Earlier this week the mailman brought something wonderful to our doorstep. A book, and not just any book – one that brought a whiff of India to our home, one I could use to talk about Diwali with my little ones. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
My husband and I have lived in Canada for many years now. Even though we travel back to the subcontinent every year, I know the kids’ connection with their Indian roots is going to be weaker than ours. That’s why on every trip we stock up on the latest music, movies and books about India’s heroes and heroines, all to help bolster that connection. So when I came across a book that talked about Diwali in easy-to-understand language with simple sentences, and was available in North America, I was excited. Almost as much as my kids were when they ripped open that parcel.
The Book: The Diwali Gift
The Story – it’s about three monkeys, Suno, Dekho and Jaano, best friends who receive a mysterious gift from their Grandma (Dadima) for Diwali. The little monkeys spend their time trying to figure out what the present is, and once they do it’s fireworks and excitement all around. The writers (Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta, mom entrepreneurs living in California) have managed to hit a great balance between introducing Diwali to young children with less of an emphasis on detail. This worked out really well for my 5 year old because as I have realised she is not a “detail” person. At least not yet.
What set the book apart from many other similar books was yes, the simple and interesting main story but also the subtext around the three little monkeys. This was a great conversation starter for my 9 year-old (I thought she was too old to be in the target demographic) because she has read a lot about Mahatma Gandhi and this was a perfect segue.
Appropriate for 3-10 year age group (I thought the book “The Diwali Gift” was more appropriate for the 3-7 age group but expanded that because of the Gandhi ji ke teen Bandar story). The easy to read language also made it a great tool for my 5 year-old who is trying hard to read independently.
I hope to see more books from these up and coming writers. They have already created lesson plans and easy to use printables that teachers and parents can use to work with their children. Even more, there are some fun Diwali activities here.
How wonderful that these simple stories and activities can help introduce Indian traditions to my Canadian children. Another way to bring India closer to my family.
The views expressed here are the writer’s own, and while the writer received a complimentary copy of the book, she has not been compensated in any way.
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