cover image GANDHI


Demi, . . S&S/McElderry, $19.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84149-1

The highlight of this portrait of Gandhi is Demi's (Buddha) artwork, featuring gold borders and accents, splashes of brilliant color and small-scale images. With their fine balance of simplicity and elegance, the paintings gracefully reflect their subject. Readers aware of Gandhi's lasting influence may be surprised to learn that he was a small, shy boy and a weak student who barely graduated from high school and failed classes in college. Demi traces his transformation, as a law student in London, into an English gentleman and his years practicing law in South Africa, where he first encountered racism. At that point he became "determined to root out the disease of prejudice"—this would plant the seeds for his life's work. Returning to India, he used nonviolent tactics to fight against its rigid caste system and oppressive British rule. The formal prose occasionally becomes awkward and a bit overblown (e.g., "Gandhi and his followers worked to accept the good and bad in life, to meet challenges with humility and calm, and to bring harmony to the world"). But the author's passion for her subject comes through ("It is my own great hope that we will all try to live our lives in Gandhi's honor—in truth, peace, and love," she writes in an endnote) and may well inspire readers to learn more about this extraordinary leader. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)