Diwali (also known as Divali and Deepavali, among other names) is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world and marks a special time of year. Learn about the diverse traditions and foods that are part of the “festival of lights” across India, as well as the many well-known Diwali legends that highlight the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

For a special idea on creating your own Diwali book, as well as guidance on choosing Diwali titles, take a look at this blog post from the Gnaana website.

Divali Rose
By: Vashanti Rahaman
Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Ricki is looking forward to Divali, the Hindu “festival of lights.” He’s also waiting for two special rosebuds to bloom — buds on the bush his grandfather had planted in the front yard. Grandfather promises that the roses will be the color of Divali, but Ricki can’t imagine what color that might be. One morning, Ricki bends one of the rosebuds to get a closer look and accidentally snaps it off. When his grandfather believes the new neighbors have stolen his rosebud, Ricki must summon up the courage to confess what he has done. Set in Trinidad, this moving story reflects the significance of a festival that is celebrated by nearly one billion Hindus worldwide.

Diwali: A Cultural Adventure
By: Sana Sood
Illustrated by: Rubina Hoda
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Sana Hoda Sood is an Indian-American living in the Washington, DC metro area. Sana grew up celebrating the diversity of India through beautiful festivals such as Diwali and Holi. As a new mother, Sana wanted her son to learn about them as well. While on maternity leave from her corporate career, she wrote “Diwali: A Cultural Adventure” to introduce her son, Aarish, to a vibrant aspect of his heritage. This is her first children’s book, and has been illustrated in stunning watercolors by her mother, Rubina Hoda.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Diwali: With Sweets, Lights, and Fireworks
By: Deborah Heiligman
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
In Deborah Heiligman’s inviting global odyssey of this holiday from National Geographic, we learn that Diwali is celebrated differently in different places, but it is universally viewed as a time of great joy, celebrated with fireworks, sweets, and gifts. The informative back matter includes Diwali recipes, a glossary, a Diwali card game, a map, and a resource list of books and Web sites. Also included is a note to parents and teachers from the book’s consultant, Dr. Vasudha Narayanan.

Krishna and Narakasura
By: Anant Pai
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader
This title from the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series tells the story of Narakasura, one of the traditional tales related to the Festival of Lights.

Lights for Gita
By: Rachna Gilmore
Illustrated by: Alice Priestley
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Gita is ready for the Hindu celebration of Divali, but she is afraid that it just won’t be the same in her new home in Canada. When icy rain prevents the celebration they had planned, Gita becomes even more miserable, until she finds a way to light the darkness and remember Divali’s true meaning.

Lots of Lights
By: Kavita Sahai
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
A fun Diwali story that explains each day of the celebration for young children, brought to life with colorful, vibrant illustrations.

Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India
By: Jessica Souhami
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
When Rama is wrongfully banished to the forest, Ravana uses a fiendish trick to kidnap the prince’s beautiful wife, Sita. So Rama enlists the help of an army of fearless monkeys and their amazing leader Hanuman, to rescue her and regain his kingdom. Jessica Souhami retells this ancient Hindu tale with bold illustrations adapted from her own shadow puppets, based on Indian paintings. Bilingual English/Punjabi.

Rangoli: An Indian Art Activity Book
By: Suma O’Farrell
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
This art activity book introduces kids to the popular and versatile art form from India called rangoli, which is often created during the celebration of Diwali. After a few initial step-by-step examples, the book offers a variety of designs with easy-to-follow colored lines to simplify, inform, and inspire. Awards include 2013 Parents’ Choice Foundation and 2013 International Book Award.

The Diwali Gift
By: Shweta Chopra & Shuchi Mehta
Illustrated by: Anna Koan
Age Level: 6-9Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Join the 3 Curious Monkeys — Suno, Dekho and Jaano — as they discover the most auspicious, wonderful Diwali Gift! When a mysterious package arrives just in time for Diwali, the three friends can hardly contain their excitement! Sparklers? Bangles? Diyas? Whatever could it be? Discover the most special gift of all…in this tale of tradition, curiosity, and fun!

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