Navya Sings for Navarathri

HarperCollins. Aug. 2024. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063286030.
K-Gr 3–Navya is excited for Navarathri, the annual women-only Hindu festival, to begin. The nine-night celebration draws families and neighbors together, and this year Nayva’s aunt Athai and her cousin Shruti have come all the way from India. As Nayva plays the cymbals and listens to her aunt practice her song for the ninth night concert, she does not sing along. Athai suggests that Navya sing the song she taught her, but Nayva’s fear comes in the way. Can Nayva summon the courage of the goddess Durga to help her overcome her fears and sing at the festival? This book reinforces the theme that girls are strong and can get past their fears to do difficult things. Watercolor, gouache, ink, and pencil colors create vibrant digital illustrations. An author’s note at the beginning of the book and extensive back matter about the festival includes information on the myth, the music, a recipe for a chickpea snack, and a glossary; all will be helpful for teachers and caregivers to introduce the story.
VERDICT Emphatically recommended. Readers will fall in love with Nayva and her family.

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