about Animal Behaviour by Janaki Lenin

Janaki Lenin is a careful observer of the wildlife around her. This book is a collection of essays where she examines the wild and wonderful behaviors of unlikely animals from rodents to wasps to humpback whales. Animals are only now beginning to be understood and Lenin traces paternal love, altruism and the variegated emotions of the members of the animal kingdom.

Man-eaters of Kumaon by [Jim Corbett]Man-eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett

Corbett was a man-eater detective of sorts. In his book that has remained in print for seventy years he elaborates on the conflict between humans and big cats.

“Those who have never seen a leopard under favourable conditions in his natural surroundings can have no conception of the grace of movement, and beauty of colouring, of this the most gracefuL and the most beautiful of all animals in our Indian jungles.”

The Snow Leopard (Penguin Classics) by [Peter Matthiessen, Pico Iyer]The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

The snow leopard is an elusive predator and Peter Matthiessen knows that there is a possibility that in his quest for the bharal, the Himalayan blue sheep, he may see one. The Snow Leopard is a physical journey toward clarity and an understanding of Zen.

“Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, ’Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’ In its wholehearted acceptance of what is;I feel as if he had struck me in the chest. Butter tea and wind pictures, the Crystal Mountain, and blue sheep dancing on the snow-it’s quite enough!

Have you seen the snow leopard?

No! Isn’t that wonderful?”

 Indian Mammals: A Field Guide Book by Vivek Menon 

A comprehensive field guide to 400 species of mammals in India accompanied by photos, illustrations and expert insight. Reading the book helps familiarize you with the enormous diversity of the animal kingdom in India .

 

The Vanishing: India’s Wildlife Crisis by Prerna Singh Bindra

Prerna Singh Bindra talks about the sorry state of wildlife governance in the country. Bottlenecks in bureaucracy and lackadaisical policy make the animals of the country its victims. The author was a member of the National Board for Wildlife and on Uttarakhand’s State Board for Wildlife. She has worked passionately to protect wildlife habitats and critically endangered species.

The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

A remarkable book where the eminent nature writer Robert Macfarlane and the genius artist Jackie Morris have brought back the vocabulary of the British wild. The book has received much praise and can be read and appreciated by children and older readers alike. An Indian counterpart of lost nature terms in India is greatly needed.

At the Pothi.com Store, we have a couple of books around the theme of wildlife conservation by H. S. Pabla, former Chief Wildlife Warden of the state of Madhya Pradesh. He was once on the faculty of the Wildlife Institute of India and is an international consultant in forestry and wildlife management in South Asia now. Here are the links to his books: Road to Nowhere, Wardens in Shackles and Besides Loving Beasts.

Road To Nowhere           Wardens in Shackles        Besides Loving the Beasts

Tell us which book about wildlife you would recommend.

National Nutrition Month: Four Books to Show You How to Eat Smart, Starting Now!

All around the world, there are millions of resources being employed to find the most nutrition-dense diet there is. It is no news to us that a proper nutrition intake in our diet is so necessary for our bodies to function properly and keep deficiencies at bay. Many campaigns and activities are conducted all over the world to spread this message. In order to educate people on the need for nutrition in our bodies, National Nutrition Week is celebrated from 1st to 7th September.

History Behind National Nutrition week:

After being introduced in March 1973 by the members of the American Dietetic Association, National Nutrition week was an initiative to deliver a nutrition education message to the people. It gained a lot of support during the 1980s, after which the Indian government started the National Nutrition Week commemoration in India in the year 1982. This campaign was initiated to encourage people to adopt a healthy and a sustainable lifestyle.

Theme of 2021 National Nutrition Week

Every year, the first week of September focuses on a new theme. For the year 2021 it is: Feeding smart right from start. It aims to promote the consumption of nutritious and healthy foods. The goal is to promote the idea of a balanced diet, which in turn will promote good health and well-being.

Books that Promote Good Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle:

The Baby Elephant Diet by Ravi Mantha

With a super cute title, this book focuses on adding fiber to your diet to help maintain a healthy weight. The author describes the use of readily available fruits and vegetables in India. A large part of the Indian population in India is vegetarian and this book is a boon for them.

 

The Healthy Indian Diet by [Raj R. Patel M.D., Anuja Balasubramanian, Hetal Jannu]The Healthy Indian Diet by Dr Raj R Patel, Anuja Balasubramanian and Hetal Jannu

With modern diets and refined foods causing a slew of chronic diseases, this is the book of the hour. The focus is on traditional home cooking with natural ingredients, which helps to control and prevent health problems like obesity, insulin levels, and chronic inflammation. In addition to that, the book contains dos and don’ts related to nutrition and healthy lifestyle. It also has delicious and amazing recipes.

Prenatal Fitness 360°: The Way to a Healthy Pregnancy by Sonali Shivlani

Sonali Shivlani’s book has provided valuable information to soon-to-be mothers about a healthy pregnancy. The book is divided into five sections that cover diet plans, nutrition charts, a prenatal exercise regimen, a postnatal weight loss diet and exercises, and breathing techniques, providing a 360-degree approach to a healthy pregnancy.

