The Art of Storytelling for Young People

A well told story has the ability to stir emotions, trigger ideas and conjure images that will last a lifetime. If storytelling is such an enjoyable process, then it is also important for young people to be taught how to tell a story because it is they who will grow up to be consumers of stories in their adulthood. No matter what field they choose to build a career in, storytelling skills will always come in handy. By coaching them to tell stories, we also ensure that this ancient art form is preserved and passed on. Here are some reasons we need to teach storytelling to young people:

  • Storytelling is tradition. It is the oldest form of communication we know as humans. Wisdom was passed on in the form of stories for several generations until we became enveloped by technology and information was measured in kilobytes. With this access to data, young people often stop ‘wondering’ about the world they inhabit. Yet, when a story is told in an engaging manner, they listen. Spellbound. Regardless of age. By coaching young people to become storytellers, we can pass on essential skills and enable them to develop voices that will be heard. Most importantly, we ensure that the tradition of storytelling is kept alive.
  • Storytelling creates stronger family ties. When children make a conscious effort to mine stories from their relatives they learn about their roots. Almost everyone has at least one interesting family member or episode in their past. By telling and listening to stories of such people, young people get the opportunity to know about that uncle and that grandmother who may have passed much before their time. They draw tremendous strength from stories about adversity, loss and success that have taken place in their own homes.
  • Storytelling is an amalgamation of reading, writing, listening and speaking. When a child reads a story to retell it, he or she learns how to analyze its parts, look for hidden meaning in the metaphors, imagine the characters and their traits, reproduce in his/her own words, build sequence, memory and confident articulation.
  • Storytelling builds self esteem. When the audience claps at the end of the performance, the child’s self-worth soars sky-high. This confidence is then carried over to other aspects of life.
  • Storytelling develops good listening skills. In order for anyone, leave alone a child, to be able to tell a story well, it is necessary to observe the details in the environment closely to be able to reproduce it in the telling. For example, if a character speaks with a nasal twang, it is important that the storyteller does justice to this defining trait by imitating the tone of voice, which will add richness to the telling. Listening also helps build memory while recalling a story.
  • Storytelling builds good creative-writing skills. When children work with folktales, they are encouraged to recreate the story by changing some elements and making their own. They pay attention to the sensorial elements in the story and put their ideas into words that form new connections to the original.
  • Storytelling teaches how to engage. When a story is told, the audience are a part of the story. This is why there is no ‘fourth wall’ in the storytelling process. Children learn how to make their telling interesting to the audience by adding various elements such as music, dance, refrains, actions etc.
  • Storytelling drives away inhibition. The audience is a part of the storytelling, which means they’re on the storyteller’s side. They don’t threaten the teller by being disinterested, passive listeners; they tell the story along, sing the refrain and chants and give their responses. This makes the environment safe for the inhibited. Mistakes are alright because the teller learns how to quickly improvise and move on.
  • Storytelling is a lot of fun. Whether it’s a pourquoi story or a tall tale, a fable or a myth, storytelling opens up the imagination of both the teller and the listener. This can be a hugely enjoyable process, regardless of the end objective. Stories are told for fun as much as they are told to send home a message. Children love being different characters and displaying various emotions as they perform the story. It transports them to a risk-free world, where everything is beautiful. With all these benefits, stroytelling cannot be bad for anyone!

As storytellers we have often wondered why storytelling is not encouraged as an important skill to develop in young people in India. Among adults today, there is enough awareness about this skill; what with groups like Toastmasters, TED etc. making it popular and making them realize the need to build it into their repertoire for personal and professional success.

But adulthood also brings with it limitations—one may want to pick up storytelling at 35, but may not have the time nor the resources to do so. If we were to instill good storytelling skills from a young age, we’d only be making adult lives much easier, would we not?

Keeping in mind all the above, Ever After intends to start a one-of-its kind workshop called the ‘Tribe of Tellers’ for children between 8 and 12 years that will create and nurture young storytellers and coach them to become performers; The workshop will achieve this through fun, yet structured, activities that involve listening, speaking, reading and writing; it will also teach children theatrical techniques such as visualization, voice modulation, body language and expression to enable them to tell a story in an engaging manner, while helping them understand and appreciate the various genres and techniques of storytelling. The camp will culminate in a performance of the stories that the participants will have learnt during the workshop period.

poster_forweb (3)The first edition of this workshop will commence on Apr 6th and go on until Apr 22nd, at Paradigm Shift in Koramangala. Timings are from 11 am to 1.30 pm on weekdays. Another round of this workshop will take place between May 11th and 24th at Jagriti Theatre’s Summer Carnival. 

