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Grandfather Gandhi

with audio recording

Illustrated by Evan Turk

About The Book

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson tells the story of how his grandfather taught him to turn darkness into light in this uniquely personal and vibrantly illustrated tale that carries a message of peace.

How could he—a Gandhi—be so easy to anger?

One thick, hot day, Arun Gandhi travels with his family to Grandfather Gandhi’s village.

Silence fills the air—but peace feels far away for young Arun. When an older boy pushes him on the soccer field, his anger fills him in a way that surely a true Gandhi could never imagine. Can Arun ever live up to the Mahatma? Will he ever make his grandfather proud?

In this remarkable personal story, Arun Gandhi, with Bethany Hegedus, weaves a stunning portrait of the extraordinary man who taught him to live his life as light. Evan Turk brings the text to breathtaking life with his unique three-dimensional collage paintings.

About The Authors

Dimitri Koutsomytis

Arun Gandhi, born in 1934, is the fifth grandson of Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi. He was a journalist for more than thirty years for the Times of India and has written for The Washington Post. His first of two books for children was Grandfather Gandhi. Currently, Arun serves as president of the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and travels the world speaking to governmental leaders, as well as to university and high school students about the practices of peace and nonviolence. He lives in Rochester, New York. Visit him at

Photograph © Sam Bond Photography

Bethany Hegedus is the author of Between Us Baxters and Truth with a Capital T, as well as the coauthor of Grandfather Gandhi. She owns The Writing Barn, a writing workshop and retreat center in Austin, Texas. She teaches widely and speaks across the country. Visit her online at

About The Illustrator

Photo by Tate Tullier

Evan Turk is an Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning illustrator, author, and animator. He is the author-illustrator of The Storyteller, HeartbeatYou Are Home: An Ode to the National ParksA Thousand Glass Flowers, and Hello, Moon and the illustrator of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; The People’s PainterGrandfather Gandhi; and its companion Be the Change. Originally from Colorado, Evan now lives in southern California with his husband and two cats. He is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Visit him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 11, 2014)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442450820
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

"Collaborating with first-time picture-book author Hegedus, Arun Gandhi recalls his own childhood experiences, relating the stories in an immediate first-person voice. Working in mixed media, with pieces of fabric clothing and hand-cut, hand-painted figures, Turk mixes carefully detailed renderings with abstracted expressions of emotional struggle, achieving a powerful balance. A personal portrait of a legendary figure."

– Booklist, December 2013

* "More than 10 years in the writing, this true story by Gandhi’s grandson and Hegedus (Truth with a Capital T) gives a personal window inside the peacemaker’s teachings…. Turk’s illustrations are stylized, strikingly patterned, and rendered in contrasting purples and golds, blues and creams, blacks and whites, highlighting the tension between anger and peace. Dynamic visuals and storytelling create a rousing family story that speaks to a broad audience.”

– Publishers Weekly, December 2013, *STARRED REVIEW

* "This first-person account presents Mohandas Gandhi through the eyes of his then–12-year-old grandson.... Turk’s complex collages, rich in symbolic meaning and bold, expressive imagery, contribute greatly to the emotional worldbuilding.... Never burdened by its message, this exceptional title works on multiple levels; it is both a striking introduction to a singular icon and a compelling story about the universal experience of a child seeking approval from a revered adult."

– Kirkus Reviews, January 2014, *STARRED REVIEW

"Mahatma Gandhi, as seen through the eyes of one his grandsons, is depicted in this picture-book biography as a loving grandfather and a revered ode to a great man by an adoring grandson...memories of Gandhi himself are sharp and specific, lending an air of intimacy. The accompanying artwork is stunning, the use of mixed media collage is effective and beautiful, with varying perspectives and intriguing materials on display on every page. With so many biographies about Gandhi published recently, this one stands out for its unique point of view and gorgeous art, and makes a fine supplement to any collection."

– School Library Journal, February 2014

"Unusual for its child-centered and intimate portrait of Gandhi (we learn, for example, that he smelled like peanut oil), the graceful narrative is nearly outdone by the vivid mixed-media illustrations, rendered in watercolor, paper collage, cotton fabric, cotton, yarn, gouache, pencil, tea, and tinfoil. The cotton yarn, handspun on an Indian book charkha, gives the pictures such a three-dimensional look that one feels as though it could be plucked right off Gandhi’s spinning wheel. But it’s more than just an attractive effect—the yarn becomes a visual metaphor for anger channeled into light."

– Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2014

"The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi tells this true tale of how he learned to use his anger to work for him rather than letting it take control of him. . . . The spare text in this magical, transformative anecdote is paired with mixed media artwork. . . . Turk brilliantly uses broader, thicker strokes and darker colors to show anger. By telling the story of Gandhi’s approach to civil disobedience in this manner, it becomes a relevant, approachable concept for youngsters today."

– Library Media Connection, August/September 2014, Highly Recommended

Awards and Honors

  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Capital Choices Noteworthy Books for Children's and Teens (DC)
  • ILA Notable Books for a Global Society
  • Georgia Children's Picture Book Award Finalist
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List
  • Marion Vannett Ridgway Awd Honor Bk
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • Writer's League of Texas Award for Best Book for Young People
  • MSTA Reading Circle List
  • Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Gold Award (CA)
  • Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor Book
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List

Resources and Downloads

Common Core Suggestion

High Resolution Images

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