Revolutionising reading

Apr 15, 2012, 11:12 IST | Ayesha Nair

The children's books website Story Revolution offers unique books to young readers

An avid reader will always have fond memories of the books they read as children — the fantasy-filled world spun by words and colourful illustrations. That’s what prompted Bengaluru-based duo Shalini Sekhar and Angela Jain to dig into their love of children’s books to give the next generation of readers the same fond memories. 

Sekhar, a web designer and Jain, a photographer, are founding members of the online children’s bookstore Story Revolution (.in). The concept took shape while the two were building the library at Shibumi, a school in Bengaluru. Sekhar says, “We found additional copies of wonderful children’s books at many second hand book godowns. We first approached libraries but that did not go too well. Later, interested parents and schools came to us.” They started four years ago on an informal basis with an excel sheet as their catalogue. Last week, they launched their new website.

Sekhar and Jain do not generally accept donations but prefer to source books that reflect their tastes. Having a design and creative background they tend to lean towards works with illustrations. Sekhar explains that, as a recycling venture, some American companies discard books that then find their way to small stores or book exhibitions in India. After going through boxes of these works they might find five special ones.

And that’s the operative phrase — special books. On their website, you won’t find the usual suspects — Enid Blyton, Panchatantra or The Hardy Boys. Authors like Eric Carle with his picture books and those that have won the Newbery Medal — an honour given to American authors for their contribution to children’s literature — find a place of pride on the site. Sekhar throws light on their selection policy, “It’s a collection of books that has a feel of its curators. We choose works that have a sense of passion in them. The illustrations have depth and are not innovative just for the sake of it. They have compassion and open a new way of thinking in children.”

Having had a teaching background, the duo realises that children want to be challenged and look for works that provide more than just the Disney-style of illustrations. They have also tied up with publishing houses to make available first-hand books. On sale are books for ages between 1-17 years and in the price range of Rs 40 to Rs 400. If you stay outside Bengaluru then you have to pay a surplus of Rs 20 for the first book and Rs 10 for additional ones. The website lets you browse through books divided into sections on the basis of author, title, age, price and awards.

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