Maya and Leela Present: Dances of India
by Kyra Khanna and Malini Sekhar, Illustrated by Alyssa M. Torres
Children love to dance and move, and this bright and beautiful board book introduces them to Indian culture in the most wonderful way – through the enthusiastic eyes of two young girls.
In Dances of Of India, Maya and Leela watch and participate as the dancing and music come to life with bells jingling, sticks tapping, drums drumming and dancers acting out legendary characters. Deceptively simple, the book is a ton of fun to read but can be used in lots of ways – to teach basic beats of music, to share stories that the dancers reenact or to try out fun creative activities with kids such as tapping musical sticks, making masks or swirling with colorful scarves.
How to sum up this book for young readers and pre-readers? The last page does it perfectly:
“All Across the Land,
Music Fills The air
That’s because, in India
Dance is everywhere !”
Check out this wonderful “must have” book for tiny dancers and little global citizens! To purchase a copy from the publisher’s site, visit:
Or find it on Amazon at:
This 14 page E-book available as an immediate digital download from TeachersPayTeachers shares a dozen different instruments from world cultures plus a map of where you might find them. Instruments included are ones that are easily recognized – like the guitar – but also more unusual instruments that come from Russia, India, China, Hawaii and South America as well.
Written by and Meera Sriram and Praba Ram, Illustrations by Koel Basu
One of the great things about books is that they can take you and your family around the world. You can visit another country or explore a different culture. And some books – like Bijoy and the Big River – have just the right combination of great information, rich photography and an engaging story.
In this book you get to visit with a young boy from the state of Assam in Northeast India. Their family lives close to an important river that flows out of the Himalaya mountains and past their village. A great deal of their lives revolves around the river as well as their occupation of raising silkworms and making silk. On one special day, Bijoy gets to accompany his dad on his first ferry trip to a village famous for making some of the finest silk in the land.
Traveling with Bijoy, the wonders of this area unfold, combining details of day-to-day life with exciting experiences such as seeing river dolphins, a beautiful sunset on the river or passing a cruise ship bound for a nearby wildlife park. Bijoy and the Big River is a wonderful, children’s book that will intrigue readers of any age and encourage them to discover more about this exciting and important region of the world.
You can purchase this book from Tulika Press, a publishing house offering exceptional books for young readers in a variety of languages including English, Telegu, Bengali, Gujarati and Tamil. Find out more here:
Written by Bhakti Mathur
Illustrated By Maulshree Somani
Several teachers I know recommended this book as a fun way to learn about the holiday of Diwali – through rhymes! They felt the book was fun, age appropriate and also culturally accurate and respectfully written! Text and illustrations are adorable and introduce this holiday to readers in a way that is as exciting and understandable.
Brilliant firecrackers lighting up the night, Diyas twinkling like stars—what a sight! This is Diwali, in all its glory, as told to Klaka, by his Ammaùa magical story. First, the celebration of Prince Rama, his homecoming, and his victory over Ravana, the evil demon king. Next, a story about Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, who rewards her true devotees with fortune and good health.
Written By Verma Jatinder, Illustrated By Nilesh Mistry
This book is less about the holiday of Diwali and more about the exciting story behind it. The book is a retelling of the “Ramayana”, an age-old Hindu epic tale of how Prince Rama overcomes the Demon King. Full of adventure, magic and miracles, this story will delight both young and older readers.
Perfect for reading as part of a Diwali celebration or as a way to learn more about India and Hindu folklore.
The Story of Divaali is a wonderful rendition of the "Ramayana," an age-old Hindu epic filled with magic, miracles and adventure. The compelling story tells of a young prince Rama who overcomes Ravana the Demon King. Out of his triumph, Divaali, the Indian festival of lights, is born. The powerful narrative is perfectly complemented by the jewel-like illustrations of Nilesh Mistry. Drawing on the versions told to him in childhood by his parents, Jatinder Verma brings the essence of this great Indian epic to life for a new generation.
By Roger Priddy
A 12 page, beautiful, bright “touch and feel” board book about Diwali, perfect for the youngest child.
