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Festivals and Celebrations Topic

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Best children’s books about festivals and celebrations

Let’s celebrate! Featuring fun picturebooks and fascinating non-fiction texts, this collection of the best children’s books about festivals and celebrations offers a colourful and insightful global journey. Learn about festivals from a range of cultures and traditions and extend your children’s understanding of important religious celebrations with this list of books for Early Years and Key Stage One classrooms, designed to bring the topic of festivals and celebrations to life.

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Stories about celebrations and community festivals

Baptiste Paul
 & Jana Glatt
Picturebook
The sights, sounds and tastes of vibrant Saint Lucia come to life in this cumulative #OwnVoices tale of a girl’s journey to Carnival. When a series of unexpected delays disrupts her journey to the big parade, Melba must adjust both her expectations and her route to the festivities. Who will she meet and what will she learn along the way?
Amanda Li
 & Angel Chang
Picturebook

‘Lunar New Year around the world’ is a brightly coloured delight. It explains how Lunar New Year is celebrated in different countries around the world in a really accessible way. The text on each page is brief and presented in different sections or boxes. The illustrations are very detailed and there is plenty to look at on each page. There are also a lot of activities mentioned in the book that children could easily do themselves, for example, making a paper lantern or writing a wish on a piece of paper. This book is great to share with any year group or would make a good assembly book.

Eva Wong Nava
 & Li Xin
Picturebook

This picture book provides a beautifully illustrated introduction to Chinese New Year.

The night before the celebrations, Mai-Anne explains that the Lunar New Year is about to arrive and that her family enjoys a special set of traditions. Mai-Anne helps to clean and decorate the house and is excited when her grandmother (Nai Nai) arrives in time for the most important dinner of the year – fish for good luck, noodles for a long life, dumplings for blessings and nian gao for success. After dinner, Mai-Anne and Nai Nai settle down together and Nai Nai recounts the important story of the Great Race. Along with Mai-Anne, the reader learns about the story of the twelve animals who race to cross the river. Then Mai-Anne enjoys a special family Dragon Dance, eats sweet tangerines and wears a special red outfit for luck.

This is a lovely picture book to read at Chinese New Year but also all year round too as a book that celebrates family moments, bonds with grandparents and the joy of special traditions. The illustrations and text are both warm and celebratory in tone. It also features a non-fiction section on the final pages with more information about Chinese New Year and the dragon dance.

Sue Hendra
 & Paul Linnet
Picturebook
Join Supertato and the gang in this hilarious, colourful caper from bestselling picture dream team, Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet!It's carnival time in the supermarket and the veggies are feeling festive! But someone is out to spoil the fun - with a devious device that could ruin EVERYTHING.Can Supertato and the veggies stop their colourful carnival from turning into a carnival catastro-pea?!
Judith Kerr
Picturebook
Share in fifty years of a really remarkable cat…A special birthday story to celebrate fifty years of MOG, everyone’s favourite family cat!It’s Mog’s Birthday and everyone is excited to celebrate! Everyone except Mog. Mog doesn’t like birthdays or parties, and she especially doesn’t like them both together. But will she change her mind when it’s her own special day?HarperCollins created this special birthday story in collaboration with Judith Kerr, using a selection of pictures from across fifty years of illustrating Mog to bring this delightful story to life. Join us and celebrate fifty years of a really remarkable cat!The classic picture book story, Mog the Forgetful Cat, has never been out of print since it was first published more than fifty years ago, and Mog has been delighting children all over the world ever since with her funny and warm-hearted escapades. Her stories are the perfect gifts for boys, girls and families everywhere.

Books about religious festivals and celebrations

Natalie Barnes
 & Andrea Stegmaier
Picturebook

‘Eight Nights, Eight Lights’ is a story picture book exploring the celebration of Chanukah (or Hanukkah), the Jewish Festival of Lights. With warm and inviting illustrations, the book brings the celebration to life, as we follow Max and his family, and other members of their Jewish community, through the eight days and nights of the festival.

The colour palette used in the book is really lovely, and the story is full of food, friendships, family, and fun. As a jumping off point in a topic on the Jewish faith and its festivals, this is a super resource and could lead to numerous activities, including making the food and playing the games described in the story. Highly recommended for school libraries and in any classroom for topic work on Judaism.

