Festival of Colors

Title: Festival of Colors     
Author: Surishtha Sengal and Kabik Sengal 
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison 
Publisher: Beach Lane Books 
Publication Date: January 30th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Learn all about Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, in this lush picture book from bestselling mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal.

Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!
What I Think: Festival of Colors is a story of the Indian celebration Holi that occurs every spring. It's a wonderful book to read and learn about, share, and celebrate this religious holiday. Before reading this book, I had some familiarity with Holi but I didn't know its name. Since reading this book, I went and read more about Holi and watched some videos. One article in particular stuck out to me: How To Appreciate — Not Appropriate — Holi Celebrations. It references The Color Run which I've seen advertised before but when I went to their website it doesn't specifically name Holi as an influence. I also read that people celebrate Holi differently in different parts of India. If Holi is new to you and/or your students, this book is a great way to introduce the holiday and then head off to do some research. When I read non-fiction, I seem to end up going to read and learn more. How fun is that?
     As a mentor text, I love the way Festival of Colors starts. The snatch of text below shows the first few lines in the book. It starts by showing us a little about the setting, both telling the reader where we might be and when. We know we are in a place where guavas and lotuses grow. We also know they are ripening and blooming which gives a hint of spring or summer. And then it introduces a specific time of year, Holi. It's simple but effective and definitely something students can try in their own writing as a way to start.
Snatch of Text:
"Guavas are ripening. Lotuses are blooming.
And Holi, the Indian festival of colors, is almost here."
Writing Prompt: Write about how the author uses specific words and ideas to help us understand the setting. Use examples from the text to write about time and/or place.

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