Todays list is about fall festivals from India (almost!).. Featuring books for various festivals we have across India during the fall. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday’s theme is fall books (actually Books on My Fall 2023 To-Read List). I twisted it just a little to feature books related to the many fall festivals from India (some mentioned in this post here and here).
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10 Great Books for Fantastic Fall Festivals
Fall Festivals: The First One for this Post: Krishna Janmashtami
This festival celebrates the birth of the charming Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. My post linked in Related Reads has more about the festival as well. We celebrated this a couple of weeks ago this year.
The Complete Life of Krishna
The Complete Life of Krishna: Based on the Earliest Oral Traditions and the Sacred Scriptures by Vanamali (Hindu Theology | Inner Traditions | May 22, 2012)
Description: Krishna, one of the most beloved characters of the Hindu pantheon, has been portrayed in many lights: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, an exemplary ruler, and the Supreme Being. In The Complete Life of Krishna, Vanamali, a leading Krishna expert from a long line of prominent Krishna devotees, covers the complete range of the avatar’s life
My Quick Thoughts: This one is for those looking to learn more about this avatar of Lord Vishnu, Krishna, and also those curious about him. At almost 500 pages, this one reminds readers to take it slow, and dip into the book a little at a time (like I am currently doing). I have not read this author before but it looks like she has also a similar book that relates the story of Rama as well.
The Complete Krishna Trilogy
The Amma Tell Me Krishna Trilogy by Bhakti Mathur and illustrated by Maulshree Somani (Children’s Fiction / Mythology | 2 – 8 years, and up | Anjana Publishing)
Description: Amma Tell Me is a charming and informative series of children’s books written in rhyme with vivid, captivating illustrations, this series brings Hindu mythology to its readers in a fun and non-preachy way.
My Quick Thoughts: Each book in Bhakti Mathur’s series of books is charming and perfect for its target audience of young readers. Both the rhyming narrative and the vibrant illustrations are sure to keep readers enchanted and engrossed throughout.
Next of the Fall Festivals Featured Today: Ganesha Chathurthi
This one celebrates the remover of obstacles and the god of new beginnings, the Hindu God Ganesha. We are celebrating it this week in fact.
Ganesha: The Remover of All Obstacles from Amar Chitra Katha (all ages)
Description: Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is considered the god of wisdom. The devotees worship him at the start of any new undertaking for its success
My Quick Thoughts: Well, there is nothing more i can say except that the Amar Chitra Katha series are what I grew up with, and will always remain a treasured favorite.
Ganesh by Subadhra Sen Gupta (12 years, and up | Rupa Publications India)
Description: In this fun retelling of the most popular stories associated with Ganesh, find the answers to these questions and more. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations that bring the stories alive, this book will appeal to every child and the child in all adults.
I have always admired and loved Subhadra Sen Gupta’s writing, and this one is no different. Her retelling of the stories of Lord Ganesh make this one a great read for all ages.
The Third One, and My Favorite of the Fall Festivals: Navaratri
One of my, or rather my favorite festival of all – Navaratri (from Oct 15 – 24 this year). Navaratri literally translates to nine nights and we celebrate this with various events and in myriad ways across India. As I have mentioned many a time on my blog, we celebrate it with the golu (a display of dolls). For more books, check out this post.
The Doll That Bommakka Made
The Doll That Bommakka Made by Sheela Preuitt and Praba Ram with illustrations by Debasmita Dasgupta
Order this from Toka Book Shop if in the US (not an affiliate!)
I loved this read, written in simple rhyming language in the style of ‘This is the house that Jack built’ poems. We see the doll that Bommakka made taking shape from a lump of clay to a beloved family heirloom kept in the golu (display of dolls during the Navaratri festival). As you might know from previous posts, the Navaratri golu is one of my favorite parts of the year!
