Log on to Saffron Tree and be a part of the festival - CROCUS. It's fun, it's exciting and best of all there's loads and loads of stories from around the world to read.

CROCUS is here again with the message to celebrate reading. Saffron Tree — the children's book blog marks its fourth anniversary with CROCUS (Celebrate Reading of Culturally Unique Stories) 2010.

The week long virtual book festival being held from October 23 to 30 has a lot of fun activities in store for you. Special interviews of two authors, editor, storyteller and illustrator, will be an added attraction. You can take part in the CROCUSWORD puzzle to win prizes. You could also contribute by leaving a note about your favourite books on the theme each day. CROCUS 2010 promises to take you on a virtual tour across the world of books — from Eastern Europe to Africa, from Asia to Australia; from ancient, medieval and contemporary; and on varied themes like art, craft, history, mythology, tradition, festivals and many more.

As unique as the name sounds, Saffron Tree is a rare collection of book reviews and literary resources for children. As the blog says, the contributors are an “assorted group of ordinary moms and dads” who, handpick the books from local libraries, book fairs etc and write on those books which they think would interest children. The book blog focuses on stories with cross-cultural or multi-cultural flavours, primarily from India and U.S.

The blog started by Praba Ram in October 2006 has grown to include 15 people who have contributed around 400 reviews. “Indian children's book publishers, authors, illustrators and so many other professionals in the field drop by on a regular basis to hear what we have to say. We have had so many author and illustrator interviews in the last one year. The best of all is the community of readers whose support has been incredible. We don't get too many comments on a regular basis, but judging by the wonderful emails we receive about the work we do on Saffron Tree, we know people are paying attention to the blog and are finding it useful,” says Praba who has co-authored the children's book Dinaben and the Lions of Gir with Meera Sriram, another contributor on Saffron Tree.

The blog was chosen as the best new Indiblog in 2006. The simple and easy-to-navigate structure of the blog is sure to impress the readers. The reviews are organised based on the theme and also the age group of readers. The multicultural section has stories from different corners of the world. The carefully done reviews that acquaint the readers with all aspects of the book may also appeal to the adults. The blog will surely help children to be well connected with the world of books.

When asked about the innovative idea of a virtual book festival, Praba said “In CROCUS 2009, we hopped from one continent to another and read a variety of folktales and stories from around the world. The reader responses and emails were amazing congratulating us how the novel idea was to host an online book festival.”

“This year, we are motivated to delve deeper into the cultural aspects of different communities portraying different forms of cultural expressions that authentically portray a culture or a community's expressions.” She added.

Here's how you can also be a part of CROCUS. Visit

www.saffrontree.org