The Wholesome Kitchen by Pooja Dhingra

Pooja Dhingra is the founder of Mumbai’s famous Le 15 Patisserie and she writes about healthy desserts and wholesome breakfasts in her book. Her focus is majorly on the idea to consume locally grown ingredients, which are fresh and nutrition-packed.

 

Are there any books on nutrition that you recommend?

Amrita Pritam: The Feminist Chronicler of the Horrors of Partition

Amrita Pritam was born on this day in a village in present-day Pakistan in 1919. Her mother’s death left a void in her life that writing was a balm for. She wrote her first anthology when she was just sixteen.

Although she started writing sweet love dirges, Pritam’s heart was with the people. The partition wrenched at her heart and shaped her art. In anguish, she wrote the famous poem Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu addressed to the Sufi poet Waris Shah. Amrita Pritam was one of the first writers who addressed the horrors of partition through a feminist lens.

Her work has been translated widely and adapted as screenplays, Pinjar being one of her most famous stories. She was the recipient of various awards and was the first woman to win the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri. She also received the Jnanpith Award for her lifetime contribution to Punjabi literature.

Find her books here.

Four Fantastic Sports Books on National Sports Day

Today is National Sports Day in India.

The Story Behind National Sports Day

On August 29, 1905, the Indian hockey legend – Major Dhyan Chand was born. Known as ‘The Wizard Of Hockey’, Chand played during the pre-independence years of India and exercised control over Europeans in a sport invented by them, which developed a feeling of pride in Indians. He dominated the sport all through his career and managed to bag three Olympic gold medals for India. One of the country’s most prestigious sports awards, the Khel Ratna, is named after him and his birth anniversary is celebrated as the National Sports Day in the country.

Why Sports Day?

Stressing the need to stay fit and healthy, this auspicious day spreads the message of the importance of sports and daily activities in everyday life. Sports helps to develop a feeling of patriotism and bind people of different backgrounds.  As a nation, India has experienced a lot of ups and downs in the field of sports. It isn’t just hockey that has inspired millions of youngsters in the country. Athletes and players from all across the country have taken the game up the ladder.

There’s nothing like experiencing the live sport and for the ones who fail to do so, the closest experience they can get is through books. Books can help people to actually relive the experiences of players and one can know how the legends came to be.

Sports Books from India

Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India by Ronjonoy Singh:

Book Quote

This book traces ancient times when India was beginning to engage with sport along with capturing the political nature behind it. The book consists of wonderful stories, amazing anecdotes and very interesting snippets that engage readers all across the country.

Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games by Boria Majumdar:

Book Quote

 

Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta compiled a collection of India’s best Olympic moments over the years. The documentary Dreams of a Billion: India and the Olympic Games tells the stories of legends such as MC Mary Kom, PV Sindhu, and Abhinav Bindra. The book also paints a picture of what goes on behind the scenes in the Indian Olympics world.

Unbreakable: An Autobiography by Mary Kom

Book quote

Unbreakable, the story of the legendary MC Mary Kom, traces the journey of the six-time world champion. Born with limited resources, this book tells the story of Mary Kom’s struggle and passion to reach the pinnacle of her sport. The book chronicles how she balanced her marriage and career, and also describes what it takes for a woman to succeed in a male-dominated sport and country.

Playing it my way: My Autobiography by Sachin Tendulkar:

Book Quote The autobiography of the former Indian cricketer – Sachin Tendulkar reveals the scenes of his legendary performances and struggles throughout his 24-year career. Tendulkar has won hearts all over the world and his decision to publish this book has been loved by all.

“So here I am, at the end of my final innings, having taken that last walk back to the pavilion, ready to recount as many incidents as I can remember since first picking up a cricket bat as a child in Mumbai thirty-five years ago.” – Sachin Tendulkar

Which sports books have you been inspired by?

The Sorrows of Young Goethe and the Success of Faust

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 28, 1749, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (this is how you pronounce Goethe) was a revered poet, playwright, novelist, and statesman.

Despite having achieved success in the literary world, Goethe believed that his work as a philosopher and scientist- in particular with regard to his theories about color and philosophy- would be his true legacy instead. However, his writings inspired generations of western literature and thought.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was tutored extensively in languages as a child.  His father, Johann Kaspar Goethe was a lawyer who always prioritized his son’s education, which enabled him to engage in many literary and cultural pursuits. It was when Goethe went to Leipzig University to study law that he fell in love with Anne Katharine Schönkopf, who is known to have been the inspiration behind his first volume of poems called Annette.

Goethe’s Works

At the end of his studies, he had composed many writings like The Partners in Crime and Leipzig Songbook; he also found his love for folk poetry. During that time he developed proclaimed respect for Shakespeare who is also the figure responsible for his ‘personal awakening’.

Buy The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin Classics) Book Online at Low Prices in India | The Sorrows of Young Werther (Penguin Classics) Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.inThroughout the 1770s, along with practicing progressive law across Germany, he also maintained his career as a poet and a playwright. At the age of 24, Goethe wrote his first novel called The Sorrows Of Young Werther. The book was written in a journal form and tells the tale of unrequited love between Werther and  Charlotte. In the story, the man falls hopelessly in love with the wife of his friend. The book was an instant hit and it revolutionized European literature. This writing influenced the later Romantic Movement.

