7 Books About Diwali For Young Readers

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, a holiday celebrated in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and by some Buddhists. Bring little readers into the festivities with these 7 titles.

Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, a holiday celebrated in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and by some Buddhists. Bring little readers into the festivities with these 7 titles.

Strip showing seven covers from this article.

A Dog Named Haku: A Holiday Story from Nepal by Margarita Engle with Amish Karanjit and Nicole Karanjit. illus. by Ruth Jeyaveeran. Millbrook. ISBN 9781512432053.
Gr 1–4—Coauthored with her daughter and Nepali son-in-law, this winning story in verse by Engle explores a Hindu tradition during the five-day festival of Deepawali (also known as Swanti or Tihar, or, in India, Diwali or Deepavali). Following an earthquake earlier in the year, search and rescue dogs were used widely to find trapped survivors. Now, several months later, brothers Alu and Bhalu search the city of Kathmandu for "a stray dog—a kukur—to honor with food and gratitude." Finally, when the sky is dark and "sparkling with fireworks," the boys find a lonely puppy and bring her home, much to the delight of their sister, parents, and extended family.

Diwali in My New Home by Shachi Kaushik. illus. by Aishwarya Tandon. Beaming. ISBN 9781506484082. 
A heartwarming story of celebrating in a new place and sharing the Hindu festival of lights with those unfamiliar with the holiday. Review to come.

My Diwali Light by Raakhee Mirchandani. illus. by Supriya Kelkar. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316339339. 
K-Gr 3–Many picture books about Diwali have recently been published; what sets this one apart is its mixture of both traditional and new ways to celebrate the holiday in a secular nation. Diwali is Devi’s favorite time of year because that means there will be sweets, new clothes, jewelry, bindis, marigolds, diyas, rangoli, lights, and sparklers—but most of all, her family will be hosting a big party. 

Archie Celebrates Diwali by Mitali Banerjee Ruths. illus. by Parwinder Singh. Charlesbridge. ISBN 9781623541194. 
PreS-Gr 1–Archie, short for Archana, has invited a few friends to her family’s Diwali celebration. She feels nervous that they will think her traditions are weird. Archie becomes even more nervous when a storm knocks out the power. But though she apologizes for the spicy food, her friends love the traditional dishes. Their interest leads Archie to share one of the holiday’s origin stories. The power returns, the storm blows over, and everyone enjoys dancing and setting off firecrackers together.


[See also: A Diwali Wish]


It’s Diwali! by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal. illus. by Archana Sreenivasan. S. & S./Beach Lane. ISBN 9781534453654. 
PreS-Gr 1–An Indian family celebrates Diwali with traditional decorations, food, and activities. The book follows the pattern of the nursery rhyme “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe,” with groups of two numbers and one festive tradition depicted. The predictable pattern of two written-out numbers followed by a Diwali tradition, as well as a simple definition of the Hindi word make for a pleasant reading experience for preschoolers or new readers. 

Diwali Lights by Rina Singh. illus. by author. Orca. ISBN 9781459819085. 
PreS—This gorgeous board book features photographs of adorable babies and toddlers experiencing the Diwali holiday in wide-eyed wonder, surrounded by the gentle love and affirmation of adults. The text does an excellent job balancing universal experiences with culturally specific ones. This book presents an age-appropriate view of the holiday from morning until night. 

Shubh Diwali! by Chitra Soundar. illus. by Charlene Chua. Albert Whitman. ISBN 9780807573556. 
PreS-Gr 2–Told in the words of a child, this picture book shows how an Indian family prepares for the festival of Diwali. Young and old participate equally in these preparations. Everyone helps clean the house and decorate it with buntings and vibrant, colorful art. Traditional foods and sweets are made, and new clothes are bought. When Diwali begins, families come together to worship, sing hymns, and tell stories of gods. It’s time to visit friends and neighbors. Fireworks brighten the skies, and gifts are exchanged. 

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