Once Upon a Diwali

Soaring Kite. (Holidays in Our Home). Aug. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781958372449.
PreS-Gr 4–The celebration of Diwali is explored in this story of a young girl. Riya is afraid of the dark and does not understand why she has to endure the nighttime celebration that includes loud noises from fireworks and crowds, so Mama shares with her why Diwali is so important. With new understanding (and the promise that she can bring her own lantern), Riya is happy to join in the joyous celebration with her multigenerational family and friends. This is a sweet story, simply told, that explains the steps of preparing for Diwali, what happens during each day of the celebration, and the history behind the holiday. Hindi words sprinkled throughout are defined in glossary, and a craft and recipe round out the back matter. Bright, clear cartoon illustrations highlight details of the holiday and culture, from the types of flowers used to the spices Mama incorporates to make Riya’s favorite Diwali sweets.
VERDICT A great addition to libraries looking for Diwali books for younger readers.

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