Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Divali Rose

Divali Rose

Vashanti Rahaman
Illustrator:  Jamel Akib 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Boyds Mills Press, 2008   ISBN: 978-1590785249

One day, on his way to school, Ricki takes a look at the rosebush that he and his grandfather planted some time ago. For the first time there are rosebuds on the plant, and Ricki is eager to find out what color the flowers are going to be. His grandfather has told him that the flowers will be a "Divali color" but the old man refuses to explain himself further.

Ricki bends one of the buds to look at it more closely and the flower breaks off. Ricki is appalled at what he has done, and he is afraid to tell his grandfather what happened. The situation is then made a lot worse when Ricki's grandfather blames the new neighbors for what has happened. He insists that "the India people" - the new Indian immigrants - are responsible because they are "different. " They are not like his family, which moved to Trinidad from India many generations ago. How is Ricki going to fix this mess?

In this heartwarming story the author captures the essence of Divali, the Hindu festival of lights. Diwali is a time for a new beginning, for forgiving old hurts, and for celebrating. The author shows, without any heavy handedness, how important it is to set aside ones prejudices and ones anger to embrace everyone - especially on this special holiday.

An author's note at the back of the book provides readers with more information about Divali, about Trinidad (where the story is set), and about the Trinidadian dialect that is used a little in the book to make is more authentic.