Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: Diwali by Hannah Eliot

Celebrate the World
by Hannah Eliot
Illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
Little Simon
Board Book / Diverse Books
24 pages
ages 2 to 4

Learn all about the traditions of Diwali with this third book in the delightful board book series Celebrate the World, which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe.

Each autumn we gather with our friends and family and light our brightest lanterns. It’s time for Diwali, the festival of lights! In this lovely board book with illustrations from Archana Sreenivasan, readers learn that the five days of Diwali are a time to pray for a bountiful season, celebrate the special bonds between siblings, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.


This is one book in an entire series of board books with the goal of opening up the youngest listeners to the variety of cultures and some of their celebrations. I've read two of these already, but this one is my favorite.

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is celebrated around this time of year (end of October/early November). In these pages, the background behind Diwali is very quickly hit upon (the goddess and how the light invites her in), allowing the main focus to remain on the preparation and practices during the five day celebration. For a board book, there is enough text, but it never comes across as too much. Rather, it's perfect to read-aloud and flows with enough of a 'story time' flare to keep it interesting. It probably won't hold the interest of the youngest listeners, but children ages four and up will pick up on the information and have no trouble understanding what is going on.

The illustrations are bright, detailed and bring the scenes to life without growing confusing or over-packed. The people's expressions bring across the joy and make it difficult not to want to dive into the pages and celebrate with the characters.

While Dewali is a celebration many readers may not have heard about before, this book does a great job of making the basic background and rituals understandable. While younger listeners will enjoy gazing at the illustrations, slight older listeners (ages four and up) will be more able to grasp the holiday and the celebration.

And here they are...

The Author...
Hannah Eliot is a children's book editor who lives in Manhattan, New York. Her faorite activities include editing (of course), writing, painting, and doodling all over every piece of notebook paper she uses.

The Illustrator...
Archana Sreenivasan is an illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her illustrations have been published in numerous magazines, children's books, book covers, and comics. She studied animation film design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and Participated in a summer residency at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she studied illustration. She finds the nautral world and people-watching most inspiring and is endlessly fascinated by cats.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This is so important. My husband is from India, and many of our relatives from India are over here. It's great there is a book that includes and shares their holiday.