Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BE THE CHANGE by Arun Gandhi


A Grandfather Gandhi Story

by Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus ; illustrated by Evan Turk

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-4265-7
Publisher: Atheneum

The creators of Grandfather Gandhi (2014) return with a lesson about the complex foundations of violence in our world.

Life for young Arun in the ashram, or "service village," includes many chores. All work for the good of the group, doing basic tasks such as growing food or spinning thread. While these endeavors clearly affect comfort and survival, the benefits of some of the expectations held by his grandfather Mohandas K. Gandhi are less tangible. Arun Gandhi speaks directly to readers, explaining that he struggled particularly with the idea that waste and violence were linked. Through conversation and the creation of a visual aid, his Bapuji helps him to conceptualize the connection and to see that all actions are interrelated. Gandhi and Hegedus' relatively lengthy text is alternately direct and lyrical. Abstract concepts, sophisticated vocabulary, and philosophical explanations may slow some readers down, though unfamiliar words can generally be understood in context. Turk's striking mixed-media illustrations feature vivid colors and varying textures and include decorative stitching that evokes Indian textiles. Exaggerated, stylized shapes and intriguing perspectives complement the complexity of the ideas being explored and illuminate the subdued action of the text.

Decidedly and deliberately didactic, the book aims to spark action on the part of listeners, making it a title best shared by adults who are interested in the topic and motivated to continue the conversation.

(authors’ note) (Informational picture book. 7-10)