Inspired by the work of organizations like the National Youth Storytelling Showcase, Youth Storytelling Foundation, Timpanogos Institute, U.S.A., and The Beauty and The Beast Storytellers (Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss) that work extensively in the area of coaching young storytellers, we also hope to have this Tribe of Tellers trained to perform at various venues through the year, if all goes well. It is our honest belief that these Tellers will grow to become strong voices of the future and carry on the tradition of oral storytelling.


Learning About Otherness

Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl might be one of the most beautiful YA books ever written. But we won’t look at it here for its merits as a book about teen angst and young love. We’ll take the whole, lovely package and think about it in terms of what it teaches us about difference and non-conformity.

Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli Book Cover | Source: Wikipedia

Sixteen year old Leo Borlock is harmless and startlingly normal. He laughs, he has friends, he has a hobby. We have here, a character who is the very epitome of normalcy, a not-too-quiet not-too-loud person who floats through the corridors of his teeming, bubbling high school and, every now and then, gets swept by school-wide waves of excitement and intensity.

Then Stargirl Carraway enters, riding just such a wave. She’s new in school, and she’s crazy. She carries a pet rat to classes. She dresses like a gypsy. She strums an ukulele and sings to her schoolmates on their birthdays. She has the most gorgeous eyes Leo has ever seen. The students of Mica High are wary of her. Her energy is absurd, magical. They are captivated by her spirit, shocked by her principles. They love her when she cheers for the school team, they hate her when she celebrates someone else’s win. What is she anyway? What’s her deal?

And that’s what everyone, including the mildly lovesick Leo, wants to know. How can they define her when she doesn’t seem to fit into their definitions of anything?

Stargirl is a series of slow, spellbinding sequences. We watch as Stargirl shows Leo how ‘normal’ she really is, that she wants love and belonging as much as the next person. We follow them on long walks into the shining Arizona desert. Most painful of all, we watch as the vicious, confused, terrified teens of Mica High shun and shatter Stargirl.

Jerry Spinelli

Spinelli shows us something obvious in this book: we cannot tolerate otherness. We reject what we don’t know, what we cannot understand. And then he suggests something that suddenly appears equally obvious: beneath the outward differences we are all alike. And also: love and acceptance can exist even between people who cannot understand or categorise one another.

By crafting his novel such that the rejection, the difference, and the love are pinned only to delicate, half-magical characters inhabiting a delicate, half-magical world, Spinelli has created a starting point for discussions on real-world differences of all sorts. At one level Stargirl is the beautiful story of a single girl’s struggle to stay different, and of Leo’s struggle to stay in love with difference. But it’s also a story we can all use to think about acceptance and tolerance, to keep in mind as we navigate our perilous social worlds and watch differences of identity tear our societies apart.


Similar Titles

  • Very Far Away From Anywhere Else by Ursula LeGuin
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sanchez
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Things Around Your Neck: Short Stories by Chimammanda Ngozi Adichie

For Slightly Younger Readers

  • Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio

For Young Readers

  • The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  • Dad David, Baba Chris and Me by Ed Merchant
  • Mukand and Riaz by Nina Sabnani

-Dakshayini Suresh for Ever After

Storytelling to Teach Academic Subjects

As Deeptha Vivekanand, Founder, Ever After, prepares to deliver a workshop on ‘Storytelling to Teach Academic Subjects‘ on February 6th at the Chennai Storytelling Festival 2015, here’s a look at what makes stories and storytelling so relevant and important in a classroom. This post also seeks to challenge the notion that storytelling is only for the very young. Stories in all forms–oral histories, books, films, art–are powerful tools to enrich the teaching of a subject. Read on to find out how:

There’s something really enduring about a story. Maybe it’s the fact that the words and images that go into it are chosen with such care. Maybe it’s the fact that it has progression, from one event to another, from one idea to another. Maybe it’s the way stories and characters emotionally engage us. We go from one place to another with these characters, watching them, listening to them, investing in them, remembering them. This is the strength of a story. What you get from it stays with you, tucked away in a complex web of associations and emotional reactions and experiences.

Stories can have a great positive impact on education methods and can increase the level of student involvement in a subject. While acknowledging that syllabus-prescribed texts nowadays are probably more colourful and anecdotal than the material she remembers from her school days, Deeptha, talks about the shortfalls of a textbook based learning system: Students “don’t feel challenged to go beyond the given text, look for information and draw their own conclusions. But when we ask them to write a story based on a topic, they get the chance to both look up the facts and express their thoughts creatively, hence engaging both sides of the brain”. There is, for instance, something mechanical about the conventional curriculum approach to social studies and science, a fixation with memorising in learning. Engaging with the narratives of a concept gives students a chance to see it as more interesting than what is presented in the text. They suddenly see the opportunity to use creativity
and active thinking in the learning process.

