Holi Hai! | Chitra Soundar


Holi Hai! by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Darshika Varma

Out now from Albert Whitman & Company; 32 pages

About the Author: “Chitra Soundar is an internationally published author of over 60 books for children. She is also an oral storyteller and writer of many things. Chitra writes picture books and fiction for young readers and for children’s digital media including audio and TV. Her stories are inspired by folktales from India, Hindu mythology and her travels around the world.” (Bio taken from author’s website.)

Find Chitra Soundar on the following platforms:

About the Illustrator: “Born and raised amidst the clamour of Mumbai, I always coveted the serenity of the countryside. With a natural preference for furry creatures over people, I was always a dreamer with a deep passion for reading and a natural affinity for colours. Realizing early on that I was a misfit in my family of engineers and accountants, I rebelled and chose to follow my dreams. I pursued BFA in Applied Arts at Rachana Sansad in Mumbai. My career started off as a designer in digital marketing, from where I moved on to designing wedding invitations and eventually found my true calling as a children’s illustrator. I’m usually found curled up in a corner poring over a book, sniffing in the scent of inked pages, drawing inspiration from the fantasy world and bringing those vivid imaginations to life in my own unique style through illustrations.” (Bio taken from Advocate-Art website.)

Find Darshika Varma here:

“Gauri thought about the anger in her heart. Could she let it go and be more like Prahlada?”

Gauri’s family is preparing to celebrate Holi, the Hindu celebration that welcomes Spring. A big part of the Holi celebration is the wonderful explosion of the bright colors that represent spring. To make sure each family member is a part of the celebration, they each are responsible for making a specific color of gulal, but when Gauri doesn’t get her favorite color she’s no longer excited. It isn’t until she learns that Holi is more than just the colorful gulal, but represents love and happiness, that she truly appreciates this cultural celebration!

As an outsider, the celebration of Holi has always seemed magical and joyful with its bright and colorful celebration, so this story really caught my interest! The beauty was captured perfectly in Darshika Varma’s color-popping illustrations, and I also learned so much about the preparations for Holi and the origins of the holiday in this story. I really love how the emotions that Gauri was experiencing were paralleled to the mythology at the heart of the celebration. Though it was hard for her at first to see past her own unhappiness about not getting her favorite color, she realized that the love she had for her family was stronger than the anger she was feeling. Regardless if you are familiar with the Hindu holiday, for a colorful and heartwarming read, check out Holi Hai!

PRR Writer and Editor, Taylor Quinn