Parents, many a times, invent new stories to read out to their children. Pooja Sardana is one such parent. Amidst creating new stories for her child, a thought struck her – why not share these stories with other parents so that they too can read them out to their children?
Thus was born Picture Book Tree – a unique concept where anyone can contribute children’s stories and young kids can read these stories online. As their website puts it:
PictureBookTree is a tree that grows stories. Stories about caring, sharing, love and growing up. Like any tree, it loves to share its fruit, asking for very little in return.
For just one dollar a year, you can pick up as many books as you like for your little one! Here is an interview with Pooja Sardana, the founder of Picture Book Tree:
Can you tell us a little more about The Picture Book tree?
PictureBookTree is a tree that grows picture books and story books for children. Stories about caring, sharing, love, and growing up. Like any tree, it loves to share its fruit, asking for very little in return. This site, started by me who is a mother, shares beautiful life messages in the form of colorfully illustrated story books. Books that in a very subtle way lead you to appreciate and love this beautiful life, value relationships, respect nature and the world we live in. This site is a gift of a parent to all parents. I wanted to make reading easy and accessible to all. I wanted the kids to read and enjoy as many books as they want without getting stuck with the price tag. In fact, money should be the last thing that should come as an obstacle in their growing up and experiencing life. That’s how this tree was born. A tree which allows parents and children to climb up and read as many books as they wish to.
The site allows users to read, download, and print all the books for a subscription fee of only one dollar a year. The site also has an upcoming section called Magic Box where kids can enjoy short educational and funny videos, print out and paint coloring sheets from their favorite picture books or tease their brains with interesting memory puzzles! The site currently has 8 books, 5 more books are due for release by end of August. 15 books are in pre-production to be released by November. So there is a lot to look forward to. Magic Box was released this month and already hosts printables likes coloring sheets and Spot The Difference. Soon short videos, puzzles and other creative fodder for parents and children will be added. All of this comes for only one dollar a year
Why did you start this? What was the inspiration?
I always loved illustrating since I was a child and I started by making small picture books for my son, Aman, to read to him at night. He loved the books and I found the encouragement to make more. One day, I went out with my friend to buy some books for his son. The bookshop was filled with children books but the books were quiet expensive. With a heavy heart, she could only pick two. On our way back, I thought, why not gift her my picture books? I could always make more for Aman. I came back home, wrapped the books in a beautiful gift wrap paper and gave it to her. Her son just loved the books – even more than what she has bought for him. I was narrating the incident to my husband and he said, “Children books should not be sold in a bookstore. They should grow on a tree, where every parent and kid can climb and pick as many as they wish. Children should not be denied the joy of reading because they or their parents cannot afford it.” And that was it. With the help of my husband, we planted this seed, which has grown into PictureBookTree now. This tree wish to serve all parents across the globe with its fruits of love, care, and affection in the form of short and beautiful stories about caring, sharing, love, and growing up.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and brought up in Dehradun, a quaint little hill station in India. As a child I was a prolific painter, reproducing everything I saw and imagined on paper. I completed my education from St. Joseph’s Academy, Dehradun. I hold a master’s degree in English and also Bachelors in Education. I am presently working with the British School, New Delhi.
Who can be a part of Picture Book Tree? Do you need illustrators or contributors?
Anyone can be part of it! Parents can send us their stories through the ‘Share a Story’ option on the site and if their story gets shortlisted, we will illustrate and publish their stories. Illustrators can send us their work at writetosus[at]picturebooktree.com and if their work fits in well with any of the story theme we currently have or we may have in future, we will get in touch with them and we would love to feature their work.
If you are looking for some wonderful and entertaining books for your children, go ahead and check out Picture Book Tree.