Archive for December 13th, 2014


by Sam Juliano

Depending on what day of the week you ask me, I will have a firm answer to the question of what might be the year’s premiere picture book achievement.  As it is I have a few supreme favorites, but no discussion of the cream of the crop could successfully move forward without a twenty-one gun salute to Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, with illustrations by newbie Evan Turk.  Of course the assured obeisance is deliberately posed irony, since war, ammunition and bombast are a contradiction to this book of peace, tolerance and inner spirituality.  Eve Bunting and David Diaz’ Caldecott Medal winning Smoky Night advocated peace and friendship after an arc of violence and criminal activities, and Grandfather Gandhi is thematically launched after a domestic act of bullying.   Grandfather Gandhi, a work ten years in the making, is that rarest of birds, a Caldecott contender that could also be a Newbery front runner.  In any other words, a book that boasts prose that is just as beautiful as the illustrations that service it.  It is clear enough that Ms. Hegedus, a former Metropolitan area educator, who now resides in the Lone Star State, wrote the lion’s share of the prose under the guidance and personal revelations of Mr. Gandhi.  The latter is the fifth grandson of one of the most most iconic persons to live in the 20th Century – Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) –  who was the guiding force for Indian independence from British control.  The book, like the teachings of its celebrated proponent asks its readers to live the world as light, and move from the darkness of anger and vengeful reciprocation to illumination and camaraderie. (more…)

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