One significant example of a story that can be effectively used in teaching social studies and history is Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. This is a well-known book that children often come across outside the educational context. Its strong narrative thrust and moving emotional content give it all the qualities of a novel. However, it is actually a real-world account of the persecution of Jews during WWII. It is grounded in the political and social backdrop of war-torn Europe. It can be used as a way to study and discuss the events of history, the impact of political turmoil on individuals and to understand the importance of basic human rights in any context. In studying such a rich and personal account of the war, students will find themselves understanding historical events at an emotional level, remembering them not just for the dates and political manoeuvres, but for the human trauma they represent. A contemporary equivalent of the Anne Frank story is Malala Yousufzai, whose tale captures the suffering of schoolgirls in militancy-affected Pakistan.

Narratives of science are also becoming increasingly relevant to understanding the scientific method and the discoveries that it has spawned. Visual media, like the new production of the Cosmos series (presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson) incorporate snippets of biographical information about the astronomers, physicists and chemists behind the discoveries that make our conception of the universe what it is. Students retain information about rules and processes by associating them with the dynamic, brilliant individuals who make up the field of science. Examples of popular (and important) written word narratives include The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and The Double Helix by James D. Watson (chronicling the research and intrigue that led to the discovery of DNA). Skloot’s story about Henrietta Lacks discusses the ethical questions that emerged when the cancer cells of a poor Black American woman were used, without the knowledge and sanction of her family, to fuel a scientific endeavour and create an immortal line of cancer cells which are used in medical research till date. Skloot also provides information about what exactly biologists learned about the disease from Lacks’ cells. These are, effectively, the stories of the units that make up human life.

Stories have incredible scope. Deeptha feels that if they had used textbooks in their sessions, the learning of students “would have been limited to only the basics—who, what, when, where. The whys and hows would have been ignored because there isn’t much to ponder over.”

Whether we use the Jataka Tales to learn about Buddhism, the Akbar-Birbal stories to discover the of culture Mughal India, or the glamourous classic stories of Greek heroes and polymaths to uncover the meaning life in the ancient civilizations, there is no limit on what we can glean from the stories around us. None of this is to undermine the values of traditional education systems, but only to suggest that the introduction of narratives can create a window for imagination, memory and understanding to manifest in broader and more exciting way. Also, Nisha Abdulla, Co-founder of Ever After believes that stories can be used to encourage linking ideas across disciplines, as this might be the “need of the hour.” She describes a lesson in which the term ‘physical features’ of a country was studied as a combination of science, geography and economic trade. She also describes instances of stories providing the opportunity for discussions about values and dialogue: “In a recent history session we were looking at the legacy a strong leader leaves behind and the influence it has on a country and its people. We compared the legacies left behind by Mandela and Hitler in South Africa and Germany respectively in the form of stories written about that time. The children were then challenged to flip the narrative.” Students then find themselves raising questions about “democracy and rights, nation building in a diverse country like India with its own history of marginalisation.”

Narratives are conducive to the retention of academic concepts, and they encourage adopting stances through slow deliberation and a deep, detailed knowledge of multiple perspectives. Perhaps, as Nisha suggests, “children need to go through this process – only then will they become adults who are comfortable with various perspectives in others.” In a world where rigidity and intolerance are prevalent in human attitudes, the construction of mentalities that value dialogue and thoughtfulness and celebrate the growing multiplicity of identities, ideas, and knowledge can only be a good thing.

Finally, perhaps it is also important to understand our own roles in the universe of stories. We, as individuals have a place in the larger scheme of things, and initiatives like the Big History Project discuss the history of the world not just by drawing emotional and other parallels between students’ lives and the stories they come across, but by locating us, as people and as lifeforms in the much bigger story of planets, societies and our place in the universe. History is then conceptualised as a narrative that includes the minute filigree of our lives, as well as the larger sweeping social and natural phenomena that shape us. The stories that we learn through become our own stories—of origins, processes and extinction.

-Dakshayini Suresh, for Ever After



Reading Nature Writing with Children: Nature’s Spokesman

Nature’s Spokesman is a charming collection of short essays, drawings and poems by M. Krishnan, the eminent naturalist and nature photographer. It is a lovely way to introduce young people to the natural world around them. The book covers an extensive range of birds, animals and landscapes, describing them in flawless, detailed prose. The sentences are stunning, sparing, beautifully worded, and perfectly accessible to readers of all ages.

