Festival of Colors is a delightful and beautifully illustrated book about the Indian festival of Holi. Written by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal, a mother and son duo, this book is sure to delight children of all ages.
On our first visit to our new library, this book caught my eye. We didn’t have a library card yet, and I was very disappointed we couldn’t take it home. Of course, my toddler never wants to actually read at the library, so I didn’t even have a chance to look inside. A few weeks passed and I had completely forgotten about it. On our most recent visit to Story Time, I stumbled upon this book again, and I am so glad I did!
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WHAT IS HOLI?
Holi is a festival celebrated in India that signifies forgiveness, rebirth, and friendship. It is a time of celebration and thanksgiving. Festival goers wear white and throw brightly colored powders into the air, dousing themselves in color. You can learn more about Holi here. I have never celebrated Holi, but I can imagine it looking something similar to a color run (but with less running!)
My daughter absolutely loves Festival of Colors and requests it at nap and bedtime every day! We don’t often end up buying books we find at the library, but I definitely Amazon Primed this bad boy 😉
Festival of Colors follows Chintoo and Mintoo as they prepare for the Indian festival of Holi.
I knew a little about Holi before finding this book, but I did not know that the powders they throw are traditionally made from dried flowers. This book shows the preparation and care that goes into collecting, drying, and pressing the flowers to make the brilliant powders used during Holi.
The story is very sweet and flows well, but the best part is the illustrations! The soft lines and vivid colors are absolutely beautiful. Illustrator Vashti Harrison has created such a beautiful world in the pages of this book. Check out more of her work here.
ACTIVITY – create your own colored powder!
After reading Festival of Colors half a dozen times, I decided to try and make our very own colored powder. I scoured the internet and tried a few recipes, but this one was the easiest and only needed two ingredients!
Colored Powder Recipe
- Baking soda
- Food coloring
The recipe I found called for 2 parts baking soda to 1 part water. With this ration is turned out a little watery for us, so I added additional baking soda until it was more of a tacky texture that you could rub between your fingers.
You can increase or decrease amounts based on how much you want to make. We ended starting with 4 cups baking soda and 2 cups water.
In a mixing bowl, combine baking soda and water and mix. I used my fingers to mix it so I could break up the clumps of baking soda.
Divide the powder into as many bowls as you want colors. My daughter chose purple, blue and orange!
Mix in the food coloring. We used regular liquid food coloring, but the gel kind should make the colors more vibrant!
If your mixture is still really wet, add a little more baking soda until it becomes a powdery consistency that you can rub between your fingers.
Transfer to a baking dish and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 60 minutes. Stir and bake for another hour.
I found that the powder wasn’t dried out enough even after baking for two hours but I didn’t want to leave the oven on all day (it’s too hot here in Texas!). Instead, I set it on the counter to dry for the next 24 hours, stirring every few hours to help even out the drying.
Your final product should look something like this!
Once the powder is dry, it should have a grainy texture and be ready for tossing!
I recommend doing this outside and wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. The powder dissolves quickly in water and washed out of our clothes, but better safe than sorry!
My daughter and I had a blast tossing it around and creating our very own festival of colors! It didn’t really stick to our clothes but sure was messy! The one rule we had was to avoid faces. Although probably safe, nobody wants baking soda in their eyes or nose.
Festival of Colors is truly a treasure and I highly recommend adding it to your collection! It has all the highlights for me – educational content, visually stunning illustrations, and loveable characters. And you can celebrate your own Festival of Colors with this fun activity!
If you try out this activity, I’d love to hear how it went in the comments!