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Lighting A Lamp
Every year in the classroom we talk about different festivals and every year I promise myself to increase my selection of simple to understand books to help learn the main events of the festivals.
This is a simple introduction to Diwali, the Hindu festival of light.
The story is told in a series of double page spreads, detaining the main events of Diwali. We learn that they hear the story of Prince Ramon fighting the demon- having just told the story to some special needs children, I did actually find it easier to refer to the demon as a monster.
Children find out about Rangoli patterns and the double page spread shows the children putting the rangoli pattern on their doorstep for good luck.
We learn that the little girl makes special coconut sweets to enjoy the sweetness of Diwali and that the whole family goes to the temple to offer sweets and prayers to Rama and Sita. The children drew comparisons with Christmas when they see the children giving and receiving gifts to and from friends and family. We find out that they light small lights and then at night, they have a fire work display to celebrate their festival of lights.
All of this information is given very simply- a sentence in the corner of each double page spread. The pictures themselves are bright and boldly drawn, with the people being very simply drawn. There is nothing to confuse young children, and everything is very clear; for example, when they are making sweets, it is quite obvious that it's in the kitchen although the text does point out this fact as well.
~~Price and Availability~~
I bought this from amazon- there are several offers on whereby if you buy two of the books from the same series you get £1 off.
Priced at £4.99, watch out for package and postage charges if buying online- any savings could be cancelled out by high postage charges.
~~Other bits of information~~
Published: 2004 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books
~~Other books in the series~~
Eight Candles to Light- A Chanukah Story
Four Special Questions- A Passover Story
It's Party Time- A Purim Story
Lanterns and Firecrackers- A Chinese New Year Story
Hope and New Life!- An Easter Story
Sweet dates to Eat- A Ramadam and Eid story
Apples and Honey- A Rosh Hashanah story
~~What I think of it~~
For anyone looking at this festival, it's a great introduction, and can be read to even very young children- I have used it most recently with Year 1 (age 5/6) in a special needs school. By slightly changing some of the words- eg demon exchanged for monster, they understood the main aspects of the book.
The book concentrates only on the main aspects of the festival and doesn't concern itself with any of the more complex aspects of the festival. We were able to sequence the main aspects of the festival and act out the giving of the gifts and making of the sweets etc.
The simple sentences mean that there isn't a lot of reading to be done and the brightly coloured pictures maintain the interest of the children. There are not a lot of names for children to remember. We see a family consisting of parents, grandparents and a brother and sister, and whilst it seems as though the story is told through the eyes of the girl, she uses pronouns rather than names. I think this makes the book easier for children to understand because if they hear too many unusual names they can get confused.
All in all an excellent introduction to this festival, and a book which I would recommend.
Thanks for reading.
Here is a simple and delightful introduction to the Hindu festival of Diwali, suitable for even the youngest child.