What a nice way to share this joyous holiday with really young children through colorful rangoli and other simple but pleasing, powerful images that share the spirit of this holiday.
Book by Priddy, Roger
Written by Jonny Zucker, Illustrations by Jan Barger
For Hindu people, Diwali is a very special holiday that celebrates the new year. Although customs and practices vary from area to area and from North to South India, Diwali is a joyous occasion involving bringing in a new year, making and sharing sweets, gathering with friends and family and telling stories that have deep and powerful cultural significance.
How do people celebrate Diwali? Beautiful, colorful patterns called rangolis are painted and small lights called “diya” are lit (or modern electric lights are sometimes used as well). And then there are trips to the temple, small presents, fireworks and much more! This book is perfect for children of any age. Beautiful pictures and easy to read text share the joy and fun of this special holiday in a way that is sure to appeal to any reader.
Books in the Festival Time series describe the activities of typical families as parents and children celebrate some of their culture’s major holidays. Attractive color illustrations on every page will appeal to younger children. The simply yet delightfully told stories describe the festivities while giving children background information about holidays in many different cultures. A two-page spread at the back of each book contains information for parents, and includes suggestions on ways to communicate the holiday’s meaning to kids. Diwali is the Hindu five-day festival of lights that welcomes in the lunar new year. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, or Aasho, which occurs in October or November, depending on the lunar calendar. During the festival, parents tell stories that relate to the holiday, exchange gifts of sweets, light candles, and attend elaborate fireworks displays. The holiday is marked by an abundance of lights displayed in homes and businesses.
Retold by Dharmachari Nagaraja
The byline of this book describes this wonderful bedtime storybook perfectly – Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire. Retold by Dharmachari Nagaraja, these 20 modern versions of classic Buddhist stories are fun, intriguing and teach profound lessons without ever seeming “preachy”.
Buddah at Bedtime is also a beautiful looking book. It is illustrated throughout with some of the most lovely, multicultural images that bring the stories alive and don’t seem to limit them to any one tradition but could easily charm readers from any culture in the world.
Best of all – the stories delight. Animals talk. Families travel to exciting celebrations. A rich miser learns the real value of friendship and four sisters discover the value of sharing their ideas and wisdom, instead of seeing things from only one perspective. This is a story book that the adults in your family will enjoy at least as much as the younger listeners – perhaps even more!
By Rafe Martin, Illustrated by Famimeh Amiri
A bridge of monkeys – how could that be?
In this retelling of a Buddhist Jataka tale, you follow the story of a group of monkeys and their wise king. They live in a secret location near a tree that bears the most beautiful and wonderous fruit. One day a human king finds out about this tree and it’s possible that the monkeys may not only lose their own tree, but their very lives! How does their wise monkey king overcome these difficulties and save the day?
What are Jataka tales? Author; Rafe Martin, shares a forward to the book that explains the history of jataka tales – some 500 or so stories about past lives of the Buddha, meant to inspire, encourage and teach. This retelling of one of those tales is a beautifully illustrated book that also teaches a marvelous lesson about finding positive solutions to troubling problems and what it means to be an inspiring leader.
From the renowned author of The Rough-Face Girl comes an exquisitely rendered version of one of India's best-loved tales about what it means to be a king. In the heart of Benares, on the banks of the river Ganges, stands a tree with fruit so perfect it can only be called treasure. How the tree got there is a tale of two rulers--one selfish and proud, one generous and brave--one a man and one a monkey. Having studied the Buddhist tradition for decades, Martin is at his lyrical best in this fable of how a human king's greed puts a tribe of monkeys in mortal danger, while a monkey king's sacrifice restores peace to his kingdom. Exquisitely illustrated with watercolor and gouache paintings in the authentic style of Indian and Persian miniatures, The Monkey Bridge has something important to say about the nature of true nobility and leadership.
Written by Pooja Makhijani, Illustrated By Elena Gomez
This book is a gentle and moving story of a young girl whose family no longer lives in India. However, her mother has a suitcase of her special and beautiful saris underneath her bed that she brings out and wears on special occasions, like the day her daughter was born.
