Around the world in the northern hemisphere, festivals mark the darkest time of the year. Celebrating the victory of light over darkness, candles are lit on trees, and in windows, menorahs, and kinaras; lamps, lanterns, and strings of lights glow.
Here are a selection of BIPOC titles from our collection about celebrations of light in winter, a great way to introduce children to our marvelous human differences and our shared commonalities.
Young travelers make their way through the Andes Mountains of Peru to the city of Cusco for the Inti Raymi Festival
During a Hindu festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, brothers Alu and Bhalu search for a dog they can honor with food and gratitude. Includes glossary of Nepali words and suggested activities.
Anita Ganeri retells the traditional stories of world religion festivals with her usual sensitivity and gift for drawing children into the narrative. Exquisite watercolour illustrations breath warmth and life into the story. Suggestions for activities are included in every book, as well as special recipes that children will enjoy trying out. The Hindu festival of Divali celebrates the goddess Lakshmi and the victory of good over evil and light over darkness and is celebrated in October.
Recently immigrated from India, Gita is looking forward to celebrating her favorite holiday, Divali, a festival of lights, but things are so different in her new home that she wonders if she will ever adjust.
When Isobel visits her Aunt Luisa at Hanukkah, she not only has a wonderful time, she learns some new things about this special holiday
"This keepsake volume of Rudolfo Anaya's Christmas writings opens with the classic New Mexico Christmas story The Farolitos of Christmas, Anaya's heartwarming story of a beloved holiday tradition, of a promise, and of homecoming on Christmas Eve. -- |cProvided by publisher
As she and her mother enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season, a young girl feels the Christmas spirit in every jingle, yum, and ho ho ho.
While spending Christmas with her Cuban American grandmother in Miami, Florida, young Nina misses her usual New England holiday but enjoys learning about the foods and other traditions her father knew as a child.
Virginia and her brother are never allowed to pick first from the donation boxes at church because their father is the priest, and she is heartbroken when another girl gets the beautiful coat that she covets. Based on the author's memories of life on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.
A Japanese boy learns of Christmas when his mother decorates a pine tree with paper cranes
Describes the seven principles of the festive Kwanzaa holiday
"When each family at the diverse Juniper Court apartment complex needs something to light up the dark of winter, the stumpy, lumpy candle provides a glow brighter than the fanciest taper, revealing the true spirit of each holiday it illuminates"--|cProvided by publisher
Lights of Winter by Heather Conrad and deForest Walker (2013)
A children’s picture book about winter celebrations around the world: Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Teng Chieh, Diwali, Soyal, Las Posadas, Zagmuk, Saturnalia. -- publisher
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper and Carson Ellis (2019)
As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again. -- publisher
There are many other celebrations of light at the time of darkness — the Persian festival of Yalda or the Chinese holiday of Dongzhi, for instance — that don’t yet appear in children’s literature. Many tribal communities mark the winter solstice with traditional ceremonies and games, but we haven’t been able to find any picture books about these indigenous observances. Publishers, take note!