Celebrate Holi with books about love, spring and colour!

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Celebrate Holi this year on 29th March, the Hindu festival of colours and love. Originating from South Asia, Holi celebrates the beautiful beginning of spring at the end of a hard winter. 

On the day of Holi, people throw coloured powder – called gulal powder – into the air, turning entire streets and cities red, green and yellow. These colours symbolise different elements of the festival: red, for example, symbolises love while green represents new beginnings. Just like how the bright colours of gulal powder celebrate different elements of Holi, we hope you’ll find that these recommended books offer another way to share the themes of love, spring and colour during Holi. 

You can buy all the books directly here from Bookshop.org 

Beginning Readers

Little Bear’s Spring written by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Briony May Smith, published by Macmillan

Little Bear has just woken up from his long winter sleep. But when he pokes his head out of the den, the world around him is vast, white and silent. The only thing he sees is a smooth little stone, just as alone in the snowy wilderness as he is. He nestles it in tight to his fur and off they go in search of friends.

Little Bear’s Spring is a lyrical story about friendship, with a gentle introduction to spring and what happens to the natural world when the seasons change. Written by star picture book author Elli Woollard and illustrated by Briony May Smith, whose artwork brings a sun-dappled springtime landscape to life with breathtaking beauty.

The Crow and the Peacock written and illustrated by Johanna Fernihough, published by Oxford University Press

Crow is on a journey to find happiness-meeting an elegant swan, a gentle dove, and a famous cockerel. His journey soon leads him to a magnificent peacock locked in a cage, this is when Crow realizes that happiness may not come from how you look, but how you feel.

This beautiful book is bursting with colour and is a celebration of accepting who you are.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone written by Jane Porter, illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring, published by Walker

A book that celebrates love, a key element to the Holi Festival.

“I love you,” Dimitri tells everyone, from his friends at nursery to the big tree in the playground. But why does no one say it back? Dimitri worries no one loves him – until he finds out there are lots of different ways love can spread through the world. A touching and uplifting story, perfect for sharing.

Early readers 

Celebrations Around the World: The Fabulous Celebrations You Won’t Want to Miss, written and illustrated by Katy Halford, published by DK

Learn more about Holi in this exciting journey through the most interesting and important festivals, celebrations, and holidays enjoyed by people around the world. Witness a camel marathon in a celebration of the Sahara Desert, and devour some delicious dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year. Discover why skeletons dance at the Day of the Dead in Mexico, and how the world’s biggest tomato fight, La Tomatina in Spain, gets cleaned up!

Stunning original illustrations and fascinating facts will inspire and inform children about cultures and religions from the countries of the world.

Oxford Reading Tree Story Sparks (Level 5): The Festival of Colours, written by Narinder Dham, illustrated by Anni Axworthy

It is Holi, the festival of colours. Adil and Mira can’t wait to join the fun, but first they have to help a man who loses his wallet.

Oxford Reading Tree Story Sparks is an emotionally-engaging fiction series that will fire children’s imaginations and develop their comprehension skills. The variety of authors and illustrators broadens children’s reading experience, with something to appeal to every child. This wonderful adventure set during Holi is a fantastic introduction to the festival for ages 5+

Rangoli written by Andrew Davis, illustrated by JDB press, published by Sweet Cherry

Discover the vivid world of Rangoli and express yourself through colour in this stress-relieving, art therapy colouring book. Every turn of the page reveals a mesmerising design of bespoke Rangoli-inspired patterns, created to channel your positive energies and creativity and bring these illustrations to life!

Rain Before Rainbows written by Smriti Halls, illustrated by David Litchfield, published by Walker

This book shows true triumph of good over bad times through David Litchfield’s wonderfully colourful illustrations – complementing Holi Festival beautifully.

A girl and her companion fox travel together from a place of loss and despair, through uncertain times, towards the hope of colour, light and life. Along the way, they find friends to guide and support them. Together, they build a glorious future and discover there is a way out of the darkness, into the light of the rainbow. A book with immense hope at its heart, this is a positive message for anyone who’s ever gone through a tough time.

Fluent Readers

Looking for Lord Ganesh written by Mahtab Narsimhan, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, published by Lantana

Anika has recently emigrated from India and is having a difficult time adjusting to life in a new country – not to mention life in a new school. Taking to the internet, she searches for Lord Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god, to help her solve her problems. But does Lord Ganesh truly help her, or has she been relying on her own inner wisdom all along?

A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals, written by Claire Grace, illustrated by Christopher Corr, published by Frances Lincoln

With fact-filled text accompanied by beautifully bright illustrations from the wonderfully talented Chris Corr, prepare yourself for a journey as we travel around the world celebrating and uncovering a visual feast of culture. Give thanks and tuck into a delicious meal with friends and family at Thanksgiving, get caught up in a messy tomato fight in Spain at La Tomatina, add a splash of color to your day at the Holi festival of colors and celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

A Poem for Every Spring Day, written by Allie Esiri, published by Macmillan

Within the pages of Allie Esiri’s gorgeous collection, A Poem for Every Spring Day, you will find verse that will transport you to vivid spring-time scenes. Perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family, this book dazzles with an array of familiar favourites and remarkable new discoveries. 

Includes poems by William Wordsworth, Christina Rossetti, John Donne and Emily Dickinson who sit alongside Ted Hughes, John Agard, Maya Angelou, Wendy Cope, John Cooper Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy. This soul-enhancing book will keep you company for every day of your life.