Looking for fun Diwali stories to get your kids excited about reading? Look no further. Here are 4 amazing Diwali stories along with a breakdown of how to introduce it to your students.
1. Amma Tell Me About Diwali
Author: Bhakti Mathur
Publisher: Anjana Publishing
Price: Rs 259
“Amma Tell Me” is a charming and informative series of children’s books that introduces the major Hindu festivals and figures to young readers. The Diwali chapter of this series – Amma Tell Me About Diwali– brings alive the myths of Diwali with its lilting rhyme and captivating illustrations. It takes us through the mystical journeys of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and finally, Goddess Lakshmi that shaped what we know today as Diwali.
To set the mood for this mythological story, have a pop quiz to break the ice. Read out names of Indian mythological figures and ask kids to guess what their special power is. For example, Bheem’s power is his amazing strength, and Indra’s power is lightning. This will make the characters in the story a lot more relatable and ‘cool’ to the kids.
Storytelling + Reading
For a story with as many colourful characters as this one, masks are a no-brainer. Rama’s blue skin, Ravana’s numerous heads and Lakshmi’s grandeur – all excellent reasons to make masks and employ them in your storytelling. Voice modulation can be used creatively to switch between characters (Raavan can speak in a deep aggressive bass, while Goddess Lakshmi could have a calm, reassuring voice).
The lines of prose rhyme delightfully and musically so. You could choose to sing it with your students to the tune of a popular song, or simply with rhythm and beat.
An easy, eco-friendly activity that would allow your kids to let loose would be diya painting. Buy a bunch of plain earthen diyas, easily available in markets as Diwali closes in. Paint them red, green, yellow or multi-colour and add it to the Diwali home decor.
2. Celebrate! Diwali
Price: Rs 250
Celebrate! Diwali is a treasure trove of Diwali stories, activities, myths and legends. There are spooky, mysterious, emotional, fantastical, extra-terrestrial stories of Diwali, all found in this 150-odd page book. Your kids will shiver at Ram’s spooky but kind boat boy, and marvel at 9-year old Lila’s marvellous deduction skills. They will learn of Sita’s account of Diwali, and how heartwarming it is to come together as a family on Diwali.
Not only will this book feed the bookworm in your students, but it also has an entire section devoted to simple, fun-filled activities like lantern-making, recipes for Diwali sweets and more that are bound to make your Diwali a creative one!
Conducting a quick treasure hunt leading to delicious Diwali snacks and sweetmeats can get your kids right in the mood for the mysterious stories in this book. You can hide little scrolls of clues around your classroom. When your students complete the treasure hunt, reward them with a story.
Storytelling + Reading
Get creative with your storytelling by breaking out your repertoire of voices and sounds. The wide range of stories in this book allows for plenty of creative liberties. Set the mood by dimming the lights and playing some haunting music while narrating A Special Boat Ride and don a trench coat and a hat to transform yourself into “That Cat” from The Giant Diya in the Sky. Take them with Lila when you tell Diwali Delivery – leave a trail of clues and let your kids deduce the culprit. Grab a broomstick and pretend to be a witch/wizard, encouraging your kids to do the same, to get them involved in The Magic Diwali. For Secrets, you can further involve your kids by assigning a character to each kid, and having them read out sections of the story.
Pick from one of the interesting activities included in the book itself, like making a Rocket Bookmark to remember the page they stopped reading at. All you’ll need is some ice-cream sticks, felt paper and sequins. Cut out a triangle and a rectangle for the rocket, and stick them together with an ice-cream stick. Decorate your Rocket Bookmark with tinsel and sequins and voila! Your very own Diwali-themed bookmark is done.