Krishnan writes based on everyday observations of the environment. These include fleeting anecdotes about the seemingly mundane lives of pigeons and house geckos; brief sketches of mythological animals; discussions around climate change and deforestation; precious encounters with some of India’s most exotic wildlife; and stories of clashes between humans and the natural world. He depicts nature as a dynamic element of our own routine lives, rather than presenting the environment as a static system with elements that must be understood from a purely scientific point of view. The stories of Krishnan’s interactions with nature draw attention to the importance of empathy in learning about other life forms. His gentle humour and understated anthropomorphism convey his genuine affection for the world he describes. The essays encourage young readers to be emotionally engaged with nature.

The author dedicates essays to simple analyses of phenomena that we, in our daily lives, pay little attention to. Images of sleeping dogs, felled sidewalk trees, rain… these seem so ordinary to us. We rarely experience curiosity, feel the urge to open our eyes and stare at a fallen wild fruit or a crow perched on a compound wall. Krishnan, in his descriptive language, reveals the pleasures of minute observation, and teaches his readers to feel fascination even for the most “boring” aspects of nature. His brief pieces express wonder and sorrow and frustration, all provoked by the smallest, most incongruous comings and goings.

The credibility and actual information value of this collection is high. The author was, after all, a naturalist, and an expert in his field. However, he imparts his knowledge in beautiful, unintimidating prose and invites his readers to draw as much solace from mere observation as he did. Children will find facts in this book, but they will also discover an enthusiasm and a mild protective instinct for nature within themselves. This collection will manufacture many Nature’s Spokesmen.

Similar titles:

Of Birds and Birdsong, M Krishnan

My Family and Other Animals, Gerald Durrell

Three Singles to Adventure, Gerald Durrell

For younger readers:

A Boy and a Jaguar, Alan Rabinowitz

The Lorax, Dr Seuss

The Tree Lady, H. Joseph Hopkins

-Dakshayini Suresh for Ever After

8 steps in the digital storytelling process as illustrated in

The Power of Storytelling across the Curriculum: The Role of Digital Storytelling

In our Learning through Stories program that we conduct across schools in Bangalore, we use different tools to tell a story – books, oral storytelling and most important of all, digital storytelling.

Digital Storytelling is a very powerful method of teaching and learning that uses the narrative, digital pictures, animation, audio and video to create a digital media that talks about, narrates, explains and above all tells a an engaging story that the digital storyteller wanted to convey.

Steps in digital storytelling Here’s what digital storytelling requires a storyteller (the student, the teacher or both together) to do. This illustration from explains eight important steps in digital storytelling.

8 steps in the digital storytelling process as illustrated in

Steps in the digital storytelling process

Benefits of using digital storytelling in the classroom

Creating a digital story requires the students to apply thought and reasoning in order to tell their point of view about a topic. It urges them to use their imagination and get creative. Digital storytelling compels the students to thoroughly probe, explore, question and examine a topic before they can develop it into a digital story.

The power of storytelling in the curriculum

At the center of a digital production is the story – the script of the film. When a class gets down to write a script for a digital story, they are actually constructing several different stories – all based on individual perspectives and viewpoints. This means that the students are dwelling deep into the topic, getting a good grasp of it, understanding it before putting forth their arguments or taking a stand about the topic.

Bottom-line: using storytelling in the classroom improves reading and writing skills, augments visual comprehension, guarantees better retention and recall of the concept, promotes logical thinking and boosts imagination.

University of Illinois’ Community Informatics Initiative website, explains the power of stories in the curriculum:

“Children who are exposed to storytelling learn the process of creating and sharing an effective story. Students learning digital storytelling learn how to express and share emotions with their audience in the 21st century…In order for their story to be effective students must be able to express their emotion using and piecing together video, pictures and sound.

This learning process can help them express their feelings, views and creativity using new modes of communication…In order to develop a story, the child must first understand who he or she is creating the story for, developing their ability to empathize with others and improving their conflict resolution skills.”

How do we do it – the Ever After edge

In our Learning through Stories program that we conduct for the Amaatra Academy, Bangalore, we teach their Social Sciences curriculum for grades 6 to 9. We liberally use stories from folktales, myths, books and films to teach about the Mughal Empire, French Revolution, Early Humans, Democracy and so on.

