Kids & Teens

The education sector enjoys a close synergy with technology with new and the best site latest technological tools being increasingly adopted to transform how education is imparted in the classrooms and beyond the physical boundaries of the class room as well. From recorded video tapes to the use of portable tablet with educational contents, smart class rooms, AV projectors, as well as the online disbursal of and submission of projects reflects how closely the two have been interlinked. Developments in the field of Virtual reality technology, low cost VR headsets and increasing sophistication of the mobile handsets has made access to VR much easier and cheaper as well. Monica Malhotra Kandhari, managing director, MBD Group shares an insight into scope of virtual reality space in education sector.

Virtual reality (VR) uses contents that are computer generated to simulate images or contents in life size and multi-dimensional. VR also allows seemingly real interaction with simulated contents through the use of special electronic equipment such as the VR Headsets and sensors embedded in the users clothing etc. The interactive and buy cheap generic levitra online update immersive experience accorded by virtual reality technology and the ability of VR to facilitate realistic learning activities has the potential to radically transform the education sector with its increasing adoption.

How VR helps in education?

The traditional approach to education hasn’t changed much over the years. Students are expected to learn through assimilation without much scope for an immersive or experiential learning. With Virtual reality things are going to change in the way education is being imparted. Students can now look forward to learning about the solar system in a three dimensional environment and even physically engage with the planets and moons in a solar system. VR’s ability to introduce practical knowledge to students without having to leave the room is an invaluable contribution to education.

Virtual reality also removes barriers associated with transport and logistics in real world and opens up immense opportunities to be explored. Students for instance can go on a field trip to the Amazon rain forest from the comfort of their class room anywhere in the world. Hitherto near impossible tasks such as a field trip to the moon or the surface of mars can now be explored from the within the comforts and safety of a classroom. Such a realistic multi-dimensional experience delivers a truly immersive learning experience, making the knowledge gained much more holistic.

Virtual reality can be also helpful to those learning a foreign language as it can simulate situations as well as open up possibilities of collaboration with other learners of the language. VR can also aid learners with special needs to focus attention on specific task and problem areas improving their learning capacity. Moreover, VR simulations are ready to lend a hand for study and research of possibly hazardous situations which might not be possible in real life.

Virtual reality is also increasingly being used in the field of higher learning and education. In the field of medical education, for instance, virtual reality is increasingly being used for surgical trainings. VR while providing realistic experiences to surgeons is cost effective and helps cut down the time taken by surgeons to be ready for live operations. According to Dale’s cone of experience, knowledge retention in learners is highest when they ‘Do” as opposed to what they hear, read, or observe. Virtual reality enables a constructionist approach to learning where learners can engage with contents in an immersive environment. From chemical bond formations to chemical reaction, everything happens right before the eyes of the learners through virtual reality. Educational experience delivered through virtual reality can be entertaining, delightful, and practical all at the same time.

Tools available…

Google Expeditions is one such widely popular virtual reality educational tool that enables students across the globe to experience historical landmarks, explore coral reefs, and even travel to outer space. There are now a host of such proprietary software’s available now that delivers 360O views of realistic and immersive educative contents through virtual reality. For a country like India where education delivery is quite conservative in its overall outlook the potential for VR aids such as Google expeditions and others in the education sector cannot be undermined. MBD Group is soon going to launch a new line of Virtual Reality based content and device for better understanding of children. MBD’s new high quality, interactive 3D virtual reality simulations will be made available for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Additionally, the group also plans to deliver high quality VR content for vocational courses/ skill courses in the informal education sector as well. Apart from the Group’s own VR device, MBD’s VR content will be compatible with all other leading VR devices like Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, etc. for wider accessibility.

What next?

While the development of virtual reality may still be evolving, the possible application of the technology especially in the education sector is endless. From basic concepts of science and mathematics to the most complex of medical surgeries, from a tour of the Martian surface to 3D home designs, virtual reality can help deliver a truly immersive and realistic experience to discerning learners across the globe. The era of VR in education is just getting started hints at the exciting times that lay ahead for the education sector.

