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by Mitali Banerjee Ruths ; illustrated by Parwinder Singh

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-62354-119-4
Publisher: Charlesbridge

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.

(Picture book. 4-7)