One such lesson was on King Akbar for 7th graders. One of the topics that we touched upon and discussed was his heroic conquests, accomplishments and his greatness. As assignment, we asked the students to reflect back on the story of Akbar and explain what greatness meant to them. This is what one student had to say:

Ever After's Learning through Stories  program in school impact

Such profound thoughts and all prompted by a story! Now you know why storytelling can be such a powerful tool in learning and teaching. The class is currently working on a digital story project on Water. We’ll upload those stories soon!

To know more about Ever After’s story-based services and program, go to or email us to Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest news and resources about using storytelling in education. We also invite you to join our Facebook Group – #learningthroughstories (#Learning through Stories). And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Just drop us a mail telling us that you’d like to subscribe and we’ll make sure you get all of our next issues.


Creative Educator Contest – First Place: Rajeswari Devadass

Rajeswari Devadass’s entry – a lesson plan based on a wordless picture book – has been adjudged the best entry in our Creative Educator contest. Rajeswari, we confer the title of ‘CREATIVE EDUCATOR’ on you! And you also win a Flipkart voucher of Rs. 1500!

Well done and many congratulations, Rajeswari! It was a comprehensive lesson plan, indeed.

Here is Rajeswari’s winning lesson plan:

Name of the book: Journey (A wordless picture book – first in the trilogy series), A 2014 Caldecott Honor Book.

Author : Aaron Becker

Theme/Topic: Travel, creativity and imagination

Lesson Objectives:

Through listening, discussing, and participating in the given story-based activities students will demonstrate –

  • How to read and interpret a wordless picture book in their own way.
  • Their imagination to extend the story.
  • Their ability to illustrate in pictures.

Time Taken: 40-50 minutes.

Grade Level(s) or Age Group:  Ages 6+.

Materials Required:

  • Aaron Becker’s picture book, Journey
  • Crayons or markers
  • Drawing papers or card paper

Instructional Plan:

Introduction/ Pre-reading:

  • Take out the Journey. Beneath the book jacket, on the hard cover of the book is a parachute. Ask the children what they think the book is about.
  • Discuss the jacket cover and probe the children to talk about the red crayon in the girl’s hand.
  • Explain to them that the book is about a journey that the girl with the read crayon is about to embark on.
  • Explain to them that this book is picture book without words and the story is meant to be interpreted by them in their own way using the pictures.

Read the story to the class:

  • This being a wordless picture book, allow for the illustrations to be seen clearly by all the children. Ask questions like “What do you think is happening on this scene” or “What are the characters other than the girl that you can see on each page?” or What emotions the characters on the page show? for each picture (illustration).
  • As you turn the pages, if the children fail to notice some obvious characters or elements, either give them sufficient hints or reveal what they missed them in the next subsequent read once the plot is uncovered.
  • Ask more questions urging the children to share their observations. For example –
    • What are the things that they notice on each page?
    • How do the soldiers welcome the girl when she enters the palace?
    • Is the girl scared when she about to fall off a cliff?
    • What do the soldiers feel when the girl runs away with the bird in cage?: Angry? Helpless? Defeated?
    • Do you notice the King watching over the girl?

Discussion questions for assessing students’ comprehension:

  1. Why did the girl decide to embark on this journey?
  2. The soldiers held a purple bird captive? How did the purple bird come into this palace?
  3. Did you notice on the very first page – a boy who was holding a purple crayon? If the children did notice that – did they think that he would be part of this story in this role?
  4. How did the girl save herself from the soldiers who tried to kill her? Who helped her in this?
  5. How did the girl meet the boy on her journey? Who led her to the purple door?
  6. How and when was the boy part of this place that she traveled to?

Subject/TopicTravel/ Creativity/ Imagination:

  • What have you done at home when you were bored – while mum and dad are busy? Things other than TV / Games?
  • The boy with purple crayon – did the child notice it in the first read? If they didn’t, where did they think the purple bird came from?
  • Why did they think the boy drew a cycle in the end? On the first page, the boy’s friend were on a cycle and he didn’t have one? Did he wish for a cycle?

Activities for sparking imagination and building a story:

Worksheet 1.1- Draw a Journey that you think the two friends will take on now.

  • Ask the children if they too have an imaginary dream or journey that they want to go on – a  place that they long to visit, an expedition that they dream of?
  • Ask them to tell you their imaginary dream or journey by drawing the same in the worksheet 1.1.

Worksheet 1.2: Draw the next scene or add details to the image to save/help the character.