Lisa J. Amstutz
Non-fiction
It’s time to celebrate Hanukkah! Light the menorah. Sing songs and eat tasty treats. During Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, Jews remember a war they won. This allowed them to freely practise their beliefs.
Malachy Doyle
 & Christopher Corr
Picturebook
The Miracle of Hanukkah is the perfect picture book to introduce children to the story and traditions of Hanukkah, with text by award-winning author Malachy Doyle and stunning, colourful illustrations from Christopher Corr, the talented team behind Rama and Sita: The Story of Diwali.King Antiochus has destroyed the temple and city because the Jews won't worship him instead of God. With no oil left, how will Judah Maccabee and the Jewish people keep the temple's flame alight?Whether you're looking for a gift for Hanukkah or a simple introduction to the story to share with children, this beautiful picture book is ideal.
Anita Nahta Amin
Non-fiction
Diwali is about celebrating! It honours the Hindu story of Rama and Sita. To celebrate this Festival of Lights, people light lamps, watch fireworks and dance. Others might exchange cards and presents. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways.
Thrity Umrigar
 & Nidhi Chanani
A beautiful celebration of Diwali for young children.Binny is excited to talk to her class about her favourite holiday. But she struggles to find the words.Taking a deep breath, she tells them about the fireworks, the delicious pedras and jalebis, and the clay lamps called diyas ... there are so many wonders to see!Her favourite holiday is the Hindu festival of lights called Diwali, and now that they know all about it, all her friends love it too!This brilliant picture book is a wonderful introduction to Diwali for little ones, wrapped within a story of sharing and acceptanceWith beautiful illustrations by Nidhi Chanani that bring the story of Diwali alive!Includes a spread on the story of Diwali and how it is celebrated

Malachy Doyle
 & Christopher Corr
Picturebook
The perfect picture book to introduce children aged 6+ to Rama and Sita and the story of Diwali, with text by award-winning author Malachy Doyle and stunning, colourful illustrations from Christopher Corr.Rama and Sita live happily in the forest – until Sita is kidnapped by the demon king, Ravana. Can Rama and the monkey king Hanuman follow the trail she has laid for them and save Sita, or will she be lost forever? Whether you're looking for a Diwali gift or a simple introduction to the Diwali story to share with your children, this beautiful book, now reissued in a larger picture book format, is ideal.
Lakshmi Thamizhmani
 & Debasmita Dasgupta
Picturebook
During her town's Ganesha Chaturthi festival, young Prema comes up with an innovative plan to save the river from pollution. Persevering through multiple obstacles, she convinces her friends to help her create natural clay Ganesha statues to replace the plaster ones that harm the river when they dissolve. Created by an author and artist from different parts of India and set in modern-day India, this inclusive tale of activism, ingenuity and sustainability is sure to inspire young readers. Endnotes include information about Ganesha Chaturthi, a recipe for homemade sculpting dough and instructions for making an earth-friendly statue
Melissa Ferguson
Non-fiction
Ramadan is an Islamic holy month. During this holiday, many Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, read from the Quran and pray. Others help the poor, hang lanterns and make crafts and decorations. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways.
Zeba Talkhani
 & Abeeha Tariq
Picturebook
Just one more sleep before EID! Safa is so excited for Eid-al-Fitr. She loves drawing henna patterns on her hands, decorating her home and munching on biryani, kebabs and samosas. It is the perfect day. Then the best part comes: she gets to open her presents! She is gifted a shiny pink bicycle. The only thing is she absolutely doesn't want to share with her cousin, Alissa. As her mum takes her on an adventure to gift delicious Eid treats to all their neighbours, Safa will realise how wonderful it is to make others happy...and will want to make it up to Alissa. After all, what makes Eid exciting is sharing special moments with the people we love. A beautifully illustrated picture book to introduce the true meaning of Eid to little ones This book has a heartwarming message at its core all about sharing Features a non-fiction page for especially curious minds about Eid, including different Eid traditions, foods and greetings.
Na'ima B. Robert
 & Shirin Adl
Picturebook

This picturebook offers an explanation of the way in which many Muslims see the period of Ramadan from the first sighting of the new moon through the full moon and back, as well as giving insight into the ‘month of mercy.’ This book would be a great addition to any school or library as it would help support adults who are less familiar with the experience of Ramadan to explain it to children. The explanation of Ramadan is explained beautifully and sensitively in this book and the accompanying illustrations enhance the text perfectly, presented with a beautiful texturing effect that adds a ‘real-world’ feel to them.