3. The Festival Storybook
Author: Juhi Sinha
Price: Rs 150
The Festival Storybook features four beautiful stories centred around Indian festivals, meant to evoke the true spirit of a festival. Through the eyes of Raghu, Munni, Abdul and Tina we explore the traditions, customs and joys of each festival – Diwali, Eid, Christmas and Dussehra. The first story in the collection, Raghu’s Diwali, strikes a chord for those of us who tend to enjoy the festival of lights from our pretty balconies. The story introduces us to a simple Diwali enjoyed in a potter’s modest courtyard. Raghu, like any boy his age is excited about Diwali and sets out to sell the earthen diyas his father makes. But when none of them sells, Raghu is dejected and ready to give up. His mother then tells him the story of the courageous Rama and how it was his perseverance that finally united him with his family. Inspired, Raghu comes with a brilliant idea to make his diyas sparkle and has the most fulfilling Diwali with his family.
Gamify an eco-friendly Diwali for your kids. Play a game where the kids have to freeze the moment you name a cracker (any Diwali artefact that causes noise or air pollution) and come alive when you mention eco-friendly ways to celebrate. For example, they’ve to freeze for bombs, flowerpots, rockets and come alive for lamps, laddoos and rangolis.
Storytelling + Reading
Raghu’s Diwali calls for storytelling that should move and inspire kids. Start out with creating a picture of words of Raghu’s difficult daily life, contrasting it with how hopeful and excited he is about Diwali. Play up Raghu’s eagerness to celebrate Diwali and the inspiring tale of Rama that his mother tells him when he is down. Use voice-modulation to demonstrate how sincerely Raghu tries to sell his diyas in the market: “Aunties, Uncles! Five diyas for twenty rupees. Buy them and your houses will be bright this Diwali!” This will allow for the kids to connect with him and rise with Raghu as he creatively revamps his diyas and sucessfully sells them.
An easy and fun activity that would allow your kids to walk in Raghu’s shoes would be diya painting. Buy a bunch of plain earthen diyas, easily available in markets as Diwali closes in. Paint them red, green, yellow or multi color and add sequins or glitter for some sparkle. Add it to the Diwali home decor and enjoy a clean Diwali.
4. Ravana Refuses to Die
Author: Rustom Dadachanji
Price: Rs 250
All kinds of peculiar characters end up in the sleepy town of Babubari: sinister sadhus, slimy sethjis, marauding monkeys and what-not. And whether they like it or not, the Babubari Gang – Muru, Jitu, Chippa and Chipkili are always smack dab in the middle of everything. The first few chapters of the book tell us the story of a terrifying, pot-bellied Ravana, who, albeit being human (and grievously underpaid) dares to do something that even the Ravana of the yore mightn’t have attempted: rise from the dead! Onstage, and right in front of a blasphemed audience, no less. As appalled aunties swoon and disapproving grandpas tut tut, he proceeds to throw a raging tantrum for not having being paid for the Diwali play last year. The story of how they convince him to die is worth a read.
Warm your kids up for the story by playing an Indian version of Simon-Says: Ravana Says. Make it even more interesting by adding conditions the will compel the kids to perform the opposite actions. For example, when Ravana says sit, they must stand. When Ravana says jump, they must squat.
Storytelling + Reading
Rustom Dadachandji’s vivid descriptions of Muru, Jitu, Chippa, Chipkili and particularly the underpaid Ravana provides ample material to transform yourself into one of the characters in the story. Your kids will be tickled when you replicate Ravana’s deafening snores. Even better, make a ten-headed mask and don it to be Ravana in flesh and blood.
The naughty, inquisitive kids in the story will be very relatable, so you could assign them to one or more children and make the storytelling an interactive one.
Get your kids to wear their theatre hats and bring out the Rama and Ravana in them. Ask them to pick any two characters from the Diwali origin story and recreate one of the scenes in a modern-day setting. They can rename the characters – Ravana can be Rocky and Lakshmana can be Lucky! Let them get creative. Just sit back and watch as the Rajinikanth in your kid emerges.
Hopefully, you’ve found some great Diwali stories to use in your classrooms. Check out our other post with 5 session plans for BICW books for more ideas.
If you’re still confused about what book to pick, or if you need help creating activities around your chosen book, then get in touch with us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help!