Children’s book publishers with roots in India bring out stories and illustrations that have the colour and parlance of our culture. The characters, settings and themes are ones that children all over the country can identify with. Many new authors, voices and illustrators have found work with these publishers. Thus, this field is now seeing some interesting and exciting work. The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award has been established to acknowledge the excellence in children’s writing and illustration in India. It recognises innovative publishing trends and children’s literature in India as an independent and important genre.
Let us look at some children’s book publishers that have gained immense popularity because of their work:
Amar Chitra Katha
It is one of the largest publishers of children’s comic books in India. Best known for mythology and Indian folktales, Amar Chitra Katha also publishes biographies (from Gandhi to Jim Corbett), fables, classical literature and stories from Indian history. It was founded in 1967 by Anant Pai, who is known as ‘the Father of Indian comics’. ACK’s purpose was to acquaint children with our vast and rich mythological heritage and iconic historical characters.
Tulika began 20 years ago in Chennai and is one of the country’s older publishers. It is popular for bilingual books and publication in regional languages. They have some wonderful gift and library sets.
Katha started as a magazine for underprivileged children in 1988. It is an NGO, working in the field of literacy and education. For nearly three decades, ‘Kathakaar’, the children’s publishing program at Katha, has been harnessing the power of stories, new and old, to spark curiosity and compassion in children across the world. The books are multicultural and multilingual. They focus on Girls, Earth, Kindness and Equity.
Tara is known for their experiments with the forms of books, from hand silk screen printed books, to scroll books and textile books. These publishers from Chennai are known worldwide and have won many international awards.
Pratham Books lives by its vision to get ‘a book in every child’s hand’. They have produced titles which are affordable for all. Their latest innovation is Story Weaver, an online platform of multilingual stories and illustrations. This allows anyone to access, translate and redistribute their material.
It is the children’s wing of Zubaan Books. It was founded in 2004. It has published everything from picture books to Young Adult fiction. In recent years, the list has gained recognition for excellent middle-grade fiction.
Duckbill began in 2012 as a collaboration between children’s book writer Anushka Ravishankar, and children’s book editor Sayoni Basu. It took off with the aim of filling the massive gap in the market for chapter books and Young Adult fiction written by Indian authors. Duckbill also publishes some great historical fiction books. They have also delved into the crucial but less talked about issues like mental health, sexuality and special needs.