Sunday, November 9, 2014

GRANDFATHER GANDHI- Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus

Author Bethany Turk was a receptionist at One World Financial Center, on 9-11. About a month later, attempting to make sense of that event, she attended a lecture by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi's lecture included a number of stories during that lecture and Hegedus wondered how these stories might be made into picture books. Shortly after that, she contacted Arun Gandhi, and out of their interactions came the picture book memoir,  GRANDFATHER GANDHI. 

Arun Gandhi was twelve when his family traveled from their home in South Africa to spend two years in India with his famous grandfather. Arun's feelings about his grandfather were mixed-- he was awed by all that he had done and a little jealous of the time his grandfather spent with other people.  Arun despaired of ever being a "Gandhi," or learning to manage the anger that sometimes boiled up inside of him. 

One day, after an eruption on the soccer field, Arun ran to find his very wise grandfather, who told him, 
"…Anger is like electricity. It can strike, like lightning and split a living tree in two…or it can be channeled, transformed, and it can shed light, like a lamp…then anger can illuminate. It can turn the darkness into light.
Grandfather hadn't told me I was wrong and he was right. he had even forced me to choose: lightning or lamp. But I did choose, and I would choose, over and over, from that moment on, like Grandfather… 
I did my best to live my life as light."
Evan Turk's multimedia collage illustrations are fabulous, maybe even good enough to be considered for the Caldecott. When I learned he was from Colorado (although he currently lives in New York City), I had to check out his website. He has his own picture book coming out soon! 

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