An old man recalls the extraordinary time when, as a young boy, he joined an older brother in following Mahatma Gandhi on his long march to gather salt from the sea.
Kimmel’s simple storytelling is pitched for quite young listeners. The boy’s awareness of powerful secrets and whispered conversations among his father and uncles fuels his interest in Gandhi’s arrival in his village. Gandhi plans to free India from British rule “without hitting or hurting the British soldiers,” and the boy wants to know how that could be done. Zaccheus-like, he climbs a tree to get a glimpse of the man leading more than 100 followers as people bow and throw flowers at Gandhi’s feet: “The Great Soul has come to Aslali.” The sense of something big is conveyed well, though the urgent need for change is only outlined. “Now my mother must buy her salt from the British,” explains the boy: The people “…are angry at the Raj; they are tired of the unfair laws.” Though so much more than salt was at stake, even the afterword, detailing the history of Gandhi’s nonviolent opposition to British rule, only hints at the full story. Ferri’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are full of warmth and immediacy—the young protagonist is on every spread.
A gentle introduction to Gandhi’s remarkable work. (map, resource list). (Picture book. 4-9)