Celebrate Diwali! Mentor Texts for Holidays Around the World

Diwali Books for Holidays Around the World

Incorporating diverse books into our school and classroom libraries is vital. Let the books in your school act as mirrors that reflect the cultures and traditions celebrated by your students, year after year. 

If you teach Holidays Around the World, you most likely include the beautiful holiday of Diwali. 

Here are 5 of my favorite books to introduce students to the wonderful traditions of this vibrant holiday! 

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Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Same, Same but Different - Diwali Books

Same, Same but Different tells the tale of two penpals; Elliott, who lives in the US, and Kailash, who lives in India. The two boys find that they have so much in common! They love the same activities, they both have pets, and they have similar school experiences. 

Though this book is not explicitly about Diwali, it is a great introduction to Indian culture and tradition. 

As the title states, the boys find that many things about their lives are the “same, same, but different.” 

This book is an excellent mentor text to use at the beginning of your Holidays Around the World Unit as it encourages classmates to find cultural similarities and differences amongst themselves. 


Lilu’s Rangoli by Devika Joglekar

Lilu receives a rangoli book for Diwali, and she can’t wait to give it a go! If you’re unfamiliar with rangoli, it is a vibrant, intricate, and stunning piece of artwork created with sand, flower petals, and other materials outside the home during Diwali. 


Lilu and her little brother are fascinated with rangoli, and your students will be too. This book provides the perfect kid-friendly explanation of rangoli as well as inspiring images to encourage students to create their own. 


‘Twas the Night Before Diwali by Zenia Wadhwani

Your students will surely love Twas the Night Before Diwali! Told in a rhyming and lyrical pattern, students will move through the traditional “‘Twas the Night Before…” story with eager pace! 

This book covers Diwali’s many traditions and will serve as a great introduction to new topic-based vocabulary words. There are plenty of context-clues here to ensure your students practice their reading skills while enjoying this beautifully illustrated book.


Diwali: The Magical Diyas by Anitha Rathod

Diyas are small clay pots that are lit during Diwali to bring good fortune to Indian families. In The Magical Diyas Jay and Tina have made 101 clay diyas, but there is one problem, they’re not dry yet and there is only one day until Diwali!

Students will travel through this tale learning about Diwali’s colorful and bright history along the way. 

The traditional Diwali story is told throughout this book, and it is the most technical of the four mentor texts on this list. 

Students are sure to learn tons about Indian belief, virtue, and spirit while reading this book! 


If you’re looking for a complete Holidays Around the World Unit that includes Diwali, look no further! 

Holidays Around the World for Upper Elementary

This print and digital unit makes lesson planning a breeze. 

This unit includes: 

  • 20 Tradition Passages & Comprehension Questions
  • Country Maps with Map Skills Questions
  • World Map and Flag Pages 
  • Scrapbook Pages to Record Important Cultural Facts
  • Graphic Organizers
  • World Map
  • Easy to Assign Digital Activities 
  • Print Versions for In Classroom Teaching


Here’s What People Are Saying: 

  • “Lots of good information!! I love how everything is included and there is no extra work for me. I am excited to use this for my social studies classes during the month of December – this will keep them learning and on task all month!!” – Kristen 
  • “I am using this with in-class and my Zoomers. It is a great resource for geography and the kids are enjoying learning about other countries and their holiday traditions. Thank you for your hard work!” – Jen
  • “Love this! New holiday activity to use every year! Everything is there and you can easily use it for reading, writing, and social studies activities to give more time to going deeper into how countries celebrate Christmas and winter holidays. Even I was learning new things!” – Chelsea


Click here to grab the Holidays Around the World Unit for your classroom! 

Thanks for stopping by!


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