Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | April 27, 2015
Written by Alice B. McGinty
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Age Range: 8 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Two Lions (2013)
What to Expect: Beautiful artwork that vividly captures the historical event, sensitive handling of India’s fight for freedom from British rule, and vivid depiction of an act that was a watershed moment in history.
This beautiful story, told in verse, highlights a pivotal moment in the twentieth century during India’s struggle from British colonial rule. Mohandas Gandhi, a shy lawyer who found his courage in the fight for freedom, became his country’s leader by initiating a philosophy of “ahimsa” or peaceful non-cooperation. Practicing “ahimsa” meant refusal to obey oppressive British laws in non-violent ways. People who followed Gandhi knew they faced imprisonment, but did not resist, and they never resorted to fighting, even when attacked.
The “march to the sea” of the title was a definitive event in Gandhi’s plan of peaceful resistance. By using the natural salt from the sea, Indians can bypass the salt taxes imposed by their colonial rulers. McGinty captures this march beautifully in prose poetry that resonates with the quiet faith of those who followed Gandhi to the sea and risked all. Along the way, crowds gather, followers increase. Gandhi leads on, confident of the outcome.
Along the way, Gandhi teaches by example: This is a march for justice as well as freedom. Gandhi is as concerned with the untouchables’ oppression by India’s caste system as he is for India’s oppression by colonial England.
Mcginty’s prose poetry is spare, as she progresses to the moment when Gandhi reaches the sea and shows the answer to England’s unfair tax laws in a handful of salty mud. Gonzalez’s illustrations are imbued with a visual vitality that brings the story visually alive.
“Indians with eager hearts,/ journalists ready/ to send stories to the world,/ wondering if this small man/ leading this big fight/ can make things right.”
This book will appeal to middle grade readers with an interest in freedom and justice, an interest in historical events in other lands, and an appreciation of universal issues that cross geographical lines. Gandhi: A March to the Sea is lovely book that should be in public libraries, home libraries, and school libraries.
About the Author
Ever since Alice B. McGinty was small, she has played with words and made up poems, jump rope rhymes, and stories. She has written over 40 books. She is also a Writing Coach and Instructor. She teaches writing classes regularly through Urbana Adult Education and takes on clients as a writing coach, critiquing their work and helping them improve their skills. She is also a Presenter, Guest Author, Keynote Speaker, Workshop Leader, who loves nothing better than to share her enthusiasm for reading and writing with children, teachers, librarians, and other writers! For more information, visit: http://www.alicebmcginty.com
About the Illustrator
Thomas Gonzalez was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to the United States as a child. An artist and painter, he directed campaigns for clients such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, NASCAR, the NFL, and McDonald’s. 14 Cows for America is the first book he illustrated. Gonzalez lives in Georgia. For more information, visit: http://www.tomprints.com
Gandhi, A March to the Sea, written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan. Discover more books like Gandhi, A March to the Sea by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Books About Freedom, Books About Gandhi, Books About Historical Figures, and Books About India.