This is the time of the year when it is a good idea to look out for some books on festivals. Come August, and we are welcomed with the shower of festivals. The next few months of the calendar are peppered holidays. Whether you are an adult or child the colourful festive time celebrations brings along entertaining dhamaal, frolic and fun.
Raksha Bandhan, a festival that celebrates sibling bonds, Janmashtami, a celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna, Ganesh Chaturti , where we bring home the eco- friendly clay elephant god and visit the various beautifully decorated Sarvajanik Ganpatis (public) at every nook and corner of the streets….eating scrumptious modaks filled with gooey mix of coconut and jaggery, singing melodious Aartis with cymbals. Then the celebrations of the nine days of Navratri have us paying obeisance with poojas and singing aartis to Goddess Amba. Getting bedecked in colouful attires and dancing garba to the musical beats of dhols and dholaks. The beautiful night time experiences of taking in the visuals when Pandal hopping which display decorated idols of Goddess Durga. On Dussehra which is the tenth day of the festival of Navratri the effigies of the demon king Ravana is burnt signifying the triumph of good over evil. Then comes along Diwali the festival of lights where tasty and savoury snacks and sweetmeats are prepared, making DIY lanterns and colourful rangolis, lighting the diyas in earthern pots, temple visits and so much more.
Now where all would you know more about these religious festivals? The stories behind their celebrations? The various customs, folklore, rituals and traditions behind them? Where else but in books on festivals! Here is a curated list of books that don’t just give facts and information, but are a storehouse of stories. So, gear up and take in the books which are perfect for our children.
Amma, Tell Me About Raksha Bandhan! by Bhakti Mathur for 2 to 8 years. Join Amma, Klaka and little Kiki and see how they celebrate their special bond of Raksha Bandhan, the story and tradition behind it. A must buy.
My Raksha Bandhan: Promise to Protect by Priya Kumari and Komal Garg. Published by Eternal Tree House. A festive story of young Taaraa and her elder brother Chandu. Taaraa has something special planned for him for Raksha Bandhan. A must buy for children 3+ for the illustrations, story of why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated and the traditions behind it. Interactive activities. Great for gifting.
Thread of Love by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal for toddlers to 8 years. Published by Beach Lane Books. Three siblings enjoy the special bond of Raksha Bandhan. An enchanting illustrated book where two sisters make colourful Rakhis with sequins, beads and threads for their brother and receive toys and greetings in return. Interactive.
My Little Book of Krishna. A Board Book on Hindu Mythology for 3 to 5 years. Naughty little Krishna’s search for butter leads to an unexpected adventure. Colourful and Interactive activities, entertaining and delightful!
The Amma Tell Me Krishna Trilogy: Three Book Set by Bhakti Mathur for 2-8 years. The books are on life of Lord Krishna, how Krishna fought the Demons and how Krishna defeated Kansa. A must buy for the artistic illustrations and simple explanations.
Pop-up Krishna for 3 to 8 years: An introductory book on the life, miracles and teachings of Lord Krishna. Colourful and usage of simple language
Cutout Books of Krishna (Gods and Goddesses) by Om Books International for 3 to 5 years. Krishna loves to eat delicious butter that his mother makes. One day he and his friends are caught stealing. Who catches him? What do you think happens next?
Krishna the Call of the Flute (a set of 10 books) by Amar Chitra Katha for 7+. Story of his life, fights with demons, his friendship with Sudama, tales with his brother Balaram
Krishna -The Defender of Dharma by Shweta Taneja. A graphic novel by Campfire comics for 10+. Evil Rakshasha Kalanemi is back on earth, this time appearing as Kansa the tyrant king of Mathura. To vanquish him and his evil monsters, Lord Vishnu comes to earth in his eight avatar-Krishna the defender of Dharma.
Cutout Board Book- Ganesha for 1 to 5 years by Om Book International. It tells the story of the elephant god, attractive and easy to understand.
Amma Tell Me About Ganesha! by Bhakti Mathur for 4 to 8 years. Charming informative, captivating illustrations on the life of Lord Ganesha
Pop-up Ganesha by Amrita Verma for 6 to 8 years by Om Books International. The story about life and the miracles of Lord Ganesha. Beautifully illustrated, easy to comprehend.
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes for 5-9 years. A book on the young elephant god and his love of sweet adventures. Vibrant illustrations, expressive characters and humour.
Ganesha -The Elephant Headed God by Wonder House Books for 7 to 12 years. Adventures of Ganesha. Superb story narration with colorful illustrations.
The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha by Uma Krishnaswami for 10+. A collection of Hindu folktales about the elephant God, Ganesha. Classic stories of Mythology, stories of why Ganesha never married, The broken tusk, Ganesha’s Head. Simple pen and ink illustrations and pronunciation guide make this book a must keep.
Navratri Dussehra/Durga Pooja
Cutout Board Books-Durga (Gods and Goddesses, Saints) for 1-5 years by Om International. Attractive illustrations and good to learn about Goddess Durga. Informative facts.
Let’s Celebrate Navratri -Nine Nights of Dancing and Fun by Vivek Kumar and Ajanta Chakraborty for 3 to 7 years. Maya and Neel’s India Adventure Series book 5. Maya, Neel and their pet squirrel Chintu visit Gujarat in India to celebrate Navratri. They learn about food, cultural elements, language and history.
Mimi and Soni Discover Dussehra Legends by Devika Joglekar for 4-8 years. An engaging illustrated book about different stories behind Dussehra
Tales of Durga by Amar Chitra Katha for 5 to 10 years. A comic book about the different avatars of Goddess Durga
Nava Durga- The Nine Forms of the Goddess by Nalini Ramchandran for 7+. A must buy. A beautiful book on the 9 forms of Durga. Information about Garba and special food for the goddesses, the rituals of Kanya Pooja.
Peppa Peg: Peppa’s Diwali for 1 to 5 years by Ladybird. A board book. Peppa and her family learn all about Diwali and the celebrations that surround it.
Amma, Tell Me About Diwali! By Bhakti Mathur for 2-8 years. A book about two brothers Klaka and Kiki enjoy Diwali as they wear new clothes, light diyas and get their Amma to answer all their questions on the festival of lights. A must buy.
And here, Ramayana…An exquisitely illustrated book to bring the epic alive! tells the tale of the epic to children in a short but comprehensive manner. The book is apt for the 3 plus age group, right up to slightly older children as well. Of course, this is also an apt festive gift and makes a great addition to a festive gift hamper!
Maya and Neel’s India Adventure Series Book 1- Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali by Vivek Kumar and Ajanta Chakraborty for 3 to 7 years. Maya, Neel and their pet squirrel Chintu visit their Aunt Easha in India to celebrate Diwali. Kids will learn about customs, food, clothes and language.
Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar for 4 to 8 years. Binny, a young girl is excited to talk to her class about her favourite holiday Diwali but struggles to find the right words to describe it. A wonderful book about acceptance and sharing.
Hurrah for Diwali by Anita Thapar for 5-9 years. Gittoo and gang learn about the story behind Diwali. Excellent story presentation and illustration