Shubh Diwali!

Albert Whitman. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. 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. The pictures are vivid and detailed, and the book is narrated in cheerful rhyme. Soundar briefly touches on the background of the Hindu festival of light, but the focus remains on the preparation and practices during the celebration. For those already familiar with Diwali, this book is fun and relatable, and for those who have not been exposed to Hindu culture, this will teach them that Diwali is a time to celebrate with family and friends, give thanks, and pray for blessings and bounty.
VERDICT A well-written selection to introduce Diwali and promote cultural appreciation.

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