As a mum of two young avid readers aged 6 and 9 years respectively; I am always looking out for theme based books on the various festivals of India, that can help my kids understand every aspect of the festival - right from how and where the festival is celebrated to the origins of the same!
Coming up soon, is the festival of Holi and I have shortlisted a couple of books that give a precise and fun introduction to the colorful festival. Here is more on these books...
Languages available: English, Hindi
Amma, Tell me about Holi! by author Bhakti Mathur is the first published book from the series. This was back in the year 2011. And today, it is a set of 11 books in total, covering various subjects like the Indian festivals and Hindu Mythology!
The most striking feature about this series is the illustrations by Maulshree Sinha. The attractive and vibrant creatives are sure to attract any child and trigger enough curiosity in them, to want to go through the book!
And once they open this treasure chest, they will see that Bhakti beautifully uses rhymes in short 4 line stanzas to bring out the stories behind Holi. The narrative begins with two little boys looking forward to their bedtime story session with their Amma, who has promised to narrate the story of Holi – the festival of colours!
Starting with how Lord Krishna smeared blue colour on his friend Radha because he wanted her to look blue like him, to the story of Holika and why her effigy is burnt signifying the victory of good over evil - the book covers it all. Even the story of King Hiranyakashyapu and his son Prahlad, where Mathur narrates every aspect and the children listen (read) spellbound to every word.
The book ends with a message, wherein the little boy asks his Amma, what her favourite colour of Holi is and she answers – The colour of love that stays forever, even after all the colours of Holi have long been washed of!
Bhakti has covered the festival of Holi in simple, easy to understand verses that will appeal to children between the ages of 3 years to 9 years.
Languages available: English, Hindi
My second choice is from a series authored by Shweta Aggarwal called Dev and Ollie Colour Carnival and illustrated by Somnath Chatterjee. First published in 2016 in the UK, this book will be available in the Indian market from 25rd February 2017, just in time for the festival of Holi!
The book allows you to experience Holi from a nonreligious perspective using magic and fantasy, woven around the festival of Holi and is sure to appeal to young readers.
The story begins with Dev, a young boy who hates anything messy like muddy puddles, painting etc, with the sole exception of football.
His magical friend, a wise owl Ollie wants to change his mind and takes him on a magical adventure to India to celebrate and experience firsthand the festival that is Holi! And that by playing with colours, water balloons and generally getting very dirty! . Their adventure takes them to Agra, allowing the author to cleverly add a few snippets of interesting information about the Taj Mahal into the book.
By the end of the adventure, Dev not only likes getting messed up but gets dirty while making his own painting! The illustrations by Somnath Chatterjee gel well with the text and the use of bright colours go well with the theme of the book.
Children between the ages of 5 to 11 years of age are sure to enjoy this magical journey of Dev and Ollie. The addition of a page on facts not only about Holi but also about colours as well as a puzzles; make this book not only an interesting read but also an informative and an interactive book.
To sum it up, both of the books were a fun and interesting introduction to the festival of Holi and its traditions not only for my kids but for me too! Infact my kids have decided on making it a family tradition to read - not only these 2 books every year, but a few more that we will be adding to our book collection each year. To name a few - Celebrate Holi with me by Shoumi Sen and Princess Rani celebrates Holi by Anita Badhwar.
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