Anjali is a ten-year-old girl living in west India during the movement to free India from British rule. Gandhi has asked each family to give one person to the cause. Anjali’s mother decides to quit her job and become a freedom fighter. She burns the family’s fancy clothes. She learns how to weave her own cloth for clothing. She tries to help untouchables. The family learns about non-violent protest, called Ahimsa. At first Anjali is unhappy about the changes, but through her new experiences, she realizes how important her mother’s new work is.
This book is inspired by the author’s great-grandmother’s experiences. The author includes an end note describing what was fiction and what was real. There’s also a glossary of some of the Hindi words used.
This is an engaging book. The reader is immersed in the time period. The main characters are privileged Brahmins, who do not truly understand other people’s problems. I like that they make mistakes as they try to help and that they question some of Gandhi’s practices. The family’s discussions and growth encourage the reader to reflect, too. I recommend Ahimsa for ages eleven and up, because of violence: riots, hangings, police beatings. It isn’t graphic, but it could worry younger readers. This book would make a wonderful addition for social studies classes.
|Page Count||304 pages|
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