Diwali is the Festival of Lights, the biggest and most important holiday in India, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. Reading about this holiday is a great way to see yourself in picture books as well as to learn about another culture. I love the colors and lights on my Indian friend’s social media feeds. And I love teaching my kids about this beautiful celebration, too!
Many traditional holidays are oriented by the lunar calendar, and Diwali is no different, based on the Hindu lunar calendar. That means, every year, the time of the Diwali celebration is a little different.
These Diwali books for kids will help your children learn more about this holiday if they don’t know about it already. If they’re like my kids, they’ll love the stories and the gorgeous illustrations.
Diwali Picture Books for Kids
Binny’s Diwali written by Thrity Umrigar, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
Today, Binny gets to share with her classmates about the holiday, Diwali. At first, she’s nervous, but then she finds the words to explain the Festival of Lights and its colorful fireworks, colorful powdered chalk, pretty clay lamps, and sweet foods. She shares the sweets with the class. When the day is done, she celebrates her own victory of goodness and light. This lovely, relatable story of shyness to bravery teaches children about an important Hindu holiday.
My Diwali Light written by Raakhee Mirchandani, illustrated by Supriya Kelkar
A little girl shares how she celebrates Diwali, starting with picking out her outfit and continuing with all the other festive activities such as visiting friends, eating good food, socializing with guests and neighbors, and saying prayers before bedtime. It’s a gentle, atmospheric look at the Diwali celebration.
The Diwali Gift written by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta, illustrated by Anna Koan
Diwali is a very important celebration in India. Adorable, playful illustrations tell a charming story of three monkey friends who get a mysterious Diwali present. The grandmother who gave the gift also gives the friends clues. They try to guess what might be inside by using the clues and recalling all their favorite parts of the holiday celebration. What will it be? This is a lovely introduction to the Diwali holiday.
Counting to Diwali: A Celebration in Numbers written by S. C. Baheti, illustrated by Rohen Dahotre
Learn to count from one to ten in Hindi. Beautiful illustrations show nouns that represent the holiday of Diwali and the number of fingers for the number shown. For example, “7 SAAT seven Phool maala flower garlands” shows hands with seven fingers marked in red and a lovely illustration of flower garlands. A wonderful book to introduce Indian culture and language!
Diwali written by Hannah Eliot, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
Day by day, the child’s family celebrates Diwali with special activities. For example, on the second day, they decorate with clay lamps and create colorful sand designs on the floors. And on the third day, the family lights the diyas. This charming board book explains the holiday clearly with gorgeous illustrations.
Diwali in My New Home written by Shachi Kaushik, illustrated by Aishwarya Tandon
Priya loves the big Diwali celebrations in India, but it’s different in the United States. Priya decides to celebrate as best she can with lights and ragoli art, introducing the festival to her new friends and neighbors.
Archie Celebrates Diwali written by Mitali Banerjee Ruths, illustrated by Parwinder Singh
Archie hosts a Diwali party but worries her friend will think it is boring or weird, but even with a storm and power outages, Archie’s friends dance, eat, and enjoy the holiday celebration.
Indian Tales: A Barefoot Collection written by Shenaaz Nanji and Christopher Corr
Storytelling and oral tradition are important in India. This colorfully illustrated book of Indian stories shares information about different regional areas in India, plus notable cultural elements. For example, in the Gujarat section, you’ll learn about many important festivals, including Divaali and Holi. The regions each contain a mesmerizing folktale filled with distinctive cultural elements and celebrations.