“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi
Use your words. It’s a phrase parents and educators know well. It’s one of the first things we teach our children when they begin to speak. “Use your words,” we say, when they are pointing instead of asking. “Use your words,” we remind them, when they are hitting instead of talking. It’s one of the mantras that plays like background music – a soundtrack to those infamous toddler years – because getting our children to use words instead of hands is pretty critical. And as important as it is to instill in our children, it is of utmost significance that adults, too, follow and live by this mantra. This is perhaps why I have always been intrigued by Mahatma Gandhi and his belief in nonviolence to create social change— his belief that words possess more power than punches.
I am thus thrilled to be a part of the I Am Justice blog tour to share Brad Meltzer’s fabulous book, I am Gandhi, an empowering story in the Ordinary People Change the World Series. We adore this series, especially I am Gandhi, for the way it teaches children that violence is never a means to an end.
I am Gandhi tells the story of how Gandhi, as a young man, was appalled by the unequal treatment of Indians. Refusing to tolerate injustice, Gandhi came up with a brilliant and powerful plan to protest discrimination against Indians in South Africa and to end British rule in India. Like the series’ biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi’s story focuses on peaceful heroism in the struggle for civil rights and social evolution.
One of the reasons I so love this book is because Gandhi’s peaceful, nonviolent teachings can be understood by children of all ages. His beautiful words can teach kids how to create impactful change without violence and aggression. I am Gandhi can be read in a variety of ways within your home or classroom and paired with so many complementary learning and literacy activities. Have your kids or students write peace pledges, identifying how they can use their words to embody peaceful action in their schools and homes. Have students identify problems in their communities, and brainstorm peaceful ways to tackle and address these challenges. Create kindness concept posters to showcase the many ways in which we can peacefully address conflict. The possibilities are endless… and if we emphasize Gandhi’s message of nonviolence, our kids will be at the forefront of a kinder, more respectful, and more empathetic generation. Can we ask for anything more?
Want the book? Get it here! I am Gandhi, by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. HEE received a copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own.