Tuesday, 5 May 2015

0 A Guide to e-BookShopping

e-Commerce websites are the most convenient way to buy things and agree or not, happy or sad, Books are the one of the safest things to buy online, keeping in mind - size, color , genuineness and other disappointments that come with other products. While this sadly marks the decline in sales of physical bookstores - Here are some tips from an 
e-bookShopper who still loves bookstores.

Source: http://alamedaca.gov/library/1000-books-kindergarten
Pic Courtesy: http://alamedaca.gov/library/1000-books-kindergarten

Search Wisely and Filter effectively:
Search by author names as opposed to book names to get more search results to glance at one view to check out quickly. Search by Category eg: Books->Fiction-Children-Picture Books - Then use the filters to apply "Age Filters" , "Price range filters" and then choose. 

Trust the suggestions:
Most of the e-commerce websites, once you add books to cart or while you are looking at an item, suggest similar items or "Customer who bought this also bought.." which are very useful during sales. This hints similar books and gives a quick view of their prices too. 

Wish list your favourites:
If there is a book/books that you are looking out, use the wish list feature on the website itself to wish list. If you want to be more organized, you can even create wish list by "Want - Come what may", "Want", "Good to Have", "Want if on sale" or even as "Books", "Toys", "Home" etc. This gives a quick view of the items you want and the prices they are at. Some of the websites like Amazon and Flipkart even send out a notification/alert when the items on the wish list are at a reduced price. The wish list items even hold a tag line that says "this is 5% lower than when you added to list".

Compare Prices:
Don't go by the %age off on the price. While it helps to know what the book is usually priced at, easier route is to check the price at other sites. Use some browser plugins like BuyHatke or the likes to track price changes over a period. This helps you decide, if the item is really on a sale price or not.

Add to Cart - Breathe - and then Check out!
When you breathe? Ask :
Do you really want that one? Just because it is from the same author or from the same series -  it may not be as good. Try to stick to the ones that you have heard of, read reviews about or been wanting for a long time.

Sometimes the book on sale costs less than a pastry or a coffee these days - True that! A book is worth every penny you pay - agreed. But if that book can wait instead of having to swell up your credit card bill and interest - it rather wait than pile up at the bookshelf. I know this point is best ignored and marked as "Read" but not implemented by most of us.

Scan your cart thoroughly with attention - since the price when you added the book to cart to while you check out might have changed. You might be getting a cracker deal on one while on the other you might giving away that saved money. 

Delivery charges:
It is not a wise thing to to pay delivery charges per item- since the book itself would not be that price difference as that of the delivery charge. Eg: Flipkart charged 40 Rs per item on last week's sale - if you bought more than 12 books, you might as well have paid for a Flipkart First membership which comes at 500 INR for a whole year. Keep an eye out for the delivery charges before you check out.

Yes, being on the know of children's books authors, names and having read reviews helps in the selection process.
There is nothing more satisfying than finding your "Wish list" book at a cheap price and checking it out and getting it delivered. Buy away at the click of the button and enjoy.

*This post is no way affiliated to any of the e-commerce websites.

Monday, 30 March 2015

0 Bubble Ink : #BubblySummer Reading Program

Bubble Ink celebrates the love for books this summer by hosting a social media picture book party by complimenting it with art/craft activities and by pairing participants as reading partners.

What is #bubblysummer?
It is a social media picture book party which will run for a whole month. This will involve sharing of picture book recommendations, personalised book suggestions for participants, activity ideas shared from across the internet. As an added bonus, participants will be paired with a reading partner to share each other's reads with - sending notes about each other's reads, getting to know their reading partner in terms of book choices, book collection and whatever they wish to.

Register using this form to express your interest for participation. 8-10 participants will be selected for this. Registrations close by 10 th April 2015. Selected participants will be announced on 12th April 2015

As a selected participant, you agree to 
1. Be paired with one other participant ( with whom you will share your personal email or any convenient mode of communication). Your reading partner will be chosen based on registrations received and will take into account - your child's age. We will try and find the best match.

2. Interact actively with your reading partner and on Bubble Ink social media (FB page or Instagram or Email) by sharing your reads and activities for the time window 

decided for the program. Using the hashtag #bubblysummer, you will share pictures of the books you read and the activities you do. 
Take care of copyright and do give credit if activity ideas are taken from the internet.
If you dislike sharing public pictures on your personal FB profiles, you could email pictures to bubbleink.writes@gmail.com - we would post on our timeline and not tag you.

3. Receive emails ( not more than 2 a week ) with themes, books based on the theme and activities to go with them. There is no restriction to read the books we suggest or to stick to the theme we suggest. The theme may or may not releate to summer - Possible themes are Dance, Art, or authors like Eric Carle etc. Themes / Activity ideas will be communicated primarily via email to all participants . It will be optionally shared on Bubble Ink FB timeline too.

The emails will contain affiliate links to websites - buying from them gives us a small fee which are used to run contests in the Bubble Ink. However, there is no mandate to buy from those links. 

If you wish for Bubble Ink get in touch with you - to give you some personal book recommendations after getting to know your child's likes, interests and exposure to reading so far.

4. Optional : If and only if all participants agree, there is a book and activity exchange that can be planned among particpants or among reading partners. This is completely optional. There is no commitment to do this. 

Disclaimers: Bubble Ink is not associated with any e-commerce sites. Books recommended during this program will be the ones personal read by the Bubble Ink. Activity ideas will most often be sourced from the World Wide web - via Pinterest, FB pages and due credit will be given them by sharing the direct links to them.

1. What are the exact dates of this program?
We plan to decide the exact dates after choosing the participants and keeping in mind vacation and travel plans of all participants.
It will anytime between April 15, 2015.

2. Why the 10 participants and age restriction.
Since this is a pilot , we want to try this with a limited set so that we can do full justice and personal recommendations to all the participants. Bubble Ink 

specialises in picture books , though we believe there is no age limit to picture book reading, we are not experts yet at book suggestions for older kids. We would 

like to keep this program interesting and useful by giving personally tried recommendations only. Thus, the age restriction. However, if your child is an ardent picture book lover and if you would like to part of the program, do register.

3. Am travelling during the time of the program - Can I still participate?
You can. If you will read to your child during your travel and be able to share it on Social Media/ Email to us and with your reading partner.

4. How often should I interact with my reading partner? What kind of interaction would I have?
We suggest atleast 2 to 3 times a week to make it interesting and active for your partner. You should interact with your reading partner only in their preferred mode of communication. Eg: if your partner dislikes to be tagged on your FB posts - please don't tag them.
You can share  your daily reads with them  - Get to know their book choices/tastes - Suggest them some from your collection. 

Do write to bubbleink.writes@gmail.com or contact on www.facebook.com/thebubbleink for any clarifications.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

0 Bubble Ink : World Read Aloud Day : Post 4

The clue to the fourth and the last one in this contest is part of this post and the answers have to submitted via this form. All details of the contest are here. All blog posts can be seen here.

Arundhati Venkatesh is a children's writer. 
Her picture book, Junior Kumbhakarna*, won the RivoKids Parents and Kids Choice Award 2014 for the best book by an Indian author for ages 0-5 years. Her chapter books, Petu Pumpkin Tiffin Thief* and Petu Pumpkin Tooth Troubles*, were on the #2 and #6 spots of Flipkart’s Best of 2014 for children 5-9 years. Her latest book, Bookasura - The Adventures of Bala and the Book-eating Monster* had a fantastic launch at the Bookaroo Children's Festival in Pune, traveled to the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai and received a splendid response in Bangalore.
Find out more about her at arundhativenkatesh.wordpress.com.

She shares her Read Aloud experience with us.

If your kid loves Dr. Seuss, Julia Donaldson and Shel Silverstein, and you're wondering what next, read on.

I began reading to my son when he was two months old. The first couple of times he seemed to wonder what on earth was going on. Within a week, he was cooing along as I turned page after page of the most gorgeous books and translated the words into Tamil. 

Soon enough, he associated reading with joy, and began engaging with books of his own accord. This is him "reading" at four months! 

By the time he was a year old, he was excited by books of all kinds - even a tome on Service-Oriented Architecture!

When I was asked to pick a read-aloud favourite for this guest post at Bubble Ink, I knew it had to be poetry. Poems must, absolutely must be read aloud. One must delight in the sheer beauty of words; listen to the sounds and rhythms to experience poems fully.
If it is nonsense verse, in all likelihood, one is also laughing out loud!
Our favourites are the works of Lewis Carroll, A.A. Milne, Sukumar Ray's Abol Tabol (the English translation by Sukanta Chaudhuri, or the more recent one by Sampurna Chattarji), Vikram Seth's Beastly Tales, nonsense poetry by Edward Lear.
Edward Lear was artist, musician, poet and author (aside: where have all the polymaths gone?). His absurd wit in The Owl and the Pussycat was the cause of much merriment more than two decades ago.
A Book of Nonsense is a great way to introduce young readers to his work. Thirteen silly limericks, each on a double page spread. The accompanying illustrations by P. Mark Jackson are whimsical and utterly delightful. Sample this one:
There was a Young Lady of Greenwich,
Whose garments were border'd with spinach;
But a large spotty calf,
bit her shawl quite in half,
Which alarmed that Young Lady of Greenwich.

Then there is the Old Person of Dundalk who tried to teach fishes to walk, the young lady whose nose reached her toes, the Old Man of Coblenz who went with one prance from Turkey to France...

If you aren't able to get hold of a copy, the poems are available on the internet for free. Happy World Read Aloud Day!

As part of the Bubble Ink - World Read Aloud Day Contest - I am leaving a clue for our favourite Read Aloud. Guess the name of the book, its author and illustrator.

The answers will have to be submitted using this form . Please do not post the answer as Facebook comments or blog post comments. Alternately, can also be emailed to bubbleink.writes@gmail.com. 

The resident young reader goes through phases when he looks at picture books with disdain and declares, 'These are for babies.' All it takes is a book like this one to set him right.
Here are the clues that will lead you to the treasure, a truly wonderful picture book!

1. It all starts with a visit to the library. Yes! A book within a book. Don't we all love those?
2. An edge-of-the-seat tale in under two hundred words.
3. An alternative ending for more sensitive readers - done in the most delightful manner, with tongue firmly in cheek.
4. The creator won a prestigious award for this gem of a debut.
I was fortunate enough to meet and hear this most humble, lovely person talk about life, children's books and the process of creating them.

*- Affiliate Links

0 Bubble Ink : World Read Aloud Day : Post 3

The clue to the third book is part of this post and there will be more posts during the day and the answers have to submitted via this Google form. All details of the contest are here. All blog posts can be seen here.

Sandhya Renukamba is passionate about books and reading. She reviews books at SaffronTree and also at Women's Web.

Sandhya Renukamba shares her Read Aloud experience with us.

We’ve always had this thing about reading aloud in our home. I’ve always read aloud to my daughter, now almost 14. And now we take turns reading a book aloud, making it a shared experience. It began when she was just a little mite. Even when she wasn’t old enough to sit on my lap, I would
read out poetry to her, just any poetry. It didn’t matter what it was about, as she anyway couldn’t
understand it. English poetry and Marathi poetry. Just the cadence of the language falling on her
ears, the closeness of her mother at such times, was enough. She would become really still at times,
looking at me wide-eyed, and suddenly become all energized at times, waving her arms and legs
frantically, maybe in response to the feeling in my voice. For there is nothing like poetry to bring
about emotion. Later, when she was old enough to sit up, it were board books. Bright, colourful
ones. I probably didn’t use books with single words on the page for a long time – maybe not until she was trying to make sense of it herself. None of those fruits, vegetables, and alphabet books for us.
No sir. I continued using books in verse, books with a story, books that were often varied to the
touch. And once she could understand me, I somehow could not read them out to her in English. I
translated as I went on, instead, ‘reading’ to her in Marathi – our native tongue. As a result of which,
we had read books like Guess How Much I Love You, Are You My Mother, Cat In The Hat, etc., all told in Marathi along with original works in the language, until she was almost 3. So that when she joined her first school at the age of 2.5 years, she could not understand any English.

Once she got the hang of English, though, there was no stopping us. We have worked our way up the
years with many, many books that I have read aloud to us. While she became a proficient reader early, I would pick up some book just that little bit beyond her, and read it aloud. She would have
many questions as we went, and it gave us bonding time together. At one point, I even read aloud 
the entire Harry Potter series to her, something that will remain with us forever.

She is now old enough to read most YA books herself, the latest being The Book Thief. Yet, we have
kept at the reading aloud. We have recently read aloud Yes Minister, Yes Prime Minister, and Surely
You’re Joking, Mr Feynman. We have also embarked upon the journey of reading the Agatha Christie books, most of which she has read aloud, while we listened. Our current read-aloud together is The Etymologicon, by Mark Forsyth, a laugh aloud funny book.

We are slowly coming full circle, looking forward to a lifetime of reading aloud together, whenever
we can.


As part of the Bubble Ink - World Read Aloud Day Contest - I am leaving a clue for our favourite Read Aloud. Guess the name of the book, its author and illustrator.

The answers will have to be submitted as part of this Google form after all the posts go live during the day. Please do not post the answer as Facebook comments or blog post comments. Alternately, can also be emailed to bubbleink.writes@gmail.com. 

She writes of owls and wolves, and queens and princesses too

Picture books and chapter books and books about things true

Our book tells mom’s story, told to her little girl

What happened when she was little too – and see the love unfurl!

0 Bubble Ink : World Read Aloud Day - Post 2

The clue to the second book is part of this post and there will be more posts during the day and the answers have to submitted via this Google form. All details of the contest are here. All blog posts can be seen here

Dr. Tanu Shree Singh is a parent to two preteen boys, a lecturer in Psychology, and has a keen interest in the area of Positive Psychology. Most of her theories of bringing up children, however, have been violently challenged and reshaped by her two sons. She is surrounded by three clueless men (one by virtue of wedlock and two by virtue of womb), has five dogs with distinct non-canine personalities, and has an ever growing bookshelf to hide behind.

Tanu shares her Read Aloud experience with us.

Today is the World Read Aloud day. So pick up a book, grab some children, and read to them! No one is ever too old to be read out to. And no one is ever too old or too busy to read out aloud. Take out ten minutes, and watch the magic unfold. Read more  at Rivokids 

As part of the Bubble Ink - World Read Aloud Day Contest - I am leaving a clue for our favourite Read Aloud. Guess the name of the book, its author and illustrator.

The answers will have to be submitted using this Google form after all the posts go live during the day. Please do not post the answer as Facebook comments or blog post comments. Alternately, can also be emailed to bubbleink.writes@gmail.com. 

A book should have a story. Are you sure?
It has to make sense. Oh Boo!
Little kids love colourful pictures filling up the pages. Yeah right.
Does it have a lesson? Of course! It teaches us that words are a whole lot of fun. Oh! You mean a moral lesson? Err, no.
Only little ones love being read to. Well, get this, my teenaged boys get me to read this every time their friends are over, just for laughs.

0 Bubble Ink : World Read Aloud Day : Post 1

The clue to the first book is part of this post and there will be more posts during the day and the answers have to be submitted via this form.  All details of the contest are here

Arts Tales with Arthi Anand

Arthi Anand Navaneeth is a marketing professional with a fragrance MNC , mother of 2 girls and a writer. Have You Seen This? and Ranganna are her picture books published by Tulika.  She also is the creator of Mister Muthu for Chandamama.

She is a children's book reviewer at Saffron Tree and a weekend storyteller. She blogs about her storytelling adventures at Art's Tales and  her FB page is  https://www.facebook.com/artstales

Arthi shares her Read Aloud experience with us.

It is Read aloud day on March 4 and our old friend The Bubble Ink is hosting a contest, a very novel one.

As far as reading aloud goes- I am more of a narrator, very rarely have the patience to read aloud true to the written word. But here are somethings I do:

- Begin with rhyming and cumulative tales- The Big Pancake is a great one or One fish, Two fish 
- Choose a subject the child likes
- Modulate my voice to match the mood
- Let the budding reader read a word/ line or two
- Pause for discussion on the visuals and the situation
- Embellish or condense as needed

As part of the Bubble Ink - World Read Aloud Day Contest - I am leaving a clue for our favourite Read Aloud. Guess the name of the book, its author and illustrator.

The answers will have to be submitted using this form after all the posts go live during the day. Please do not post the answer as Facebook comments or blog post commments. Alternately, can also be emailed to bubbleink.writes@gmail.com. 

The Bubble Ink asked for our best read aloud experience, I would have said a whole lot of Tulika titles, Seuss staples, Handa's Surprise and of course Julia Donaldson but if I had to choose just one it would  be this:

It is evocative and gives opportunity to dramatise. The visuals are beautiful and have a lot of detail. It ensures the listeners are listening and contributing in a tale with a twist in the end ( always the best kind). 

The story provokes discussion on creepy crawlies and marriage and asserts girl power. The author is a master storyteller and shares a connect with one of India's iconic monuments.
Guess the book, author and its illustrator.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

0 Books for the first 24 months : My Favourite Thing

Part of the #Write31Days challenge.
Book categories for the first 24 months.

My Favourite Thing

This is another category which can work magical wonders with babies who are already interested in reading and also can encourage the reluctant readers - can be thought as a bribe technique. Get a book on the child's favourite thing - could be a toy, an animal or just about anything. A picture book centered around that favourite thing or just featuring it can bring immense joy to the reader.

There are any picks from us in this category since to each his own favourite exists.

But some of our favourites reviewed in the blog earlier are

Babies fascinated by the dogs : Could do Emily Gravett Dogs.
Those by elephants could do : Elmer
Those by teddy bears could do ;Knuffle Bunny
Those by caterpillar could do The Hungry Caterpillar
Fascinated by Cats could do Matilda's Cat.
Those by Fishes/Sea could do Commotion in the Ocean ; Giles Andreae