Binny's Diwali
Binny's Diwali

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Annotation: A heart-warming story of facing fear and sharing our culture and experience with our peers.
Catalog Number: #213698
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Chanani, Nidhi,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-36448-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7786-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-36448-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7786-5
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2019052788
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Binny is excited about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Her class is learning about different celebrations, and the teacher, Mr. Boomer, asks the students to talk about their favorite holidays. Binny and her parents have new outfits, and Binny wears hers to school that day, but when it is her turn to share, she draws a blank, forgetting everything she knows so well about Diwali. This point will be relatable to young readers who no doubt have themselves had a moment when they forgot their words due to nervousness or overexcitement. Fortunately, Binny's lapse is momentary, and she is not only able to explain Diwali but also share treats that everyone loves. This is a fresh, contemporary telling of an ancient tradition in a modern context. Readers who are familiar with the customs will love recognizing the descriptions and details in the illustrations, and those who are unfamiliar will learn something new. This colorful, cheerful book will easily find its home among similar books about school, celebrations, and sharing traditions.
Kirkus Reviews
It’s Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and Binny can’t wait to tell her class about her favorite holiday.On their way through their North American suburb to school, Binny’s mother wishes her luck and reminds her to tell her class about the oil lamps that are a central part of their family’s Diwali tradition. But when Binny’s teacher, Mr. Boomer, invites her to share, Binny freezes, overcome with shyness. Taking a deep breath, she remembers her mother’s advice. The thought of the world filled with light—symbolizing the triumph of good over evil—gives Binny the strength she needs to tell her family’s Diwali story. While the book is thorough in its description of traditions like wearing new clothes, eating sweets, lighting lamps, and decorating floors and sidewalks with colored powder, the prose is clunky and clumsy, and Binny’s conflict is resolved so quickly that the story arc feels limp and uninteresting.  Other elements of the text are troubling as well. Calling Binny’s new clothes an “Indian outfit,” for example, erases the fact that the kurta she wears is typical of the entire South Asian subcontinent. The use of most fireworks, which the author treats as an essential part of the holiday, is now banned in India due to concerns about pollution and child labor. Most problematically of all, the author continually treats Diwali as a Hindu holiday celebrated by “everyone,” which is untrue in India or in diaspora and which dangerously equates Hindu and Indian identity. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads reviewed at 49% of actual size.)A simplistic, outdated take on Diwali for young children. (Picture book. 2-5)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (9/1/20)
Word Count: 791
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 510122 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD720L
Guided Reading Level: T

Binny woke up happy but nervous. It was her day to share about Diwali, the Festival of Lights!

Binny is excited to talk to her class about her favorite holiday. But she struggles to find the words.Taking a deep breath, she tells her classmates about the fireworks that burst like stars in the night sky, leaving streaks of gold and red and green. She shares with them delicious pedas and jalebis. And she shows them clay lamps, called diyas, which look so pretty all the children ooh and aah.Featuring a heartwarming story by Thrity Umrigar, enchanting illustrations by Nidhi Chanani, and detailed information about the Hindu festival of lights, Binny's Diwali is a holiday treat.


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