Pegasus, a children’s book publication, are very keen and focused on children’s education and better career for the next generation, which is only possible, if they are given good, value added education. With a team of creative authors and editors, who come up with great learning ideas and techniques, Pegasus ensures accuracy and quality by using the most effective learning ideas for children in every age group. So, here is a look at Pegasus’ tough screening process for every book it produces, shares Shobhika Khurana, publishing manager, Pegasus.

There is a lot that goes in making of a good book. A book’s journey starts with an idea and then it undergoes scrutiny through various departments, i.e., content creation by the author, followed by the editorial, design, illustration and quality check. Here’s a peek into the journey of an idea into a book.

What needs to be published?

Based on the sales figure, demand from the readers (which we receive through emails and surveys), trends that are going in the market, books to be published are decided.

Once the type of books to be published are decided, editorial experts and sales team put their heads together to come up with new concepts for children’s books.

This idea is then taken to the next level— the creating of actual content which depends on a number of factors, such as the subject of the book, genre, target age group etc. Based on these criteria, an appropriate expert author is selected to write and visualize the content.

What is the role of the author and editor?

Idea is shared with the author keeping in mind several factors. Age group plays a vital role in the same. Keeping in mind the age group, text is written which is easy for the child to understand as per age. Number of pages to be written in a book is decided. These are shared with the author for the content writing.

Once the content is written, it goes through the first round of editing wherein; the concept’s execution, basic grammar etc. are checked and reviewed. The content goes through the first filtering at this stage.

Editor ensures the vocabulary is as per child’s understanding. They also ensure the facts written in the book are correct, there is no plagiarism done.

How is a book designed?

Right after the text is ready; there is a set of brief given to the illustrator, where imagination gets its wings. An illustrator understands the brief and draws what should be drawn in the book (as suited to the age group), illustrations that a kid relates with and understands.

Pencil drawn illustrations are reviewed by the editors for their correctness and appropriateness. These approved illustrations are then sent for colouring. Few samples are created to see what kind of colouring will suit the content and the illustration style best. Illustrations are then coloured based on the sample approved.

At this stage, text and illustrations are ready to be designed.

Designing plays a very important role in children’s books. A lot of care is needed while designing the book for different age group. First being FONT, designer has to keep in mind the age group when deciding the FONT of a book. For instance, lowercase alphabets are used for younger readers. Overly violent scenes are avoided. Religion and public sentiments are also kept in mind.

When is a book ready for print?

Book becomes ready for review, where it is once again checked by the editorial team. Marked corrections are then carried out by the designer. After the designer incorporates the corrections, the file is sent for quality check. The editorial quality check ensures that the best material is given to the reader and the design quality check ensures that the aesthetics of the book are at par with what our competitors provide in the market.

The last thing before a book goes into print is the ferro or the plotter (a proto type of what the completed book would look like) is sent to the author to finalise the copy which is then sent for printing.

Successful books by Pegasus

Books like 365 stories, collector’s edition, and theme based activity books , vast range of encyclopedia’s are among Pegasus’ bestselling books. Many of these books are sold throughout the world, and are being translated in several other languages (Spanish, Arabic, etc.) to reach out to many kids around the world.

Tips for selecting a book for children:

At Pegasus, following factors are kept in mind while selecting a book for children:

  • Rigorous quality check: A strong screening process to make sure only the best goes to the reader.
  • Age Centric: Each book should be carefully compiled keeping the target age group in mind.
  • Lexile Reader Measure: Books should be graded under the Lexile Reader Measure, which ensures that the books adhere to reading and learning capabilities of the age group for which a particular book has been compiled.
  • Value for money: The books should not only be of the best quality but should also be priced reasonably, so that every child can enjoy these books without worrying about the cost.
  • Curriculum for lot of schools: Books can be based on common curriculums and subjects that are found in books in various schools in different parts of the world.

AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award to debut in 2017

The shortlist for the 2017 AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award by Genting Singapore (ACBA) was recently announced by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event. ACBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Genting Singapore, a Singapore-based regional leisure, hospitality and integrated resorts development specialist.