Malgudi Adventures by R. K. Narayan (Teen and YA Fiction | Penguin Books)
Reading R. K. Narayan always is pure bliss and happiness. And the reason why I included this book in this list is because the book includes one story set in the Navaratri season, simply titled, Navaratri Adventure. If you have not read this author before, check him out, and you will find yourself transported to charming, quaint Malgudi where life is simpler!
One of the Most de-Lightful Fall Festivals: Diwali (Deepavali)
And then there is Deepavali or Diwali, the grand festival of lights! My related read post linked below has more about Diwali (including more reads!) This year, it falls on November 12th.
Stories of the World: Diwali
Stories of the World: Diwali by Sana Hoda Sood and art by Aanchal Lodhi (Children’s Fiction | 2 years and up | Little Pages Publishing | January 1, 2023)
Description: “Stories of the World: Diwali” is a captivating children’s book filled with adventure and wonder! Discover the ancient tale of a brave hero and an epic battle, brought to life through stunning illustrations.
Like the description says, this book tells the story of Diwali such that it is sure to appeal to young audiences both through its delightful, easy to understand text and its charming illustrations.
Prince of Fire
Prince of Fire: The Story of Diwali by Jatinder Verma (Author) and Nilesh Mistry (Illustrator) (Children’s Asian Literature | 8 – 10 years, and up | Barefoot Books| September 1, 2016)
Description: Action-packed from start to finish, this dramatic new chapter book version of India’s great epic, The Ramayana, will have boys and girls alike on the edge of their seats. Full-color illustrations throughout vividly bring the story of Diwali to life, while courageous heroes and dastardly villains make Prince of Fire the perfect choice for any child with a love of adventure.
My Quick Thoughts: A very beautifully illustrated retelling of the story of Diwali and Lord Rama.
And One Last One: Kartikeya Deepam (This One Almost Takes Us to Winter)
This is another festival of lights that celebrates Lord Kartikeya, the son of Shiva and Parvati. It is more prevalent in my native state of Tamil Nadu. I wrote a poem about the festival ages ago, and you can read. it here. It is one of those simple festivals I have come to cherish for its simplicity, and for the god it celebrates too. My focus during these festivals is the cultural and traditional aspects of the same (plus, the food part too) than the religious aspect of them.
Karttikeya from Amar Chitra Katha (all ages)
Description: The Puranas describe Karttikeya, a son of Shiva, as the commander-in-chief of the celestial army. He is also known as Subrahmanya, Skanda, Guha and Kumara. To the Tamil-speaking people he is Murugan. The six-headed, twelve-armed Karttikeya seated on a peacock is the symbol of youth, beauty, valour and supreme wisdom. This Amar Chitra Katha is based on the Tamil version of Skanda-Purana-Samhita.
My Quick Thoughts: A beloved god for Tamilians (I am one!) and one whose stories have been retold many times at home by grandmoms and moms and aunts! Plus, this one is an Amar Chitra Katha, treasured by me since childhood.
Another book I discovered about Kartikeya that I am now reading and enjoying is Usha Narayanan’s Kartikeya and His Battle with the Soul Stealer . This one is not a children’s book though older teens and YA with an interest in mythology and fantasy fiction will be sure to enjoy it.
Then a Book to Wrap Around Everything
The Little Book of Hindu Deities
The Little Book of Hindu Deities: From the Goddess of Wealth to the Sacred Cow by Sanjay Patel (Mythology | YA and up | Plume | October 31, 2006)
Description: The Little Book of Hindu Deities is chock-full of monsters, demons, noble warriors, and divine divas. Find out why Ganesha has an elephant’s head (his father cut his off!); why Kali, the goddess of time, is known as the “Black One” (she’s a bit goth); and what “Hare Krishna” really means.
- The Goddess of Wealth Begins Wonderful Festivities: Five Here
- Five Fun & Fascinating Facts About the Navaratri Festival
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, which book appeals the most to you? Which of them have you read before? Any favorite mythological tales that you would like to recommend, no matter which part of the world?