Archie Celebrates Diwali (Hardcover)
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It's Archie's favorite holiday—Diwali. And this year she gets to share it with her friends and introduce them to the festival of lights!
Archana loves her family's annual Diwali (deh-vah-lee) party, and this year she gets to share it with all her friends from school. She helps with the decorations and the food, and is eager for everyone to arrive. But once the party starts a thunderstorm kicks up and drenches the outside decorations and knocks out the power. Archie worries that everything will be ruined. How can there be a festival of lights without any electricity?
About the Author
Mitali Banerjee Ruths grew up celebrating Hindu festivals with her family. She is an American living in Canada who sometimes still dreams about being an astronaut. This is her first book.
Parwinder Singh has been drawing since childhood. He worked in animation before creating children's books. He loves exploring art styles and traveling to different places. He is the illustrator of Let's Eat! Mealtime Around the World.
Archana—Archie for short—loves Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
This year, for the first time, she’s invited her friends Virgil, Nora, and Paisley to her house for her family’s annual Diwali party, which makes her excited but also nervous. Before her friends arrive, she tidies up the rangoli, sets out the diyas, and plugs in the strings of lights around the house. But her family’s preparations make her anxious all over again. What if Dida’s food is too spicy for her friends? Then it starts to pour, ruining all of Archie’s careful decorations. Shortly after her friends arrive, the power goes out, and Archie is sure that this is the worst Diwali ever—until her friends ask her what the holiday is really about. By the end of the party, Archie’s friends aren’t the only ones who develop an appreciation of Diwali: Archie, too, realizes why it’s the most special day of the year. The book’s vivid illustrations utilize a bright color palette that perfectly matches the spirit of the holiday. The storyline is compelling, accurately reflecting the reality of children who celebrate religions outside the mainstream American culture, and it ends in an organic and believable way. Unfortunately, in the afterword, the author does not specify that Diwali is a Hindu celebration, a flattening omission.
This sweet picture book about sharing Diwali will ring true in many households.
Archie, short for Archana, has invited a few friends to her family's Diwali celebration. She feels nervous that they will think her traditions are weird. Archie becomes even more nervous when a storm knocks out the power. But though she apologizes for the spicy food, her friends love the traditional dishes. Their interest leads Archie to share one of the holiday's origin stories. The power returns, the storm blows over, and everyone enjoys dancing and setting off firecrackers together. Bold colors reflect the decorations of Diwali celebrations, while lights are emphasized with smudges and glows. The use of chiaroscuro conveys the holiday's theme of light and good overcoming darkness and evil. Bengali words are used with plenty of context to decipher their meanings (and are explicitly defined in a glossary). Other back matter includes more specific information about the origins of Diwali and how it is observed, and a recipe for making diya (Diwali candles). The narrative is a bit clunky at points, wedging in a superfluous detail here and leaving out a transition there; still, it's an effective primer on the holiday that also communicates the mix of excitement and anxiety experienced by children sharing cultural practices with friends who have different customs. VERDICT Though this isn't a completely smooth read, enchanting illustrations and a simple plot offer an enjoyable glimpse of one family's celebration. A strong choice for picture book shelves.
—School Library Journal