Festival Of Colors (Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Festival Of Colors, written by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, a gorgeous look at the Hindu spring festival of Holi.

Chintoo and Mintoo are in their garden, preparing for Holi – a holiday most often celebrated through color. The children carefully pick the flowers they will need: hibiscus will make a bright red, marigolds a golden orange, and irises are just the thing for a vibrant blue. They bring the flowers home, lay them out to dry, collecting the petals when they have lost their moisture. Then the petals are crushed into fine powder, and bagged for the big day. Mintoo and Chintoo, along with their family, dress in white and collect their colors, gathering with their friends, family and neighbors. Then, at the right moment, POOF! An explosion of color as everyone throws their crushed petals in the air and at each other. At the end of the day, their white outfits now dusted with rainbow colors, the families enjoy all the things Holi celebrates: new starts, forgiveness, friendship, and color.

Lovely! What a fascinating and fun way to introduce Holi to those who are unfamiliar, and celebrate it for those who are. I had seen Holi celebrations before, and enjoyed learning about the origin of the colorful powders used, as well as the meaning of the festival. JJ adored the colors, flowers, and fantastic use of onomatopoeia. The illustrations are everything you could hope, featuring a Hindi cast in a wide range of skin tones, ages, and sizes and of course, plenty of bright, eye-catching color. The length was perfect, and JJ loved it. A wonderful way to learn about a beautiful holiday, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth (Sanjay Patel & Emily Haynes)

Hello, everyone! Well, we’re back home, but JJ managed to catch a nasty cold while we visited her grandparents. Fortunately, a good book can be a nice remedy, so today we read Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel & Emily Haynes. This is a fantastic retelling of how the god Ganesha helped to write the epic Hindu poem, the Mahabharata.

Ganesha is a little kid like any other, except that he has the head of an elephant and rides around on his magical friend Mr. Mouse. And like so many kids, Ganesha loves sweets. One day, while enjoying a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo candy, he breaks off one of his tusks! He is heartbroken, until his broken tusk leads to him meeting a wise old man named Vyasa, who convinces Ganesha that he and his broken tusk may just be fated to help write the greatest poem ever written.

There was so much to love about this book! First, the art: gorgeous colors and Indian designs leap off of every page, giving the illustrations a uniquely authentic look that fit the classic story perfectly: traditional yet modern. I loved that the author and illustrator found such a great way to tell a classic legend to children: it allows for exploration and discussion of Hindu traditions and faith for the unfamiliar, and gives Hindu children a fun and modern way to learn one of their classic stories. Additionally, the length is perfect for baby bookworms, and JJ absolutely adored the story and the illustrations. This was an awesome book, and we loved it! Baby Bookworm approved!