Divali Rose

Overview

The meaning of the Hindu "festival of lights" becomes clear to a young boy. Ricki is looking forward to Divali, the Hindu "festival of lights." He's also waiting for two special rosebuds to bloom—buds on the bush his grandfather had planted in the front yard. Grandfather promises that the roses will be the color of Divali, but Ricki can't imagine what color that might be. One morning, Ricki bends one of the rosebuds to get a closer look and accidentally snaps it off. When his grandfather believes the new ...

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Overview

The meaning of the Hindu "festival of lights" becomes clear to a young boy. Ricki is looking forward to Divali, the Hindu "festival of lights." He's also waiting for two special rosebuds to bloom—buds on the bush his grandfather had planted in the front yard. Grandfather promises that the roses will be the color of Divali, but Ricki can't imagine what color that might be. One morning, Ricki bends one of the rosebuds to get a closer look and accidentally snaps it off. When his grandfather believes the new neighbors have stolen his rosebud, Ricki must summon up the courage to confess what he has done. Set in Trinidad, this moving story reflects the significance of a festival that is celebrated by nearly one billion Hindus worldwide.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4

In this story set in Trinidad, Ricki accidentally snaps a rosebud off his grandfather's bush and is afraid to tell the truth. Grandpa assumes that their new neighbors from India stole it. He shows Ricki a photograph of Ricki's great-grandparents who emigrated from India more than a century earlier and explains how "them people who only now come from India" are not "real Indian." When Ricki comments that the newcomers don't have it any easier, Grandpa changes the subject. In the spirit of Divali, Grandpa presents a rose to the woman but tells her to keep her children away from his flowers. When she denies any involvement, Ricki finally confesses. In the satisfying resolution, the neighbors send sweets decorated with rose petals, Grandpa calls them "good neighbors," and Ricki's worries dissipate. This appealing, multilayered story will provoke discussion about resentments between different generations of immigrants. Readers will relate to Ricki's inner conflict as he procrastinates over telling the truth. Akib's impressionistic pastel paintings portray the tropical setting and Ricki's feelings of guilt. Several outdoor scenes are depicted from an upward angle, effectively expressing a child's perspective. An author's note explains the Divali festival, gives a short history of Trinidadian Indians, and notes that Trinidadians have their own dialect, which is authentically captured in the dialogue. Pair this title with Armin Greder's The Island (Allen & Unwin, 2007) for a lesson on xenophobia and prejudice.-Monika Schroeder, American Embassy School Library, New Delhi, India

Kirkus Reviews
Set in Trinidad, this tale about cultural identity and the dangers of prejudice gently, though a bit clumsily, makes its way through some tricky subject matter. During the Hindu festival Divali, Ricki wonders what color the blooms in his grandfather's rose garden will be. His grandfather only answers, "Divali color for a Divali rose." Still curious, Ricki tries to see for himself and accidentally snaps off a bud. When the grandfather discovers one of his precious roses missing, he automatically blames the "India people" who live next door. They are new to the Island, he explains, and not true Trinidadian-Indians like Ricki and himself. Only when Grandpa takes Ricki with him to accuse the neighbors does the boy finally confess. The theme of prejudice doesn't cover new ground, but it does cover less familiar geographical territory. Only upon reading the author's note, however, do the complex Trinidadian cultural dynamics become clear. Akib's rich, moody oil pastels set a serious tone. Better for more mature picture-book audiences. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590785249
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Vashanti Rahaman is the author of A Little Salmon for Witness: A Story of Trinidad; O Christmas Tree; and Read for Me, Mama. Born in Dominica, West Indies, she is a frequent contributor to Highlights for Children, Pockets, and Cricket, among other magazines. She lives in Rolla, Missouri.

Jamel Akib is the illustrator of Monsoon and Bringing Asha Home, both written by Uma Krishnaswami. He studied at the Maidstone College of Art. Raised in Malaysia, he now resides in England, where he was born.

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