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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Holi Hai! is sweet picture book by author Chitra Soundar and illustrator Darshika Varma. The bright book brings Holi, the Hindu festival of color, to life and also weaves in important life lessons for young readers. This is a great introduction to the holiday in which people throw colored different-colored powders in the air and onto one another. Back mater includes an explanation of the festival, a glossary of terms, and recipes for gulal (using colored water, not powder), so learning can continue beyond the story. Themes include love, forgiveness, and celebrating holidays with family.
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What's the Story?
Gauri and her family are preparing to celebrate HOLI HAI! -- a way to recognize the beginning of spring. When her family gathers to randomly pick colors to make gulal, a bright powder made from things found in nature, she gets very upset. She wanted yellow, her favorite color, but instead picks red. Everyone is excited to make their gulal, but Gauri refuses to participate. The night before Holi, Gauri's grandfather tells her and her brother the legend of Prahlada and Holika. Through the story they learn that love is stronger than anger, and anger doesn't bring joy. Gauri recognizes the anger she has in her heart, and instead decides to be grateful for her family and celebrates the holiday with love. The family enjoys yummy cultural food and wears beautiful traditional clothing for the bright and festive celebration.
Is It Any Good?
Rich cultural connection, a loving family theme, and eye-catching illustrations make a great combination in this beautiful story. Holi Hai! presents the Hindu festival of color clearly and simply for young readers. The book celebrates Indian culture in a way that will make those familiar with the holiday feel seen, and those that are new to the holiday intrigued. The book doesn't shy away from important lessons and showing character flaws, making it educational and relatable. A great read for the whole family!
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how in Holi Hai! the family celebrates the traditional Indian holiday, Holi. Have you ever celebrated this holiday? If so, how do you like to celebrate it? If not, what's something new you learned about it?
Guari makes red gulal. What does she learn this color represents? What color gulal would you want to make? Why?
Guari's grandpa tells her the Holi legend of Prahlada and Holika. Do you know any other legends of Holi? Why does this legend make Guari more grateful and open to celebrating?
- Author: Chitra Soundar
- Illustrator: Darshika Varma
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Holidays
- Character Strengths: Gratitude
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: AW Teen
- Publication date: January 1, 2022
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: March 27, 2023
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