Tag Archives: festival

Ganesha’s Cramped Statue (Stories about Indian Festivals Book 3 by Mayuri Amarnath (Book Review)

With its bold and colorful illustrations, Ganesha’s Cramped Statue is a delightful way for children of all ages to learn about Indian culture and appreciate its grand festivals.

It is Ganesh Chaturthi and Ganesha, the elephant-headed Indian God, is so excited. It is his birthday and believers from all around the world will celebrate him for 10 whole days. There will be prayers, delicious food, and special yummy laddus made just for him. It is a huge festival and every year he parties with his devotees by going down to earth and living in one of his biggest, most lavish statues.

This year is no different. Ganesha is all set to go down to earth to bask in the glory of people’s admiration. He jumps into the river Sarasvati. But wait. What just happened? He is stuck. This is not the best statue on earth. He is stuck in a dingy, cramped statue. How is he going to get out?

In this fresh take on Ganesha Chaturthi, Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles, has to overcome his own obstacles with the help of his new friends Khalid and Kabir.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


Did you know Ganesha is an elephant-headed Indian God? I didn’t, and I know this will be new information for many children and adults (like myself) too. The image of the Indian God will amaze young readers because Ganesh not only has the head of an elephant, but he also stands upright and has 12 arms (page 3).

In Ganesha’s Cramped Statue by Mayuri Amarnath, it’s festival season, and millions of people travel and pray to the Indian God while eagerly awaiting his appearance. They are optimistic that the god’s spirit will land in the 50-foot statue that honors him yearly. Ganesha was looking forward to the week-long festival, powering up from his worshippers because, without their prayers, he won’t have the strength to rejoin his body. However, things didn’t go as planned. Poor Ganesha’s spirit didn’t get inside the enormous statue of the temple. 

Some text on pages 15 and 16 was difficult to read due to its placement and color compared to the background color. Some words were written on the window trim, making them nearly impossible to read on the file. There were also words used in the story that I was unfamiliar with and weren’t clearly illustrated: laddu and biryani. I had to look up those two words and mandap. I’m assuming the author wants all children worldwide to read this, so they need to explain and illustrate sections, so those not in that culture understand what the foreign words mean. 

The illustrations showed Ganesha with twelve arms and later on four. This confused me, so I did a bit of research. I discovered that the god is typically seen with four but can have many more. While the information after the story about Ganesha Chaturthi was informative, I wanted to know more about the festival. I discovered that the festival date varies. This year it happened in August, and next year it’s projected to occur in September. 

Learning about other cultures is important, so parents and educators should share this book with their children and class. 


Heart Rating System:
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Meet the Author

Mayuri Amarnath is an Aerospace Engineer by education, a teacher by profession, and an author at heart. She grew up in a traditional South Indian family and now writes stories about Hindu Gods and their festivals. Her stories bring a new perspective to these ancient celebrations.

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Kai the Dancing Butterfly by Crystal Z. Lee (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?

Kai the Dancing Butterfly celebrates Taiwan’s natural scenic wonders, amazing animal species, and incredible Indigenous cultures. This children’s book is a marvelous read for all those who love Taiwan, or for those who’d like to learn more about Taiwanese culture. This elaborately illustrated picture book makes an ideal gift:

*Real locations in Taiwan make for an inspiring geography, history and cultural lesson

*Storyline sparks dialogue around empathy, kindness, courage, faith, perseverance, friendship, and the support between siblings

*Exquisite illustrations of Taiwan’s majestic animals and endangered species fosters learning around ecological conservation and habitat protection

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Author Crystal Z. Lee


Crystal Z. Lee is a bilingual writer who grew up in Taiwan and California. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Crystal is also the author of the children’s book A Unicorn Named Rin, and the novel, Love and Other Moods. 

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Topic: Taiwanese Inspiration for Writing

Q: What was your inspiration for Kai the Dancing Butterfly? Why butterflies?
A: Taiwan has over 400 species of butterflies, 50 of which are endemic to the island! Taiwan is also home to the beautiful purple crow butterfly population, which makes up one of the planet’s largest butterfly migration overwintering congregation. My children and I adore butterflies, so I was inspired to write a children’s book about this unique butterfly species from Taiwan, where I grew up as a child.
Q: There are many Taiwanese locations in Kai the Dancing Butterfly. Which ones are favorites? 
A: Sun Moon Lake is one, because of the very fond memories I have from boating and vacationing there. Another favorite spot is Yehliu Geopark, where you can find sandstone rock formations sculpted naturally by the wind and sea. I still remember my grandfather taking us there.


Q: What other special animal species are featured in Kai the Dancing Butterfly, besides butterflies?
A: The Taiwanese black bear, Formosan clouded leopard, Taiwanese blue magpie, Formosan landlocked salmon, Mikado pheasant, Formosan rock macaques, etc. There are many unique animals found only in Taiwan. 


Q: Favorite Taiwanese films or movies based in Taiwan?
A: Some recent Taiwanese movies I’ve enjoyed: American Girl, Dear Ex, My Missing Valentine.


Q: Favorite and not-so-favorite aspects about Taiwan?
A: I love how friendly the people are in Taiwan, how delicious the food is, and how beautiful the sights are. It’s home to me. 
One aspect I wish was different would be their dependence on plastic. Boba tea is everywhere in Taiwan and they mostly come in plastic containers. I do hope someday a more sustainable material will replace that. 


Q: What was your inspiration for the emphasis on Taiwanese Indigenous tribal clothing in the illustrations? 
A: I collaborated with illustrator Allie Su, who, like me, also grew up in Taiwan. We researched special Taiwanese Indigenous attire and incorporated them into the story. It’s our hope that this story can shed light on the plight of Indigenous tribes in Taiwan.

Meet the Illustrator:

Allie Su was born and raised in Yunlin county, Taiwan. She attended Nanhua University in Chiayi city, majoring in Visual Arts. She is a professional illustrator, specializing in oil painting and ink painting. 


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