5 books for Diwali with family themes, new beginnings

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Like other holidays before the winter season, Diwali (aka the Festival of Lights) has a rich and complex history and is celebrated by millions upon millions of people. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists or those who have grown up around another of these religions celebrate the holiday.

This means that although it is native to South Asia and the Pacific Islands, it is a global celebration, especially in parts of Europe, North America, the South America and the Caribbean. In fact, outside of Asia and the Pacific Islands, it is a public holiday in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Mauritius and Suriname.

Those who celebrate (or chill out with up to 3 weeks off) probably take advantage of this time to catch up on light reading and binge on their favorite shows. For everyone else, here are a few books where Diwali and / or its rebirth and family themes play a central role.

"A Holly Jolly Diwali" by Sonya Lalli (Image: Berkely Books.)

(Image: Berkely Books.)

I had to start with the most obvious, and this is Lalli’s last book, A Holly Jolly Diwali. Members of the romantic community may have been expecting it already, as several of his novels since 2019 are on the must-read lists on BookTube. For personality testing enthusiasts, Niki is a recently fired Type A data analyst from her job. With emotions running high, she basically does something she never does and takes a risk by booking a last minute flight to India for her friends’ wedding.

Because marriage also aligns with Diwali, there are even more celebrations to be had. Niki is swept away by a London musician, Sameer, and questions whether she should continue a life of risk (against her better judgment) or return to a safe job, even if it didn’t work for her the first time around.

"Born confused" by Tanuja Desai Hidier (Image: Push.)

(Image: Push.)

As a contemporary YA novel (published in 2014) about an American Indian girl at the end of high school, it hits all rhythms: issues with family, trying to find a balance between fitting in and standing out, and navigating. both love and long-term friendship, among others.

Even more universal conflicts ensue related to Dimple’s dark skinned and his immigrant family. This adds even more conflict to her relationships and the way she sees herself. As she pushes back and rebels, Dimple discovers that parts of her identity are fundamental aspects of her and something to embrace.

"Ramayana: divine escape" by Sanjay Patel (Image: Chronicle Books.)

(Image: Chronicle Books.)

This is a very, very condensed version of a handful of epic stories from Hindu mythology. It has everything from demons to princesses, monsters, battles and more. In addition to the stories, there is a glossary of characters and pages showing the current sketches. This is perfect for those who are really interested in mythology and other religions in general.

Why this book? Well, its 200 pages are illustrated by veteran and Pixar artist Sanjay Patel. While he’s worked on several of the great Pixar movies we love, he also created the 2015 Oscar nominated short. Sanjay’s great team, that you can now watch on Disney +!

"Jaya and Rasa: a love story" by Sonia Patel (Image: Cinco Puntos Press.)

(Image: Cinco Puntos Press.)

Located in the mountains of Hawaii, Jaya is a trans teenager from a wealthy Indian family, and Rasa is an impoverished girl who was forced to grow up too fast because her mother (a sex worker) could not afford to be there for Raya’s youngest. brothers and sisters. While in very different worlds, feelings of isolation, hopelessness, and family expectations plague Jaya and Rasa. So when they meet (not before the book begins), they find moments of peace and happiness, if only for a moment.

(Image: Push, Berkely Books, and Booksurge Publishing.)

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