Storytelling and books form a huge part in the festivities at our home. Naturally, I am always on the lookout for good children’s books on the topic. Here, I have compiled a list of my favourite books on Diwali to read with your kids. I prefer books that focus more on culture than religious instruction, books that have beautiful illustrations, aren’t stereotypical in any way and are age-appropriate. This list is based on these criteria.
1. Diwali lights by Rina Singh
This is a beautiful baby book on the festival, It only talks about the lights, colours and celebrations. Accompanied by photos, and rhyming text, makes this book a great first book. The book is divided into two parts, with the latter part talking a little more in detail about the whys of Diwali.
What stood out for me: Real images of babies and toddlers celebrating Diwali
Recommended for : 0-2 years
2. Peppa’s Diwali
This is a fun board book that focuses on how families come together, dress up, share good food and gifts, during Diwali. It is especially great if your child is already familiar with the show. It comes with a matching colouring book as well, extending the reading into a kinesthetic activity.
What really stood out for me- Daddy pig takes an equal and enthusiastic part in cooking up a feast. Great way to break gender stereotypes and make celebrations about equality.
Recommended for : 0-3 years
You can purchase it here.
3. Diwali by Hannah Eliot
A part of the Celebrate the world series, this book touches lightly upon why we celebrate it without being too religious and gives a peek into the 5 days of celebrations. The illustrations are downright gorgeous and there is a celebratory feeling throughout the book.
What stood out for me- The importance given to light. The festival is seen as a celebration of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Every page is brightly colored with some forms of light, brightening it.
Recommended for: 1-3 years
You can get it here.
4. Celebrate Diwali by Deborah Heiligman
I got the chance to borrow this book from a friend once, and this one is such a keeper! Filled with NGC photographs, the book talks about how Diwali is celebrated in different parts of the world. Although different, the common elements are rangolis, food, lights and joy.
What stood out for me: The back matter that includes a glossary, recipes, a map, game, etc
Recommended for : 3+ years
5. Amma, tell me about Diwali
This vibrant book by Bhakti Mathur focuses the stories behind Diwali- specifically about Ram’s return to Ayodhya, and Lakshmi. It also speaks of the celebrations during the festival. Written in rhythm that rolls off the tongue and accompanied by beautiful illustrations, this is one of my favourite gifting option for Diwali books.
What stood out: The vibrant illustrations that appeal to children and adults alike
Recommended for: 3+
You can purchase it here.
6. Rama and Sita
This book talks about the story of Ram’s defeat over Raavan, and his return to Ayodhya, in detail. More than the story, the illustrations bring the whole Ramayan to life and make it a simple story for kids to grasp
What stood out: The reasoning behind a lot of things- oil lamps, or why Sita gives a pearl to Hanuman
Recommended for: 4+
7. Hurray for Diwali
This is a very wholesome book that talks about Ram’s story, goddess Lakshmi’s visit to Earth, the celebrations, the 5 days and significance of each day, etc.
What stood out: The completeness of the book and the fun format in which it is presented.
Recommended for : 4+
8. Amar Chithra Kathas
While most of these books talk about the legend of Ram, I’ve found very few books that delve into the story of Narakasura. This is the story I was brought up with, and I would recommend Amar Chithra Kathas to every independent reader for different stories, especially from South India.
I have tried to include a good mix of Diwali books that are easily available in India as well as abroad. These do not stereotype and are personally loved by V and me. I hope this was useful.