Diwali in my New Home is the heartwarming story of how Priya and her family find a different way to celebrate Diwali in their new home, thousands of miles away from family and friends in India.
The Story: Diwali is Priya’s favourite holiday but this year will be different. Priya is 9000 miles away from India and nobody in her new school or neighbourhood celebrates Diwali. But when the neighbours stop and ask what the amazing smells coming from Priya’s house are and why they are hanging lights up, Papa invites them to celebrate Diwali with them.
Diwali’s traditions and customs are introduced to Priya’s neighbours through her family’s preparations – baking, cleaning and decorating the house. The sights and smells of Diwali, the festival of lights, are intertwined with the descriptions of the celebrations which start with prayers at sunset, singing and offerings to the goddesses. New vocabulary is introduced as we learn the deities’ names, what decorations are called and more about the clothing that is worn.
The illustrations are vibrant and colourful and convey the sense of celebration and happiness that Priya’s family feel as they celebrate with their neighbours. But Aishwarya Tandon has also done a great job of showing Priya’s sadness as she tries to accept that nobody in her new environment celebrates a festival that is so important to her.
At the end of the book we are given more information about Diwali and why it is celebrated. Diwali is celebrated over five to six days during autumn, the dates are different each year and we learnt that Diwali is celebrated on the third day of the five day festival. A glossary explains the vocabulary that is used in Priya’s story, we were introduced to unfamiliar vocabulary including diya (a clay oil lamp) and puja (a prayer ritual).
Diwali in my New Home is a fabulous story to introduce Diwali to nursery and primary school pupils. It can be used to initiate discussions about the different festivals that they celebrate and promote empathy and understanding of different cultural traditions.
Age Range: 3 +
Thank you to Suzy Senior for sending us a review copy of Diwali in my New Home.