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Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story Hardcover – August 30, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–6—Following Grandfather Gandhi, this title finds young Arun at his grandfather's ashram, or "service village." Slightly older now, the boy is working to adhere to the 11 vows of ashram living. Not wasting is the most difficult for him, and he has trouble understanding how this vow relates to nonviolence. Three incidents combine to help Arun learn the lesson. He accompanies his grandfather (Bapuji) on a trip and listens as he tells a crowd, "When nonviolence is accepted as the law of life, it must pervade the whole being and not be applied to isolated acts." On the way home, Arun tosses away a pencil stub. When Bapuji finds out, he sends Arun back in the dark to retrieve it, saying, "It is not the pencil, but you, that is important," meaning that Arun's grandfather loves him enough to hold him accountable. The third way that Grandfather teaches Arun is by helping him make a "tree of violence," a chart on the wall that shows how seemingly small actions or thoughts can lead to larger events. The illustrations, especially the visualization of Arun's tree, help children understand the weighty concepts. As he adds to it each day, it grows beyond the physical walls, dwarfing Bapuji and Arun and demonstrating that each decision takes a person on a particular path. The dramatic collage illustrations include dimensional elements to create the illusion of texture. The full-bleed spreads immerse readers and take them on the journey with Arun. Constantly shifting perspective moves from small to large and close to far, reiterating the theme of a small action having larger consequences. Another repeated motif is the use of frames within larger images to demonstrate connectedness. VERDICT This handsome book asks a lot of young readers but carries important messages delivered in a personal and relatable manner.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
“Gandhi and Hegedus’ relatively lengthy text is alternately direct and lyrical. . . . Turk’s striking mixed-media illustrations . . . complement the complexity of the ideas being explored and illuminate the subdued action of the text.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Turk’s artwork is stunning in composition and color throughout…As a vehicle for showing the human side of the seminal figure that is Gandhi, this is a valuable title for young readers.” (Horn Book)
* “The full-bleed spreads immerse readers and take them on the journey. . . . This handsome book asks a lot of young readers but carries important messages delivered in a personal and relatable manner.” (School Library Journal, starred review)
“An in-depth exploration of the connections between waste and violence. . . . As in the previous book, Turk’s mixed-media images create a vibrant, dazzlingly imagined backdrop for the weighty philosophical discussions at play.” (Publishers Weekly)
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Top customer reviews
This is a unique picture book with a moral. I enjoyed the idea of teaching the principles of Gandhi to a new generation. However, I do think that this PB wouldn't be understood well by little ones, I think the target audience should be at least Kindergarten ages and older.
The story is very in depth, with Arun trying to understand why throwing away a pencil stub would be considered a type of violence. At first, I didn't understand, but as Arun makes a tree that describes passive and physical violence, I began to understand. Luckily, he also spells it out at the end, allowing me not to guess if what I thought was also the author's intent. Of course, the best part is applying Gandhi's advice at the end, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
The illustrations are done in different mediums and then photographed to make the flat pages. However, because of the different textures, like fabric, cotton, and thread used to make the scenes, the flat pictures take on a 3-D feeling. In fact, my eleven year old came over while I was reading and immediately reached out to feel the page, thinking that it would feel fluffy. Well done by the illustrator!
This picture book is educational and one that causes deep insight. I give it 4 stars!