A trip through the suitcase shares many wonderful details of family history and the girl finally convinces her mom that she is old enough to wear a beautiful sari of her own. Which one does she pick and what special surprise does her mother have to go with the sari? Pick up this book to experience a wonderful dress-up adventure, Indian style.
Written By Gita Wolf, Illustrated By Swarna Chitrakar
Monkey Photo by Gita Wolf and illustrated by artist Swarna Chitrakar is another example of unique Indian folk art, this time the patua (Bengali folk style) from Bengal is showcased. The layers of stripes and dots and curls make the animals look exotic and fanciful, and my kids wanted me to read very s-l-o-w-l-y so they could pour over the illustrations.
This is a silly story of a monkey who is tired of being photographed by tourists. He grabs the camera, and begins to snap pictures of his other animal friends in the jungle. My son (4) says “I would call the police if he stole my camera!”
-Becky Morales, Kid World Citizen (www.kidworldcitizen.org).
Monkey lives in a jungle that tourists love to visit. But he’s getting tired of them taking pictures of him all the time—especially since he never gets to see the results! So he decides to help himself to a camera and swing around the jungle, surprising friends and foes . . .
Here, Mr Monkey
Illustrated by Swarna Chitrakar in the brilliant Patua style of folk art from Bengal, and featuring verse by Gita Wolf, Monkey Photo records jungle life at its hilarious best.
A unique "jungle" art gallery featuring portraits of animals caught off-guard, this is a show that is sure to delight young readers.
Written By Anushka Ravishankar
Illustrated By Durga Bai
One, Two, Tree by Anushka Ravishankar, Sirish Rao, and illustrated by the exceptional artist Durga Bai, is the perfect preschool or kindergarten book, counting the numerous animals that somehow fit into an enormous tree. What makes this book so remarkable is the traditional folk art, from the Gond Tribal tradition of Central India. My daughter (4) says “How can so many animals climb up a tree?!” Check out other books by internationally renown Indian author Ravishankar like award-winning Tiger on a Tree, I Like Cats, or Excuse Me, Is This India?
-Becky Morales, Kid World Citizen (www.kidworldcitizen.org)
This visually stunning read-aloud book invites young children to count the improbable numbers of animals that clamber up an ever-expanding tree. Brilliant original art by a tribal woman artist from central India brings alive this vivacious and colorful tree of animals. One, Two, Tree! combines the sophistication of an art book for children with the accessibility of a read-aloud nursery rhyme tale.
Written by Valerie Petrillo
This book is a great way to learn about the culture and traditions of people who came to the US from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. There is a series of 70 crafts exploring cooking, art, dance, folklore and holidays as well as language, history and outstanding historical figures.
Some of my favorites from this book are the Mehndi hand painting, the Japanese fish printing craft, ribbon dancing activities, origami, taiko drumming and even a snakes and ladders game from India and a “kick-the-can” game from the Philippines. There are lots of wonderfully easy recipes for such goodies as rice balls, Banana Lassi (yogurt drink), Vietnamese beef noodle soup and Cambodian spring rolls plus lots of suggestions for sweets! Lastly, there are also pages for learning basic phrases in several languages such as Mandarin and Hindi.
All in all, this book is a treasure of information as well as fun activities that can liven up the home or classroom at Chinese New Year or any time of year!
Hands-on activities, games, and crafts introduce children to the diversity of Asian American cultures and teach them about the people, experiences, and events that have shaped Asian American history. This book is broken down into sections covering American descendents from various Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Topics include the history of immigration from Asian countries, important events in U.S. history, sidebars on famous Asian Americans, language lessons, and activities that highlight arts, games, food, clothing, unique celebrations, and folklore. Kids can paint a calligraphy banner, practice Tai Chi, fold an origami dog or cat, build a Japanese rock garden, construct a Korean kite, cook bibingka, and create a chalk rangoli. A time line, glossary, and recommendations for Web sites, books, movies, and museums round out this multicultural guide.