I am excited and honored to be taking part in the 2017 Mutilcultural Children’s Book Day because it is so critical that kids are able to see the world from many perspectives as early as possible. Lights, Camera, Diwali! By Amita Roy Shah was given to me, generously, by Amita herself, thanks to Amita!
Lights, Camera, Diwali! begins with the little girl, Diya (which means light), greeting us with a friendly, “Namaste!” Diya explains that her family is getting ready for Diwali, the Hindu people’s festival of lights. She then explains the story behind Diwali and we find out that lights are so important during this festival because the Hindu people used lights to help Prince Rama return home after being sent to a dark forest. After telling the story or Diwali, Diya mentions that during this time families often give each other gifts. She got a new camera! Diya shows us the preparations for Diwali through her new camera, even snapping a selfie along the way. Diya paints clay lamps with her grandma and makes beautiful Rangoli designs with her aunt. Her grandpa then tells another piece of the Diwali story in front of the fire, this time it is about Prince Rama’s helper and his role in return of Prince Rama and his wife Sita to the city. After story time Diya and her brother make sweets called ladoos. To end the day of celebration the whole family lights up the night sky with fireworks and firecrackers. What a day!
Illustrations and Text
The illustrations in Lights, Camera, Diwali! were done by Diane Lucas and are stunning, they are some of most colorful and well done illustrations that I have seen. They help paint the picture of what Diwali is and how it really brings the whole family together. Diane’s illustrations really help the reader to envision what Diwali is all about.
Not to be outdone by the illustrations, the text was also written in a manner that is not difficult to follow yet detailed enough to understand many aspects of Diwali. I really enjoyed the connection to family that was present throughout the story. In each scene Diya was with a family member participating in getting ready for Diwali. Diya also asks the reader two questions during the story, which would be fun for kids to answer while reading. Lights, Camera, Diwali! is written at a level perfect for students in early elementary school, the pictures help a great deal with some of the customs that students might not be familiar with like Rangoli stencils and ladoos.
If teachers get creative, this book is could easily be integrated into a classroom at almost any age range. The text is not difficult and could be used as a read aloud for very young children, especially because the pictures are so clear and engaging. Below are some ideas for use in a classroom, or even at home with your own child.
Create Clay Lamps
Just like Diya does in the story you could create clay lamps.
Step 1: Read Lights, Camera, Diwali!
Step 2: hand out small clay pots with a tea light in them and some paint.
Step 3: Allow students to paint what they like or even give them some examples of more traditional decorative clay lamps to use as a guide.
Step 4: Set the lights up and light them, turn off the lights for a classroom Diwali extravaganza!
In the story Diya and her brother make ladoos, at the end of the book there is a recipe for making your own ladoos. Teachers could make a batch to allow classes to sample or, if your school kitchen will allow it, you could have students make them and then bake them at school. Just be sure to check for allergies first!
A simple inquiry of “Diwali India,” into Google Images provides a plethora of high quality pictures to choose from. I would pick a photo that is very busy, with lots of people, for picture analysis. Below are the step-by-step directions for this lesson.
Step 1: Read Lights, Camera, Diwali!
Step 2: Have students look at the picture for 5 minutes or long using a quadrant analysis. Divide the picture into four quarters and look at one quarter at a time then the picture as a whole. I usually take one full minute for each quarter, this is why a busy picture is better for this activity.
Step 3: Have students close their eyes and imagine that they are in the photo. Focus on the senses. As students what they see, hear, smell, feel (touch), or taste, also ask how they feel emotionally, are they happy, sad, nervous, etc?
Step 4: Have students write about or discuss with a partner what they envisioned in Step 3. It is always fun to see how students with the same picture can have totally different visions of what is happening in the scene.
Compare and Contrast
Step 1: Read Lights, Camera, Diwali! (Timing this with the actual time for Diwali might be fun)
Step 2: Have students brainstorm traditions they might have between winter and spring.
Step 3: Create a Venn diagram for analyzing similarities and differences between your student’s traditions and Diwali.
Write your own story
Step 1: Read Lights, Camera, Diwali!
Step 2: Have students write and illustrate their own story about their own family celebrations and traditions.
About Multicultural Children's Book Day
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Delores Connors, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O'Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
MCBD Links to remember:
MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i
English Language Development teacher attempting to bring some truth to the table.
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