Hena Khan
 & Julie Paschkis
Picturebook

This picture book about the month of Ramadan and the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is a gentle, light and thought-provoking story of a special time of year. The story begins at bedtime with the rising of the crescent moon and the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Told through the eyes of a young girl, it embraces family and school life as well as – in her Grandma’s words – being ‘thankful for beautiful things’. This book will be of interest to primary school class teachers and leaders – it would work well as a class story, a shared book, an individual library book or for use in assemblies. It is a beautifully illustrated story to accompany the month of Ramadan and bring life to R.E. teaching. Perfect for primary school classes including those with many, few or no Muslim pupils – the story of Ramadan unfolds telling non-Muslim pupils about the delights and significance of Ramadan from a child’s perspective. At the back of the book is an Author’s Note explaining the origins of Ramadan with clarity and simplicity as well as a comprehensive Glossary of terms.

Brian Wildsmith
Picturebook

This is the Christian story of Easter as told through the eyes of the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem and watched the events of the Easter story unfold. The text is accompanied by beautiful illustrations and would be suitable to use with the whole primary age range as they explore the meaning behind the Christian festival.

Brian Wildsmith
Picturebook
A beautifully illustrated and engaging version of the nativity story.As the wonderful events of the Nativity unfold, Brian Wildsmith tells of the journey of a little girl and a donkey to Bethlehem. It is their perspective on the Christmas story that gives the book such an intimate, innocent and child-centred appeal.This classic story from an internationally acclaimed picture-book writer has deservedly become an enduring favourite with children at Christmas time.
Kate DePalma
 & Sophie Fatus
Non-fiction Picturebook

If you love Christmas, or would like to know more about how its traditions are celebrated across the world, from Colombia to Ethiopia to Serbia, then this is a must-have book for you. It has something for all ages, and is particularly suitable for EYFS and KS1, with its accessible text and beautiful illustrations.

Traditions are shared with the reader from thirteen countries and my class was surprised by the differences and similarities to their own familiar celebrations, which led to insightful discussions. The countries selected each had an interesting fact and a child-friendly pronunciation guide to new words. This book is very appealing and I believe that all would learn something new about how some countries around the world celebrate Christmas.

Children's books about festivals around the world

Laura Gladwin
 & Dawn M Cordona
Non-fiction
This joy-filled collection of recipes, crafts, stories and games celebrates festivals and holidays all around the world. Celebrations happen in many different ways. Have you ever decorated a tree at solstice, cooked dumplings for Mother's Day or made a paper dragons for Lunar New Year? A book to help us learn about other cultures, connect with the passing seasons and bring meaning to the year.
Claire Grace
 & Christopher Corr
Non-fiction
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. Countless different festivals are celebrated all over the world throughout the year. Some are national holidays, celebrated for religious and cultural reasons, or to mark an important date in history , while others are just for fun . 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 colour to your day at the Holi festival of colours and celebrate the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Chitra Soundar
 & Jenny Bloomfield
Non-fiction
We all celebrate birthdays and friendships, the onset of seasons, religious events and national holidays. Our celebrations are full of colour, specially prepared food and good cheer. We All Celebrate introduces some less mentioned celebrations from around the world to children, among those that are well known and bring good memories.
Katy Halford
Non-fiction
Embark on an exciting journey through the most interesting and important festivals, celebrations, and holidays enjoyed by people around the world. Stunning original illustrations and fascinating facts will inspire and inform children about cultures and religions from a huge range of countries.Witness a camel marathon in a celebration of the Sahara Desert, munch on Mid-Autumn mooncakes in China, and discover why skeletons dance at the Day of the Dead in Mexico.Children will love poring over artist Katy Halford's beautiful illustrations, which showcase every celebration in absorbing detail. Engaging facts introduce readers to the most interesting aspects of each celebration, from the costumes worn to the food eaten, and encourage an understanding of other cultures and religions. It's time to celebrate!
Kate DePalma
 & Martina Peluso
Picturebook
Lyrical, sensory nonfiction text and vibrant illustrations invite readers to experience a child’s-eye view of 13 special days around the world, such as the Spring Festival, Inti Raymi, Eid al-Fitr, Día de Muertos and the New Yam Festival. Includes a global festival calendar and educational notes about why we celebrate.

Kate DePalma
 & Martina Peluso
Picturebook
Explore harvest festivals from around the globe! Lyrical, rhyming text and lush, detailed artwork from Italian artist Martina Peluso immerse young readers in some of the most ancient traditions in the world. Nine pages of rich, educational endnotes dive deep with more information about the 12 cultures explored in the book and invite young readers to ask questions about food and the labour that produces it.
Jane Bingham
 & Mariona Cabassa
Picturebook
An inviting feast of festivals, from well-known celebrations, such as Christmas, Hannukah, Eid and Diwali, to more surprising events such as the Woolly Worm Caterpillar Race and the Hungry Ghosts' Feast. Young children can dip in at any page and feel all the fun of the celebration, while learning about different cultures and traditions.

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