This is a new award presented to an outstanding published picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer, illustrator, and translator team of Asian descent living in Asia. The writer, illustrator, and translator of the winning book will each receive a $10,000 cash prize. In the case of the winning title not being officially translated, the $10,000 translator prize will instead be used as grant for the publisher of the winning work to commission and publish a translation of the book.

Claire Chiang, chairperson of the NBDCS Executive Committee, says, “Translation is very important to the Book Council. Asia is such a wide and diverse place with varied people and myriad languages, and reading each other’s stories is the first step in understanding each other. We are happy to have Genting Singapore as our partner for this award, and are delighted that recognizing great Asian picture books is important to them as well.”

There were a total of 245 entries from all over Asia, the most for any Book Council award in its awards programme history, including Bangladesh, Singapore, the Philippines, Lebanon, China, Thailand, Russia, India, Syria, and Malaysia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist.

Besides, the Makan & Mingle was another first at AFCC; this unique occasion showcased more than 100 children’s and young adult titles created by Singaporean authors and illustrators, and published in the last two years. Titles ranged from popular books penned by award-winning authors like Emily Lim, Hidayah Amin, Don Bosco and Neil Humphreys, to works by comic artists like David Liew and Evangeline Neo. Translated titles, as well as several titles written in other Mother Tongue languages, will also be featured. Participating publishers include Epigram Books, Ethos Books, Math Paper Press, Armour Publishing, Bubbly Books, Crimson Earth, Pepperdog Press, World Scientific, Balestier Press, and others.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017: an update

The Bologna Children's Book Fair was successfully held from April 3-6, 2017 at the Bologna Fair Centre in Bologna, Italy. Attendance at this year’s show was up by 2% over last year, to 26,743. What’s more? There was 15% increase in overseas and foreign attendees, hitting 11,752, who accounted for 44% of total attendance.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair launched a new initiative in New York, dedicated to the commercialization and trade in publishing rights on an international level. From May 30- June 1, 2018 BolognaFiere will be in New York with an appointment that will offer an opportunity for publishers and American agents to meet with their colleagues from all over the world alongside booksellers and librarians.

The 2018 Bologna International Children’s Book Fair is scheduled for March 26–29, with China as the Guest of Honor.

Indian book features in Scholastic Picture Book Award shortlist

The shortlist for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award (SPBA) was recently announced by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (the Book Council) at the Makan & Mingle event. SPBA is a joint initiative between the Book Council and Scholastic Asia, the world's largest children’s books publishing and distribution company.

The award is presented biennially to an outstanding unpublished picture book with distinct Asian themes by a writer and illustrator team of Asian descent living in Asia. As well as a $10,000 cash prize, the winning book will also be published by Scholastic Asia.

There were a total of 137 entries from all over Asia, including Bhutan, Singapore, the Philippines, Iran, China, Vietnam, Japan, India, Turkey, and Indonesia. The judges have selected six titles for the shortlist, each from a different country. These include: Aytul Akal, Mavisel Yener, Kubra Nur Ozkececi, and Yasemin Yener (The Flying Grandpa, Turkey); Emila Yusof (How Rooster Became the Zodiac Animal, Malaysia); Ho Jia En, Sabrine Ong, Shona Menon, Wong Shu Jing, and Melodie James (The Little Durian Tree, Singapore); Anuradha Ananth Huggler and Shailja Jain Chougule (Poorni and Her Peepal Leaf, India); Maria Karina Putri (The Treasure of Kancil, Indonesia) and Le Thi Bich Khoa (The Whale Whisperer, Vietnam).7

Three children's authors feature in Sunday Times Rich List

Three children's authors have been featured on the annual Sunday Times Rich List for the first time. These include Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson and Adam Hargreaves and family (inheritors of the estate of Rogers Hargreaves, the creator of the Mr Men books) for the year 2016. Wilson is at 13th position on the Authors' List with £40m, while Hargreaves and family are at number 16 with £32m. Donaldson is 17th on the Authors' List (£30m).

Other authors on the list include J K Rowling, Chef Jamie Oliver, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Lord Archer, Lonely Planet founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler, Wilbur Smith, E L James, Ken Follett, Jack Higgins, etc.

The annual list features the 1,000 wealthiest individuals and families in the UK based on public information, showing the wealth of people based on the previous year.

