book review: a very merry hindu christmas

Growing up in small town southern Virginia, we were one of only a handful of Indian families.  My parents did wonderfully at helping us learn about our culture, religion and celebrating all things Indian especially our traditional foods and stressing the importance of preserving our language.  But I have just as many memories of the time they took to let us experience the joy in holidays like Thanksgiving and my favorite Christmas.  Our southern neighbors and friends helped my parents and in turn my brother and me to celebrate with lights, decorations, gifting and most of all remembering the purpose of the season…sharing time, merriment and cheer with family and friends with love and faith.

As I’ve become older, I have to admit that sometimes I’ve questioned whether as a Hindu I should be celebrating Christmas.  And now that I have my own boys, I’ve thought about it even more.  But each time I go there, I come to the conclusion that I want my children to experience their childhood just as I did.  To understand and learn about more than just their religion…to celebrate the culture and customs that are not only Indian and Hindu but those that we as first generation Indians have adopted because of our immigrant parents who embraced America and all the cultures within this beautiful country.  So when my mommy friend Naiya told me just last week that she wrote a children’s book that merged the two cultures together, I jumped at the chance to review.  I thought what a wonderful way to teach kids – not only Indian children – about the parallels in the two religions and cultures and to celebrate both.


A Very Merry Hindu Christmas written by Naiya Mehta is a fun little book for kids…especially helpful to introduce Hindu concepts to those of us with kids growing up in Western cultures (can’t wait to read it to my son Jai!).  It’s great because it showcases similarities between the Indian New Year holiday called Diwali and Christmas, making it easy for little ones to enjoy both holidays and to understand the reason and importance of each.


What I especially love is the concept, the simple/rhyming words and the illustrations are so vivid and colorful for all eyes.  This book would make for a fun gift for all the little readers in your life especially with Christmas just around the corner.  And it’s currently on Amazon for just 99 cents…what a steal.


Here’s a little from the author herself…her inspirations and concepts for the book.
I wrote this book after seeing my daughter’s eyes light up when she talked about Santa and Frosty.  I thought it would be wonderful to introduce some Hindu symbolism into our Christmas celebrations, so my daughters could learn the terminology & get excited about Krishna and Ganesha. I started telling my older daughter stories about Santa and Ganesha having big bellies, and how Krishna and Jesus loved to help others. I wrote this book to give other moms a few talking points to introduce Hindu concepts to their wee ones. Christmas lights and Diwali diyyas bring brightness to our homes. The Bible and the Gita teach us to be good. With Christmas being such an important holiday, it’s nice to draw religious parallels so our children learn something about the Indian culture as well.

-Flows easily because of its rhymes.
-Illustrations are adorable & give kids a lot to look at and ask questions about.
-Parents who know little about Hinduism can learn a lot from this book too!
-Isn’t a text-book to teach about religion; it’s a fun story to give parents some talking points about Hinduism.
-Great parallels between Hinduism and Christianity – perfect for mixed race/mixed religion homes.
-Short & sweet, light-hearted read before bedtime…not too lengthy or dense.
-Age appropriate for toddlers and young readers too!

Naiya Mehta is a Federal attorney practicing health care fraud with a supportive husband who helped take care of the kiddos (daughters, Lilli and Ria who love books) on the weekends so she could focus on writing.  She is working on a series of children’s books for every holiday, with A Very Merry Hindu Christmas being her first release.  The illustrator of the book is a young artist who does caricature drawings at Disney.


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