Nature Writing for Children March 2023 Batch

The course is designed and intended for people interested in writing books on the environment for children. The course is for adults (18+ years) with a decent understanding and grasp of the English language. 

Online certificate course for writers/​environmentalists/​educationists interested in the genre of nature writing for children

In 2004, India introduced mandatory environmental education in schools. In the decades since then, many more children have grown up learning about environmental issues. The increasing incidence of extreme weather events, pollution and the pandemic have also brought the effects of environmental deterioration closer to the lives of children from various backgrounds. In many ways, today’s kids, cutting across social groups, are far more environmentally aware than before. Yet the availability of engaging, age-appropriate environmental literature that contextualizes environmental developments for young readers and offers them rich and diverse perspectives on nature remains limited.

The Nature Writing for Children Certificate Course is an attempt to find and cultivate new ideas and voices to promote the growth of such literature. It caters to writers, educators, environmentalists and social workers who might have a wealth of stories and possibly a pre-existing audience but do not have the guidance to transform their writing into manuscripts that can be considered for publishing.

The two-day online certificate course will help writers with stories learn the essentials of nature writing for children and polish their writing through professional feedback. It will also offer them an opportunity to network with people who work within the intersection of childhood, literature on the environment and publishing.

The course builds on Azim Premji University’s series of talks on Nature Writing for Children’ that promote books that have been published in recent times and the various writers working within this field.

The course is intended to be hands-on, focused on learning via doing. Participants will not only learn, but would also need to engage critically with environmental writing for children to understand the importance of such literature and what gives it value – in the eyes of publishers as well as readers.

On successful completion of the course, participants will be able to

  • Critically engage with writing and books on the environment that cater to young readers
  • Learn what makes for engaging environmental writing for children
  • Fine-tune their rough drafts for possible publication

Structure of the Course

The online course will be offered from March 18 – 19. The timings for the course will be post noon, around 1 PM — 4 PM on two days. 

Sl NoUnitDay
IThe Indian Scenario1
IIReading the audience 1
IIICritical Review of Writings2

The course is designed and intended for people interested in writing books on the topic of nature and the environment for children. The course is for adults (18+ years) and will be offered in English.

All participants need to submit a draft write-up – fiction/non-fiction/picture book in English that is based on nature. This should be done using the register button at the beginning of this page.

We don’t need any illustrations at this point. Translations from regional languages are also permitted. The draft write-up doesn’t have to be final or complete, but the writer’s idea should come through in it. 

We also need a brief summary of the writer’s idea. 

The draft write-up should be within 2000 words, and the summary should be within 500 words. Your submission can have fewer words, but cannot exceed the word limit.

The last date for applying is 8 March 2023.

The last day for fee payment is 15 March 2023. The decision of the evaluation committee will be final.

For any queries, please write to shashwat.​dc@​apu.​edu.​in

The participants will be awarded a Certificate of Participation after successfully attending all the days of course.

In this online certificate course, we are looking at four units of learning interspersed with author interactions.

Unit 1: Environmental Literature for Children: The Indian Scenario (Day 1)

This unit will introduce participants to what comprises environmental literature, the different themes, how these are not always restricted to nature conservation and non-fiction, the challenges and opportunities within environmental writing for children and how these books have fared.

Unit 2: Environmental Literature for Children: Reading the audience (Day 1)

This unit will be led by an educator who works closely with children. It will dwell upon how they find these books for children, how they engage with them within and outside the classroom, and how children have responded to various books – both the good and the not-so-good.

Unit 3: Environmental Literature for Children: Critical Review of Writings (Day 2)

In this session, instructors would apply what was covered in the previous two units to share initial feedback on all the submissions made for the course, so participants can consider polishing these for submission.

This course will be led by people who have engaged critically with environmental writing for young people as publishers, editors, authors and educators.

Unit Leaders:

Smit Zaveri is an editor by day and baker by night. She has an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University and has worked in departments across publishing in India and the United Kingdom before joining Penguin Random House India as an editor, where she worked on several critically acclaimed, award winning books such as The Jungle Radio and Across the Line. Themes around nature have been an integral part of several books she’s published, be it fiction like Help! My Aai Wants to Eat Me, a middle-grade novella inspired by the natural phenomenon of bears eating their young ones and The Torchbearers, a mythological fantasy blended with environmental destruction or crossover books that marry fictional characters with nonfiction around environment like Naturalist Ruddy, Chaos at Keoladeo and Sita’s Chitwan. She is also the editor of Unearthed, a one-of-its-kind book that maps India’s environmental history since 1947. 

Smit currently works at Pratham Books, where she edits picture books across reading levels. She’s a part of the team there that’s working to create a set of books on climate change to add to the fantastic-yet-limited climate literature available for young readers in the country. She has also been a guest lecturer with both her alma maters, Mount Carmel College and Oxford Brookes University. She lives in Bangalore in her yellow house that always smells of cake.

Timira Gupta is a trained Arts-Based Therapy practitioner and began her career as a therapist using different artistic forms such as theatre, story-telling and circus arts to work with children from various backgrounds. She is also deeply invested in working with teachers on exploring their identity and sense of self through artistic engagement, in order to become more sensitive, empathetic and mindful educators. She runs a teacher training programme called The Artful Teacher’ across various schools and boards.

Over the past 8 years, Timira worked as the Executive Director of Akshara High School, a not-for-profit ICSE school in Mumbai, setting up its curriculum and making it an inclusive learning space immersed in arts-based processes. As an author of children’s picture books, including the widely acclaimed Pishi and Me, she has immense belief in the ability of children’s literature to power social change, and has fostered a vibrant reading culture at the school. Akshara has incorporated reading as part of the curriculum and every child across every grade in the school has one non-fiction and one fiction book as part of their mandatory reading list each year. While fiction is part of the reading programme that is led by a library educator, non-fiction – typically books on the environment and history – is used for projects led by subject teachers that students have to work on. This ensures that children develop a regular habit of reading and begin creating a little collection of books in their homes.

Fee Structure

INR 800For Individuals (excluding GST)
INR 400For partner organizations of Azim Premji University & Azim Premji Foundation (excluding GST)

For any queries, please write to: shashwat.dc@​apu.​edu.​in