Gandhi: The Peaceful Protester!

Portable. (Show Me History!). Oct. 2021. 96p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781645174097.
Gr 3-5–Iconic U.S. symbols Sam (as in “Uncle Sam”) and Libby (the Statue of Liberty)—both depicted as teenagers and, in Libby’s case, with dark skin—guide readers through the major family events, public causes, and philosophy of Mohandas Gandhi from birth to assassination. Anderson depicts the last bloodlessly in her neatly drawn cartoon panels and similarly tones down explicit atrocities, but does effectively evoke the violent tenor of the racial and religious conflicts Gandhi confronted in India and South Africa (and, for that matter, Great Britain) by frequently showing both allies and adversaries of various races with their features twisted in rage. Still, the occasional high five, and even the running count she keeps of Gandhi’s arrests lighten the tone. Similarly, though Buckley folds in numerous direct quotes, his narrative tends toward informality: “You can’t touch an Untouchable, Mohandas!” “Why not, Mom? He’s just a person like me.” Readers will come away with clear notions of the relevant political and social divisions, just what “Satyagraha” (“Soul Force”) meant to Gandhi, and the profound heroism he displayed in his dedication to nonviolent resistance. The useful back matter includes leads to more information, both about him and other modern leaders in nonviolent activism.
VERDICT Young readers willing to aim high in their search for role models will be drawn to this approachable graphic tribute.

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