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Supriya Kelkar's debut middle grade was such a splendid book. To start with, Anjali is a delight: smart, sensitive, determined. When her mother commits to be part of the freedom movement in India, Anjali struggles with the new sacrifices this requires in her life, but she soon learns that she can contribute to the cause in small ways. Though hard things happen, the story is ultimately hopeful about the possibility of change when ordinary people work together. I was most impressed, though, with Kelkar's subtle depiction of characters: she raises a crucial question about loving and respecting others when they are not perfect, as Anjali wrestles with discovering her idols have feet of clay, but still manage to do good. The story not only shows the freedom movement's struggle with British governance, but the internal struggles brought about by the caste system and religious difference. A lovely story, and an important one. Would make an excellent school read.
This novel is so beautifully written, and the attention to detail almost transports you back in time. There are so many things I loved about this story, but most of all was the strong, passionate, and loveable main character Anjali. Through her point of view, we are given a glimpse of what it was like to live in India during the independence movement. The mix of history and culture in the novel are great for young readers wanting to learn more about India. I personally loved the mention of the Akbar and Birbal stories that I grew up reading as an Indian-American. This story was also a great inspiration to me as a mother, as we never realize how much influence the example we set has on our children. I enjoyed reading how roles almost reversed towards the end with Anjali having to reassure Ma that they were doing the right thing. Ahimsa is a novel that reminded me that no one is too small to make a difference and stand up for what they believe. An idea that held true in 1947 and does even more so today. Can’t wait to read Kelkar’s next story!
A stunning tale of social justice set in 1940s India, AHIMSA gives readers a glimpse into what the true meaning of non-violent resistance is. A required purchase for school libraries. Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the digital review copy of this title.
This story has now become my absolute number one title to recommend about social justice and equality in any era, country, religion or race. Kelkar has done such a superb job of with this story that although it is set in 1940s India and deals with the caste system, English colonialism, and religious strife between Muslim and Hindu groups, the messages she conveys can be applied to virtually any other country and time period and still be applicable.
This story is a timeless choice for classroom use, as the events and messages can be compared to so many other situations and will make for rich discussion and analysis. Included in the book is a very thorough afterword by the author about the genesis of the novel as well as a general overview of the history of India and a glossary.
Highly recommended for grades 4-8, but also a rich enough title to use for cultural discussion in high school. Required purchase for school libraries, and highly recommended as a whole class read aloud.
My son’s class had this as an option for a book club and I downloaded it when I heard of it. I loved the many themes that are dealt with in the story, all the while keeping a compelling plot going and teaching history. Highly recommend for all mature upper elementary and up!
Not only is this a book about nonviolent protests, it’s a book about how complicated it is to change viewpoints, but it is also about reflecting on ourselves and how our well-meaning actions can hurt others. It’s about asking questions. It’s about relationships. It’s about checking our actions to ensure they are really serving the purpose we set out for. It’s about paying attention and working *with* people and not just trying to do something *for* people. Fantastic book.
An important book offering much to love and much to learn from. This would be a wonderful introduction to social justice and peaceful protest movements for middle graders, but stands on its own as a beautifully-crafted story, sparkling with historical and cultural details that are well-contextualized for young readers.
Ahimsa is a wonderful novel set during a historic time in India. It was immediately engrossing and a great read, and educational as well! The characters are lovingly portrayed and the setting is depicted so naturally you feel like you can smell it :).
The hero is a girl named Anjali who takes on challenge after challenge as she experiences the Indian freedom fighting movement taking hold in her town. I was appalled at all of the hardships Anjali and the children around her faced, but it was eye opening.
This story showed how important strong female role models are for young girls. Anjali is inspiring in her own right, but the book highlighted the fortitude of her mother. The novel also showed the importance of empathy and perspective and how difficult that can be when encountering others that have had a very different life experience. All of this was packaged in a way that made it accessible for kids. I highly recommend it!
Ahimsa is a beautifully written novel and entertaining for all ages. I think this would make a strong addition to a school curriculum as the story allows students to contemplate how they might confront social injustice. I like how Kelkar uses indian terminology throughout the novel and follows it with an english description/definition. This story is powerful and especially important in today's society. I look forward to Kelkar's future work!
This book is amazing! The story is very detailed about the characters' emotions. Anjali, the main character is very inspiring. She inspires me to never give up. I learned a lot about Indian history and culture. Ahimsa, non violence should be used in everyday life so that there is peace in the world. ~ Aria, age 9