  • Ask the children if they have encountered difficult situations like in the story – a bird kept captive, a hurt puppy, an old woman on a cold night without warm clothes – Have you helped in such a situation and how?
  • Hand over Worksheet 1.2 – To draw the next scene/ additional objects to the image to save/help the character.

How to use this worksheet?

Worksheet 1.2 includes some images or scenes (see below) from different picture books. These pictures are set in different stories in different picture books. Yet there is one thing similar to all these images: all of these pictures depicts a problematic situation in the course of the story – like a character needing help or rescue – so that the problem is resolved.

For example, image 2 is from the story, Brave Irene. The dress that Irene carries to the palace in a box gets whisked by the strong wind and it flies out of the box. Encourage the children to draw an object or the next scene so as to save the dress from flying off.

To conduct this activity, first print these scenes from different picture books on 6×6 card papers. Along with each picture give a blank card of the same size. In the blank card, ask the children to draw the next scene based on what they think would happen next.


My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann - Ever After's Creative Educator Contest Entry by Rajeswari Devadass

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann


Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator Contest

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett


A Bit Lost by Chris Houghton in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator contest

A Bit Lost by Chris Houghton



Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin in a lesson plan by Rajeswari Devadass for Ever After's Creative Educator contest

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin



Brave Irene by William Steig

Brave Irene by William Steig


Further Reading:

Quest – Aaron Becker – The sequel to this.

‘The Creative Educator’ Contest Details

Are you an exciting educator? Do children listen to you with wonder? Do students look forward to your classes? Do you do magical things to make your teaching interesting? If yes, here’s a chance for you to win the ‘CREATIVE EDUCATOR’ contest!

All you have to do is:

Submit a lesson plan based on a story/narrative and stand a chance to win some cool prizes!female teacher writing various high school maths and science for

How to enter the contest

  • Pick a classroom topic/theme/subject/grade of your choice.
  • Pick a children’s/ young adult story (from a storybook/ the internet/ or any other source) that relates to the topic.
  • Think up a lesson plan using the story.
  • Send the completed lesson plan to on or before 25th Sep, 2014.

Don’t forget to

  • ‘Like’ our Facebook page and/or ‘Follow’ us on Twitter. If you already are connected to us, then jump to the next step.
  • Refer this contest to more teachers like you by sharing and tagging them in the poster. You can also tag friends, colleagues, family members who would love to take part in this contest.

Winners get

  • The title of ‘Creative Educator’ 🙂
  • Flipkart e-vouchers worth Rs.1500, Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500
  • Their plans featured on the Ever After blog/facebook page/twitter feed.
  • Discounted entry ticket to our ‘Teaching Through Story’ Workshop on Sep 27th and 28th at Atta Galatta. (First place winner only)

Contest Guidelines and Format for Submission

All teaching ideas submitted should include the following:

  • Story title, author, source
  • A gist of the story if it is not available in the public domain
  • Submit entries in MS Word or Google Doc format
  • Content Area(s) (if applicable, ex: language arts)
  • Lesson Objective (what do you want the students to be able to do, explain, discuss, etc., by the end of this lesson?)
  • Lesson Assesment (how will the students show that they “get it” or can do what you hope?)
  • Grade Level(s) or Age Group(s)
  • Duration (ex: one 45-minute period)
  • Theme/Topic (ex: Water, Ascending Order, Condensation, Mughal Empire etc.)
  • Materials Needed (ex: felt pens)
  • Supplementary Materials (any worksheets, video links, etc.)
  • Step-by-step activities
  • In these links you can VIEW, DOWNLOAD and use a suggested lesson template that includes all of the above requirements.

And remember

  • The lesson plan that you devise must be 100% original.
  • One contestant can submit only one lesson plan based on one topic and one story.
  • Winners will chosen by experts from the Ever After’s curriculum design team.
  • The contest is open to teachers, educators, parents and tutors.
  • This contest is open to residents of India only.
  • Ever After’s decisions will be final and binding with regard to the contest.

Go on. Create away!

Madras Day 2014 Special: Children’s Books Based on Madras

I love Madras (now Chennai), my birth city. Once a quaint little port town, it has now metamorphosed into a bustling metropolis of South India.

Madras was born on August 22, 1639 when Francis Day who belonged to the East India Company bought a small piece of land (where Fort St. George stands now) from the then Vijayanagara king, Penda Venkataraya. The said piece of land was under Darmerla Venkatapathy, a local Nayak ruler who granted permission to the British to build their commercial establishments on his land.

The British built Fort St. George in 1640. As the Madras Day website says, ” Out of the fort grew settlements. Then the villages around it were brought together. And then, the old and new towns linked up. And then we had the city.”