From the house of Clinton’s

Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, is all set to launch her first picture book – She Persisted. The book will feature 13 different historic women, including: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, and one cameo.

Zooming into our lives again!

The new set of books for Disney Pixar Cars 3 are on the anvil. Disney Pixar Cars 3: We Are Racers (Pp 32, ISBN: 9781474872096, Rs 295) is a beautifully illustrated 32-page picture storybook that lets you relive the film Disney Pixar Cars 3. Lightning McQueen is known as a racing champion across the world. But when a new generation of blazing fast racers arrive, he is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. With the help of old friends and new, can Lightning make the comeback of his life? Children will fall in love with the Cars again.

While, Disney Pixar Cars 3 (ISBN: 9781474871969, Rs 395) is a 72 pages hard bound book with die-cut PLC. The story revolves around Lightning McQueen. Blinded by a new generation of blazing racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of old friends and new. The next Piston Cup will challenge the heart of a champion on racing's biggest stage in this Disney Pixar Cars 3 storybook.

Both the books are published by Parragon Books.

There is a dearth of good quality fiction from Indian authors for young adults, who thrive on foreign books. Dr Ira Saxena shares why it is important to have books in Indian settings and how to allure the young adult readers. Catch them young has been a catch phrase in the last decade to promote reading from pre-school to the early teens, the golden age of reading, yielding an indigenous crop of beautifully illustrated, well-produced variety of reading delights in India. Yet, a vast segment of the reading populace is left to fend for itself through the abundance of foreign exports in book shops and libraries, defeating the lofty ideals of affording reading pleasure from their own panorama. The young readers seem to take a gigantic leap to graduate, all of a sudden, from simple home grown adventures to Harry Potter to Ludlum, Catherine Cook, Irving Wallace, Terry Pratchett and Jeffrey Archer exposing a wide chasm bare for the Indian writers to traverse on for supplying pleasurable reading material befitting their exigencies within their climate.

Books: all the more important for young growing minds

The young adult readers demand similar concern for reading substance in fiction as is due for beginner readers and thereafter. For the young adult readers stories offer solace; literature can show a way through conflict that enables the young minds to think and comprehend, ensuring an emotional release and coming to grips with their situation. They can’t be called children at their age but their ability to distinguish reality from pretence is beyond their grasp, impeding functional independence of adulthood.

They think they can choose their goals but lack of vision and uncertainties in making decision, triggers conflicts. The lack of experience puts them in a most vulnerable situation where they are prone to grave risks, where, in fact, books provide a curative touch and guides them through the upheavals in life.

The young adult reading interests seeking substance in stories proceed through juvenile adventures. A special stream of literature for these readers incorporates an honest presentation of the ground reality, their inter-personal problems versus intraindividual complications, their dilemmas and their strengths.

Realistic stories encroaching the territories of adult fiction enchants them - the psychological undercurrents behind the complex situations conflict with physical forces, peer pressures and clashes in value structures establishing the intrinsic plot details. The classics like Homecoming by Tagore, Sharat Chandra’s range of social dramas such as Anuradha, Shrikant, Devdas, Viraj Bahu, and Premchand’s Nirmala, Shatranj ke Khiladi, Kafan, Sadgati etc. drew images from the society striking at the consciousness of social surroundings and flesh and blood characters, impressing the modern youth as well.

Literature for young adults

Actually, while preparing a recommendatory booklist of Indian publications for senior classes I noticed a conspicuous scarcity of original modern literature for the target group, particularly in Hindi. The slot had to be filled by popular classics of the great luminaries of Hindi literature. There is a marked shortfall of new young adult literature in English as well, magnifying the fact that foreign imprints are presumably distant to Indian readership.

