An entire society can be changed for the better by educating its children. India’s rich story-telling culture makes it all the more easy to introduce innovative communication techniques such as comics, illustrated story books, graphic novels and e-books to help young minds grasp complicated lessons that save the planet as well as its people. This list of top 10 examples of story-telling techniques is a tribute to those communication tools that made a lasting impression on children across the globe.
Understanding Gandhi – WORLD COMICS INDIA (WCI)
It’s amazing how the simple comics’ format can make a world of difference in a child’s life. “Understanding Gandhi” is the result of a 10-days’comics campaign organized for children by WCI – an organization that promotes grassroots comics as an effective communication tool in rural areas. This book is a top 10 story-telling tool because it beautifully teaches the life and beliefs of Gandhi through cartoons par excellence. The work is the collective effort of a bunch of activists, cartoonists, artists, journalists and students who make up the team at WCI.
An inspiring compilation to help children know more about Gandhiji
A Tale of Two Magic Potions – CHILLIBREEZE SOLUTIONS
Prevention is always better than cure; which is why Chillibreeze Solutions – India’s number one content and design service provider – thought of an innovative way to start off their Malaria awareness campaign in the north-east region of India with colorful comics for school-going children. “A Tale of Two Magic Potions” is the first series of health comics that is aimed at helping children in India learn about malaria in the most entertaining manner possible. The stupendous success of this comic book as a top-rated story-telling technique has encouraged the team to address more serious health issues in their next series of health comics.
A comic book with a novel theme on malaria awareness
Galli Galli Sim Sim – SESAME WORKSHOP
Almost as interesting and equally effective as the world of comics is the popular children’s series “Galli Galli Sim Sim" which relies on entertainment channels to help children imbibe good values, healthy habits and basic development skills. Rated as among the top ten regularly-watched children’s shows, this pre-school education programme is the Indian version of the renowned U.S television series for children, "Sesame Street” and reaches over 22 million viewers across urban and rural India. Sesame Workshop, a non-profit, educational organization, is glad that their show has been able to enrich the lives of millions of children in India, especially the under-served.
Popular muppets in Galli Galli Sim Sim is seen here with Aamir Khan and Darsheel Safary
Katha Prize Stories (Volume 3) - TAMASHA
22 years of innovation in ‘story-telling with a purpose’ has endeared Tamasha – a profit-for-all, social organization - to 8,000,000 young minds and their families across India. The organization’s unique story-telling model, Katha, is a compilation of several award-winning short stories for children that revolve around a powerful theme and are designed to bring about sustainable, real changes in society. Volume 3 of Katha is rather unique, for each story focuses on diverse global issues such as moral deterioration in “Salaam America”, women’s liberation in “No Regrets”, the problem of AIDS in “Another Name for the Deluge”, caste discrimination in “Ashoka” and abuse of child labor in “Fireworks”.
A book for young readers, to be read and recommended
The Activity Magazine for Spreading Holistic Awareness - TAMASHA
Initiated by Geeta Dharmarajan on World Literacy Day in 1988, “Tamasha” has since then lived up to its grandeur as a children’s health and environment magazine. Primarily designed for children from non-literate families, especially in rural areas, this magazine illustrates ideas on sustainable development, family well-being, empowerment of girls and other life issues. Over the years, it has also become an important aid in introducing around 800,000 children to the realm of complex science, mathematics, Indian languages and cultures. Tamasha features among the top 10 publications for children for its unswerving efforts in expressing powerful ideas in the language of a child.
One of the best tools for a child’s total development
Elephants Don’t Diet – PARO ANAND
This beloved Indian author of children’s books goes one step further to present weighty themes to her young readers by introducing atypical stories such as “Elephants Don’t Diet”, among many others. Published in 2004, this top-selling story book stands out from the rest, thanks to its unique title and an unusually important storyline on self-image. Anand’s idea for the picture book came from the obsession with diet and looks that she saw among young children around her. Any child who reads this book will at once realize the absurdity in thinking “fat people are undesirable”.
A picture book for very young children
No Guns at My Son’s Funeral – PARO ANAND
Here is yet another best-seller from Anand, a writer who certainly deserves a second mention in any top 10 list of children’s literary works. “No Guns at My Son’s Funeral” is the best reality fiction among the 18 story books written by the author and is the illustrious outcome of her involvement with 50 young children affected by terrorist violence in Kashmir. The desperate desire of every Kashmiri child to grow up as regular kid without fearing violence is delicately narrated as the central theme. A lot of young readers have been able to empathize with the story’s main characters and at the same time understand the lurking dangers of terrorism in societies different from their own.
A true life story about terrorism, written foryoung children
Cauvery – PRATHAM BOOKS
No other children’s book in India seems to have addressed the issue of water conservation in a more visually appealing manner than the 44-page illustrated masterpiece, “Cauvery”. Published by the non-profit trust, Pratham Books, this colorful children’s book depicts the glory of the river Cauvery through stunning photographs and easy to understand text. The aim behind Cauvery is to encourage kids to become involved in ‘Save Water’ campaigns and understand the importance of conserving India’s rivers from further depletion.
After the first book on ‘Ganga’, this is Pratham Books second publication on the rivers of India
Escape From Terror Byte City – MOTION PICTURE DIST. ASSOCIATION (India)
Launched at the Cyber Safety Week - 2010 by the Commissioner of Mumbai Police, D Sivanandan, this ultra new, graphic novel commands pride of place among the top 10 list of story-telling techniques. “Escape from Terror Byte City” aims at helping school children grasp the perils of internet film piracy. The story revolves around two boys who become entrapped in a virtual city after downloading an unauthorized movie from a peer-to-peer file-sharing site. Published in three languages – Hindi, Marathi and English – for children aged between five and ten, copies of this novel will soon be distributed in every Indian city. Endorsed by the Department of Information Technology, Mumbai Police, Data Security Council of India (DSCI) and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), this novel is an adaptation of the version launched in New Zealand.
A page from the fun-to-read graphic novel
Superman: Deadly Legacy – DC COMICS, UNICEF & U.S. DEPT. OF DEFENSE
Though released 10 years ago, the number of lives saved by this powerfully visual story-telling initiative makes its worthy enough to be reiterated as a top 10 example of effective stories. Back in 1997, an exclusive edition of “Superman: Deadly Legacy” comic was distributed among children in Bosnia and Herzegovina to warn them of the dangers of landmines waiting to explode. Around six million landmines were laid in the country during the conflict in former Yugoslavia. The timely publication of this comic by DC Comics in cooperation with the US Department of Defense and UNICEF, helped a great deal in teaching children to stay away from landmines, recognize areas where mines may be located and take appropriate actions if they find a mine.
"I know they look like fun," says Superman as he sweeps up two boys before they can pick up a couple of mines
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—About our writer:
Vandana Thambi is an established corporate communications professional with 10 years of solid experience in crystallizing thoughts into well-poised words. She presently leads, creates, implements & oversees the communication programs of a multi-national company. She is the editor of 3 corporate magazines & has quality exposure in developing marketing collaterals, websites, profiles, annual reports, speeches, presentations etc. She is also the winner of the UNESCO best writer award in 1990 and frequently freelances for international clients.
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