Monday, March 31, 2014

Book of the Week

Grandfather Gandhi

by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus
Illustrated by Evan Turk
Published by Atheneum, 2014
44 pages pages
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2365-7

Ages 5-9

Young Arun is happy to visit his grandfather in the Indian village of Sevagram, but is frustrated at having to share him with 350 faithful followers: His grandfather is the Mahatma, Gandhi. And then there is the Gandhi name to live up to, which feels like a burden to a child who can barely sit still and has trouble controlling his temper. On one rare occasion when he and his grandfather are alone, Arun confesses his unhappiness. “I stopped short of saying that I didn’t feel like a Gandhi, that peace and stillness did not come easily to me.” After he is shoved during a soccer game, Arun comes close to throwing a rock at another boy. He seeks out his grandfather, ashamed but also in need of solace. As they sit together at a spindle, his grandfather explains that everyone feels anger, but it is what you do with the feeling that matters: anger can be used to strike like lightning and cause destruction, or to illuminate, turning darkness into light. It’s a choice, and from that day on Arun not only understands this, but knows the choice he will always strive to make. The child-centered viewpoint never falters in this intimate look at a man who inspired and taught so many about peace within, and in the world. Evan Turk’s striking mixed media illustrations are full of emotion and appear nearly three-dimensional at times. (MS) ©2014 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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