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A time to read, learn and create

A digital lit fest, photography lessons and fun classes for children and adults to shake off the ennui and anxiety

Learn to draw by watching artist and animator Mo Willems' 20-minute 'Lunch Doodles' episodes on YouTube.
Learn to draw by watching artist and animator Mo Willems' 20-minute 'Lunch Doodles' episodes on YouTube.


Mindful of the challenges of parents with young children stuck at home, popular children’s authors have been reading their books out on Instagram Live and saving the videos for those who want to view them later. Catch Oliver Jeffers (@OliverJeffers) read How To Catch A Star, his tale of a boy in need of a friend, and Mac Barnett (@MacBarnett) relate Extra Yarn, the story of a girl with a magical box of never-ending wool. On Facebook, Peter H. Reynolds (@PeterHamiltonReynolds) is reading out his books daily, including the award-winning The Dot, about a girl who thinks she can’t draw. As Jeffers says on Instagram: “We are all at home, but none of us are alone. Let’s be bored together."

Read and research

Whether you are a professional aiming for broader academic knowledge, a faculty member or a student looking for research material, Johns Hopkins University’s platform Project MUSE is providing free access to its repository of 1,400 books and 97 journals until “at least 31 May". The vast collection of research related to humanities and social sciences from various publishers, which includes a long list of educational institutes, like the MIT Press, Princeton University Press and Cornell University Press, will have a distinct marker stating that their content is freely available for a limited time.

Book-inspired Fun

Authors Everywhere! is a YouTube channel started by children’s writer Susan Tan, with contributions from the community of children’s books writers and illustrators. With the goal of offering “relief to parents and kids during these long days at home", the channel features activities, readings, art projects, writing games and more. Many of them are geared towards helping young ones find a creative outlet for any feelings of confusion and worry at this time.

An online lit fest

Publishing house Juggernaut has joined hands with digital news platform Scroll to launch the #ReadInstead Online Literature Festival. The month-long festival, which started on 27 March, offers interactions with authors via workshops, competitions and masterclasses. Their entire catalogue of books has also been made available for free for a month, starting 21 March.

Check the website and their social media handles for updates.

Learning at home

Home-schooling is emerging as the new normal. The publisher of books and learning material for schools, Scholastic, has introduced a free learn-at-home digital module for students from kindergarten up to class IX, with additional resources for teachers and parents. You can also follow them on social media with the hashtag #ScholasticLearnAtHome

Sharpening writing skills

A renowned resource for journalism and writing courses, Poynter’s News University is making 100-plus courses available free of cost to help people stay busy and focus in the face of this “unprecedented challenge". Learn how to incorporate video and sound for powerful storytelling, pick up tips on reporting more accurately and within deadlines, and about digital tools to aid workflow.

Learn to draw

Children and adults alike can learn to draw by watching artist and animator Mo Willems’ 20-minute Lunch Doodles episodes on YouTube. Through his simple line drawings, Willems, who has worked on TV series like Sesame Street and The Muppets, explores “ways of writing and making" with viewers.

Photography unlocked

Exhorting folks to use this time at home to prepare for when things “kick back into high gear", the website of the Professional Photographers of America has made over 1,100 online classes available free of cost. Just create a login to gain access to courses on starting your photography business, landscape photography, balancing flash and natural light.

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