Although the maturation process follows the same milestones everywhere, the choice of relevant themes for the Indian reader varies tremendously according to the socio-cultural set-up. In the urban situation matters, such as severity of competition, joining expensive glamour events, exploitations and treating conflicts with norms thrust a need for tackling these issues. Then there are personal insecurities triggered by the current mobile culture demanding instant gratification, instant solutions and instant programing for the conscious modernist as against the prevailing insecurity and deprivation of the have-nots asserting for an equal stature. Such situational and individual difficulties are intensified further as one move from metros to small towns and rural areas exposing the youth to rampant adult political pressures in the lives of struggling youth, fundamentalist edicts and formidable terrorists’ designs. It is imperative for the urban youth to understand the grave problems of rural young adults and similarly, for the rural youth to integrate the glamour and style of city dwelling.

What is required?

Attractive novels, stories catering to this sensitive age group are in short supply particularly, those unfolding layers after layers of simmering clashes inside the mind, consciousness of societal norms, self-awareness and expectations. When centered on small towns and the rural belt similar assertions acquire greater intensity of exposure. There the complexities facing the modern youth are further complicated by importance to caste and community matters, infiltration of political power play, survival of the ordinary amidst local bullies and lack of modernization. A major segment of the population lives in small towns and villages. In current fiction, there is almost negligible mention of intensifying situational matters and range of interpersonal problems stretching to a sensational proportion outside the metro cities. Just as the enchantment of rock band glamour or climbing the success ladder by urban counterparts attract attention of the small town dweller; a sensitive revelation of struggles in the rural set-up in fiction would expressively acquaint a large population of youth in the cities.

Usually, real people and real conflicts, opulent emotional content feature the severity of predicaments of the young in realistic fiction. It is important to comprehend what goes on behind the circumstance of the individual, the psychological process of problem solving, and resulting emotional catharsis. The young people, in particular, facing discrimination in society, ethnic distance, cultural intolerance, and personal traumas derive a peaceful resolution in literature for young adults. The story becomes the catalyst for healing mental turbulence and emotional instability, enabling the reader to project their personal flaws on the main character in the story-line to find a way out of life-storms.

(Dr. Ira Saxena, a child psychologist, writer, and critic of children’s books, has been writing mostly realistic stories, novels, and non-fiction in Hindi and English for children of all ages. She has been elected to the Executive Committee of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and is the founding member and Secretary of Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children.)

Dreamland offers diverse children’s books that feature fairy tales, early learning books, colouring books, various activity books, educational charts and much more. Here are a few new titles from this publishing house:

Dictionary – an essential tool of language

A dictionary is a compilation of words ranging from letters A-Z. For a systematic study of any language, a dictionary of that language is a prime necessity. Dreamland’s Concise English Dictionary is specially designed for children who are curious to build a great treasure house of vocabulary. Concise English Dictionary has ample of entries covering sciences, literature, nature, cultural words, phrases and their meaning. Numerous examples of usage, separate notes on grammar and vocabulary building are the prominent features of this dictionary that give clear explanation.

Dreamland also offers Mini English Dictionary to cater for the needs of children at home and school. Being compiled in simple language, easy-to-understand definitions and examples, this handy dictionary could be of great help to everyone.

As well as offering a treasure of information about words, Dreamland Publications’ Dictionaries include a wide range of additional features like quick notes on grammar, pronunciation, spellings, idioms and phrases with usage, popular quotations, etc. Uniquely, user-friendly these dictionaries will definitely enrich your treasure-trove of English language, expand your understanding of words, and ensure you are using them correctly.

Super Code Breaks & Super Criss-Cross

Activity books are fun and the key is to always make the readers tackle boredom as well as boost creativity and mental energy. Break a code means to succeed in understanding something that is written in a secret way. Codes have been used throughout history whenever people wanted to keep messages private. There are a number of different ways of making codes. Criss-cross Puzzle is an antidote for boredom and downtime. The children seem to enjoy doing this kind of activity.

Dreamland’s Super Code Breaks and Super Criss-cross are fantastic and highly stimulating puzzle collection that is a fun, brain-teasing activity books for the children who want to exercise their brains. These books are a great way of keeping the brainpower in great shape. Whether one is looking for a relaxing coffee break moment or really wants to test one’s skills, there is sure to be something for each one here.

These books are a perfect gift for a clever child or an inquisitive mind who wants a puzzle-book to be Fun and Relaxing or for developing Vocabulary and Logical-thinking. They can put their brainpower to the test with our fun battle of wits!