All through his career, Goethe is known to have found inspiration from his surroundings. His collaborative works with fellow poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller formed the heart of German literature. It was during this period that his journey to Italy rekindled his love for poetry and that is when he composed a collection of seductive poetry called the Roman Elegies. His most famous work, Faust, was produced after the demise of Schiller in 1805. Faust was an epic play of love and loss which talks about a duel with the devil in the search for supernatural knowledge.

Despite his age, Goethe continued composing more literary works. He published his autobiography – Dichtung und Wahrheit and even composed more poetry. After hearing the news of his son’s death, he fell seriously ill and a few months later, he died on his armchair. He was laid to rest next to Schiller, his other half whom he considered to be his other half, in the ‘tomb of the princes’ in Weimar.

Although his works were mainly famous in Europe and Germany,  his most famous poem -cum- play, Faust, has been adapted into an opera and is still performed throughout the world. Goethe’s mergence of science and art has awarded him the title, ‘surpassing intellect of modern times’. George Eliot called him ‘Germany’s greatest man of letters and the last true polymath to walk the earth’. Goethe’s works have made an impact on literary movements like Romanticism and expressionism. His philosophical contributions have left a legacy that is woven into the lives of others.

It’s Time for a Level Playing Field: Six Books to Read on Women’s Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day is an American holiday which marks the day when the Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited the federal government and states from denying people the right to vote on the basis of their gender. was adopted. It is celebrated on August 26 every year, since its inception in 1971. The day symbolizes the culmination of 72 years of agitation by a massive women’s civil rights movement.

Women have proven existing stereotypes false time and again and the right to vote is a precursor to women’s new roles in society.

What Can You Read On Women’s Equality Day?

We’ve identified a couple of books that talk about Women’s Equality Day in particular and other books where women chart out their journeys toward a better world where their work is appreciated and rewarded.

The Women’s Hour: The great fight to win the vote by Elaine Weiss

The Woman’s Hour is the gripping story of how America’s women won their own freedom and the opening campaign in the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights. The book features the opposition suffragists faced in the state of Tennessee and their subsequent victory.

 

Let's Celebrate Women's Equality Day (Holidays & Heros) by [Barbara deRubertis]

Let’s Celebrate Women’s Equality Day (Holidays and Heroes) by Barbara deRubertis

Read this tiny book from The Holiday & Heroes series to understand the history of women’s suffrage in the United States, the stalled Equal Rights Amendment, and the gender gap among elected officials.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Who better to tell us about the political struggle in America than the former First Lady herself?  Michelle Obama capitalized on her African American roots to create the most welcoming White House in history. In her memoir, she describes her precarious balancing act between mudslinging politics that she despises and advocacy for women and girls she roots for.

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

Welteroth talks about her ascent as a black woman in a white-dominated landscape- she strives for equality. She uses her own experiences to highlight the points she makes about trusting yourself, knowing your worth, and making big decisions in life. The book teaches women how to stand up for each other, especially for those who doubt themselves from time to time. That’s the only path to equality -“We went through what we went through so that you could live, baby girl. So you got to live. Run after it. And know that we are all with you.”

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by [Melinda Gates]The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

When you raise a woman, you raise your family, your community, your country and so on. In her book, Melinda tells the story of the interesting people she meets through her work around the world. The book is anecdotal and throws light on the strong grit and determination of women across the world even in the face of injustice.

Seeing Like a Feminist by [Nivedita Menon]Seeing Like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon

Nivedita Menon gives a 360-degree approach to the idea of feminism and gender equality, specifically in the Indian context. This book is a favorite at the company and one that has been discussed multiple times at our Bring Your Own Book (BYOB) Parties.

 

So How Can You Make Women’s Equality Day Special?

Even though this event supports American suffragists, August 26 is a good day to celebrate the women in your lives, not just achievers but anyone who has made a difference in some small way. You can talk about them on your social media handles and organize charity drives for any cause spearheaded by women. You can pick up the books we mentioned and go deeper into the issues that plague womankind. It’s a day to recognize how far women have come and how far they have to go.

 

Paulo Coelho: The Writer Who Believes That Dreams Come True

Paulo Coelho was born on this day. Did you know the Rumi of our times was a lyricist as well?

His most famous book was The Alchemist with sales of over 150 million copies worldwide.

Screengrab of book cover and quote

During his adolescence he was sent to an asylum so that he would give up his writing dream and even though he attempted to make a career out of law, he dropped out of the rat race, living a hippie life and traveling widely.

Screengrab of quote from By the River Piedra, I sat down and wept

He began working as a songwriter and dabbled in many creative careers. He was even incarcerated by the military government in Brazil for some time.

He began a songwriting career that was interrupted by his sudden awakening to write and follow his dreams. The Alchemist was picked up by an unknown publisher and later Harper Collins. A strong thread of Sufism and pantheism runs through his fiction and non-fiction books.

 

SCreengrab of quote from Paulo Coelho's book

Happy b’day Paulo Coelho!