This grand city has a vibrant cultural and historical heritage. Madras boasts of filter kaapi, idli-sambar, kanjivaram sarees, carnatic music, bharathanatyam, beaches, temples, educational institutions, heritage buildings, poets, litterateurs, kolams, Tamil cinema and much more alluring delights. Go to to know more about the city’s rich culture and heritage.

So, as the Madras Day 2014 celebrations kicked off, I asked my friends and fans on Facebook to suggest children’s books based on Madras and depicted even remotely the people, life, culture, geography and traditions of Madras. Below is the list that I compiled with inputs from my friends and followers.Thank you everyone for helping me compile this booklist.

Flat Traack Bullies  - Children's Book based on Madras by Balaji Venkataramanan

Picture Credit:

Flat Track Bullies written by Balaji Venkataramanan, published by Duckbill books is a YA book that traces the life events of a teenage boy in Chennai as he turns his nondescript summer vacation into a thrilling adventure. This book is packed with references to the City’s summer life.

Madras Booklist - 123, I Love Chennai by Rupa Jacob

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123 I Love Chennai written by Rupa Jacob is a brilliant book that portrays the city through a counting book. Ideal for 1-3 year old children, this book helps them count from 1-10 using photographs of different things unique only to Madras: 10 Filter Coffees and 7 Toppi Dosas!

Madras Booklist - Where's the Cat by Manjula Padmanabhan

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Where’s the Cat? written and illustrated by Manjula Padmanabhan and published by Tulika. There is no mention of Madras in this book, but the book’s illustrations has strong resemblances to Madras especially the school girls uniform which very similar to Etwarts School’s!

Madras Booklist - Susheela's Kolam by Sridala Swamy.

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Susheela’s Kolam written by Sridala Swami and published by Pratham Books is all about Kolams, an integral part of the culture of Madras and other parts of South India.

Madras Booklist - The Dog Who Wanted More by Soumya Rajendran and Arun Kumar Kaushik

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The Dog Who Wanted More written by Soumya Rajendran and Arun Kumar Kaushik is the latest and the first middle grade title published by Karadi Tales. The story is set in Chennai.

Madras Booklist - Mayil Will Not Be Quiet by Soumya Rajendran, Niveditha Subramanium

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Mayil Will Not Be Quiet written by Sowmya Rajendran and Niveditha Subramaniam, illustrated by Niveditha Subramaniam and published by Tulika Books. This is a pre-teen story about Mayil Ganeshan. From Saroja Patti to Rajinikanth movies – two things very Madras – Mayil has an strong opinion on everything. And where does she give vent give to all her thoughts? In her diary, of course.

Madras Booklist - My Friend The Sea by Sandhya Rao

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My Friend the Sea written by Sandhya Rao and illustrated by Karuna Sesh and Pervez Bhagat is a book about a little boy’s feelings about the sea, after the city is ravaged by its fury in the 2004 Tsunami.

Madras Booklist - Trash! On Ragpickers and Recycling by Gita Wolf and Anushka Ravishankar

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Trash! On Ragpicker Children and Recycling written by Gita Wolf and Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Orijit Sen and published by Tara Book depicts Madras, the city through the eyes of a ragpicker boy as he lives on its streets and ekes out a living, picking trash from its alleys.

Madras Booklist - Excuse Me, Is This India? by Anushka Ravishankar and Anita Luitwiler

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Excuse Me, Is This India? written by Anushka Ravishankar and Anita Leutwiler, published by Tara Book is brilliant book to introduce kids to the people, places, sights and sounds of India and of course, Madras too. This book has been illustrated using quilts made from Indian fabrics.

Madras Booklist - Ponni the Flower Seller by Sirish Rao

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Ponni the Flower Seller  and Babu the Waiter, both written by Shirish Rao and published by Tara Books features the City’s people and their work.

Mylapore (out of print) by Tara Books, is a book that features children’s views about Mylapore, a prominent neighbourhood of Madras.

That’s all for now. Do you know any more books based on Madras/Chennai? Do let me know please.



Connected Learning and Storytelling

Making Learning Applicable in the Digital Age: Combining Connected Learning and Traditional Storytelling

Connected Learning is something that I am deeply passionate about and firmly believe in. Simply put, Connected Learning is making learning applicable and education useful in the digital age by using the power of technology and digital resources in learning and teaching.

Here is a video from the Connected Learning Alliance that explains how Connected Learning is all about making learning relevant.

