Gandhi's 24 day March to the Sea from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal event in India's quest to become independent after almost 200 years of British rule. In free verse echoing the marching rhythm of Gandhi's historic journey, Alice McGinty recreates Gandhi's famous march, enhanced by Thomas Gonzalez's powerful paintings that capture the determination of a people longing to be free.
Starred Review, School Library Journal – May, 2013 Gr 1-4–This lyrical picture book tells the story of Gandhi’s role in the 1930 Salt March, a peaceful protest of the British-imposed taxation of salt in India. Gandhi and 78 others walked more than 200 miles to gather salt for use and sale in direct violation of a British law that they felt was unjust. The flowing text describes how the marchers faced soldiers, were encouraged by villagers along the way, and how Gandhi’s consistent and gentle confidence kept them on the right path. Stunning mixed-media artwork portrays the journey in brilliant hues with a soft touch. Gandhi’s familiar figure is included in every painting, in unique and inspiring ways; sometimes just his feet, or close-ups of his face, but most often silhouetted against the dramatic landscape of India. While this book shares only a small part of Gandhi’s legacy, it is a key moment in India’s fight for independence, an excellent example of his life and work, and an intriguing introduction to the man. Demi’s Gandhi (S & S, 2001) may provide more detail and a broader scope, but this gorgeous, thoughtful account should be in every biography collection.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Publisher’s Weekly, April, 2013 McGinty crafts a subtle yet expansive portrait of Mohandas Gandhi, centering on his leadership during a 24-day march to perform the forbidden act of taking salt from the Arabian Sea (a response to the British government’s control of resources). Melodic free verse ruminates on the symbolism behind Gandhi’s actions: “With his own hands,/ Gandhi draws water,/ from the Untouchables’ well,/ to wash his dusty body/ cool and clean…. He tells Muslims, Hindus, and Untouchables/ that they are different but the same./ India needs them all/ to work as one/ for freedom.” The great majority of Gonzalez’s lavish paintings emphasize modesty and quiet integrity: Gandhi walks the dry earth, barefoot and in solidarity with India’s poor. A striking profile of a luminous human rights activist. Ages 6–up. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews, March, 2013 McGinty’s gentle, poetic picture book, awash with sunrises, salt, sand and sensory images, tells an intense present-tense story of Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day march to the sea in 1930 in search of freedom and peaceful change for the people of India. The bespectacled, contemplative face of Gandhi that appears on the front cover of the book sets the mood for the story, emphasizing his determination. His goal is to challenge 200 years of British rule by breaking the law prohibiting Indians from collecting salt from the sea. His march changes more than just the attitudes of the British. Gandhi sometimes walks alone and at other times leads throngs of people from a variety of castes. When he reaches out to the untouchables and even washes in their well water, “[d]isgust and fear / brew like storms / in the villagers’ watching eyes.” Remaining undeterred and true to his faith, Gandhi marches on. Gonzalez’s rich mixed-media illustrations shift perspectives often to focus on the important elements in each scene: Bare feet and dirty white trousers hint at the difficulty of the journey; faceless crowds that melt into the horizon suggest the size of Gandhi’s following. An imperfect marriage of text and illustrations sometimes creates confusion more than clarity, as when elaborately dressed female dancers suddenly appear on the road with the walkers. Despite this, the book tells a story worth remembering. This walk with Gandhi is time well-spent. (Picture book. 6-12)__________ “This re-telling of a fascinating story introduces today’s American children to a remarkable man who freed India and influenced the whole world, the United States included.” —Rajmohan Gandhi, professor at the University of Illinois and a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi