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Thursday, March 28th, 2013

A Children’s Book for Holi

A Children's Book for Holi/ (c) incultureparent

If Diwali is the festival of lights, then Holi is the festival of colors! March 27, 2013 was Holi, a holiday celebrated in India, more gloriously in the western and northern parts, and by Hindus all over the globe.  I love Holi because it captures the essence of India to me – color and chaos. And I probably tend to appreciate it that way more so because I often miss the action that’s unique to living there.


However, it is far less chaotic at home with Uma Krishnaswami’s book “Holi” neatly warming us up for a simple celebration. It is a non-fiction book, sparse in text and generous in color and information.  When, why, how and where, are all covered in clear, unassuming language, and that’s also why I like this book. It talks a little bit about the mythology behind Holi and proceeds to explain what makes up the actual celebration, borrowing a few relevant Hindi words for it. Colorful photographs go well with the details. While I smiled in familiarity, my kids seemed amused and excited to see disheveled people in vibrant colors. Now, they can’t wait to see Appa like that; they have a secret stash of gulal (color powder) waiting for him in the backyard!


On a side note, my son also celebrated Easter in his school today and considers himself lucky because he gets to celebrate two holidays on the same day. We have some Easter books piled up in our living room, and it’s a warm feeling to see cultures combine to welcome the season and lift up our spirits. So, Happy Holi, everyone, have a colorful one! Have I overused the word color? Why not, it’s Holi today!

© 2013, Meera Sriram. All rights reserved.

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Meera Sriram has been reviewing and recommending diverse children’s literature for about ten years now. She loves to pass on a title or an author to a friend (or a stranger, for that matter). Picture books particularly appeal to the inner child in her. She moved to the U.S. at the turn of the millennium from India. After graduate studies and a brief stint as an electrical engineer, she decided to express herself in other creative ways, primarily through writing. She has co-authored four books for children, all published in India. Her writing interests include people and cultures, nature, and life’s everyday moments. She also runs an early literacy program for toddlers and preschoolers in her neighboring communities. She lives in Berkeley, CA, with her husband and two kids. Curling up to read a good book with her children is something she looks forward to every day. She constantly fantasizes about a world with no boundaries over hot chai, to help her stay warm in foggy Northern California. More at

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