Learning and teaching using the Connected Learning method:

Children today are becoming increasingly connected to the online world. They are on social networking sites, they are forming online communities which they use as a platform to discuss topics of their interest. They create multiple online identities, share and seek online content with amazing ease and keen interest.

Given this situation, how can we do make learning useful and relevant for our children in the digital age?

As parents and educators here’s what we can do –

First, based on your child or students’ interest show them where and how to harness the vast resources of correct online information. Give them access to informative and age appropriate websites, books, journals, videos etc.

Next, show them how to research a topic of their interest – either from their curriculum (Chemistry, Language Arts) or something that they are simply passionate about (Astronomy, Cooking).

Then guide them, teach them and show them how they can use multiple forms of information – text, pictures, videos, and narratives to create their own digital content. This digital content is the final product or a digital documentation of their understanding and learnings about an issue, a topic of interest and importance to them. It is a digital story visualized, produced and created by the learner

What’s more, digital content produced this way can also be shared with friends and fans across the globe. Isn’t this a wonderful way to learn and spread knowledge in this digital age?

Connected Learning and Storytelling:

I believe, for Connected Learning to be truly an effective learning and teaching method for students and teachers alike, we must first understand what lies at the crux of Connected Learning: Individual perspectives and storytelling. Connected Learning requires all the elements of Storytelling to weave together little chunks of information to form a larger narrative that is crafted entirely based on the learner’s perspective.

At Ever After, we have an after-school program based on Connected Learning called the Digital Storyteller. This program has been designed for the curious, inquiring minds of 12-15 year olds with a penchant for wanting to know explore complex topics, learn more and investigate things their way. The Digital Storyteller infuses modern technology with traditional storytelling to teach kids the nuances of creating a digital story complete with a plot, narrative, visuals and music. The Digital Storyteller program strengthens visual literacy, writing skills, improves analytical thinking and develops the all essential 21st century skills.

So, if you are a parent or an educator who like us believes that traditional storytelling combined with the latest digital technology is the best way to simply complex topics, infuse excitement into dull, dry lessons and all in all make education and learning truly fun then get in touch with us by writing to us at Or, you could go to our website to know more about our work and the services that we offer.

For a quick view of our various story-based after-school programs, click here.




Football World Cup 2014 Post: Children’s Books by Football Players

The Football World Cup, 2014 will kick off (literally) in Brazil in a couple of hours.

As the world gears up for the Football fever, here are three children’s book about football written by football players:

1. Frankie’s Magic Football: Frankie and the World Cup Carnival written by England’s midfielder, Frank Lampard. He is in the English squad or this World Cup. Written for children 5 years and above, this is just one of the many books in the Frankie and the Magic Football series.

A children's book on football written by England's midfielder, Frank Lampard

Picture Credit: Guardian Bookshop

2. T.J and the Cup Run by Theo Walcott, also plays England, but will not feature in this year’s World Cup due to a knee injury. This book for children 9-11 years old. There are more in this series too – T.J and the Penalty, T.J and the Hatrick, T.J and the Winning Goal.

Children's book on Football written by England player, Theo Walcott

Picture Credit: Random House Publishing

3. And then there is For the Love of Soccer written by football’s legend, Pele.

Pele's children's book, For the Love of Soccer

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Those were three books written by football players.

Now, here is one not by a football player but one that will make a really great read if you are looking for something simple, colorful but highly informative to read with your children and introduce them to the history of ‘the beautiful game’. The book is The Story of Football written by Rob Lloyd Jones and Illustrated by Paddy Mounter

A book to teach young children the history of football

Picture Credit: Usborne Books

Now, if you are wondering how these super busy football players found the time to write a children’s book, read Frank Lampard’s interview with The Guardian’s young reader members.

Teachers and educators, find some very useful, free downloadable teaching resources about football in general and the World Cup in particular to use in your class or learning studios here and here.

We will keep posting more books on football on our Facebook page everyday for the next one month of World Cup, 2014. Visit our Facebook page daily to discover learning (All about football) through stories.

Meanwhile, do you know any other past or present football players who have authored children’s books? Do let us know via and we will add their works to our list. Also, have you used children’s storybooks to teach about sports? Which is your or your children’s’ favorite? Tell us.

About Ever After Learning:

Ever After Learning, Bangalore based learning and development organization that uses stories to make education fun for children. Ever After is a learning and development organization that uses stories to make education fun for the young and the old. We swear by the power of stories to communicate concepts, inspire individuals and impact lives.

Visit our website to know more about Ever After’s services and programs offered. Also, stay connected with us through Facebook or Twitter.