Picture Books Based on Hindu Mythology

 Ganesh and the Little Mouse by Anjali Joshi is an adaptation of the tale of Ganesh and Kathikeya’s race around the world. In the original tale, they race to win the tastiest mango. Kathik relies on his physical strength while Ganesh his smarts. Ganesh declares that his parents are his world and walks around them and wins.

Anjali Joshi’s beautifully told version of this story infuses elements of friendship that makes it easily relatable for kids of all ages. Ganesh and Little Mouse are best friends. The other gods teased Ganesh for being friends with such a feeble, small creature. Ganesh’s parents comfort him and reassure him that his friendship with Little Mouse is very special. When Ganesh sees a sign for the Annual Around the World Race he and Little Mouse enter hoping to prove to the others how strong and fast they both are. The other gods taunt Ganesh, even his brother, but he remembers his parents’ advice to him and tries to stay strong.

The day of the race, it seems like the odds are stacked against Ganesh and Little Mouse. Until Ganesh demonstrates his true devotion to his parents and best friend in a clever way that makes them the winners.

Ganesh and Little Mouse’s gorgeous illustrations by Christy Mccreery are colorful and captivating and help bring the story to life. Just look at the pictures above!

This is the perfect picture book for introducing different cultures and mythology. Joshi’s adaptation highlights the message of the importance of friendship and family in a way that is accessible for young readers. The author and illustrator capture the emotional toll that such treatment and bullying from others can take on a person, but they champion open communication and standing up for what you believe in. This book is perfect for readers ages 6-10.

Click here to purchase a copy of Ganesh and Little Mouse (affiliate link).


Hanuman and the Orange Sun by Amy Maranville is another wonderful picture book that retells the story of the god Hanuman mistaking the sun for a giant mango, in this version the sun in an orange.

The main character is a young girl named Harini who comes home very hungry one day and her mom compares her to Hanuman Dada. Her mom proceeds to share the story of baby Hanuman who ate the sun by accident. Here is Hanuman on his way up to the sun!

Without the sun the world is left in darkness. The gods turn to Indra, the King of the gods for help. Indra acts severely and impulsively, as most gods in mythology do, and strikes Hanuman with a lightning bolt. Hanuman’s father, Vayu the God of Wind, retaliates by stopping all the winds, which impacts the crops and the oceans and the entire Earth until the gods apologize to his son.

At the end of the story Harini’s mom asks her if she understood the lesson of the story, to which she answers, “Be careful what you bite.” (A very accurate kid response to such a question.) Then she explains, “Think before you act because you are more powerful than you know.” A lovely yet simple message that can prompt a great conversation with kids of all ages.

The illustrations by Tim Palin are rich and colorful. They are fun to look at and support the text beautifully.

Hanuman and the Orange Sun is a great picture book for kids ages 4-7. Click here to purchase a copy of this book (affiliate link).


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