“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, February 9, 2009

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance • Middle-grade non-fiction (illustrated)

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance
by Anne Sibley O’Brien and Perry Edmond O’Brien • illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien
February 2009 • Charlesbridge Publishing • Middle Grade non-fiction (illustrated)

Highlighting a variety of causes, cultures, and time periods, AFTER GANDHI profiles some of the major figures of nonviolent resistance from around the world to inform and inspire a new generation of activist citizens.
Story: Over the last century brave people across the world have taken a stand against violence and oppression. Against all odds their actions have toppled governments, challenged unjust laws, and rebuilt societies. This is the power of nonviolent resistance. This is the legacy of Gandhi. After Gandhi explores the work of Mohandas Gandhi and his legacy through fifteen profiles of activists (ex. Muhammed Ali, whose refusal to be drafted helped galvanize US resistance to the Vietnam War; Argentina's Mothers of the Disappeared, whose courageous vigits for their missing children contributed to the fall of the military government responsible for the kidnappings, to name just a few) who chose nonviolent resistance as the path to change.

The story behind the story: Annie O’Brien has long been an activist for peace and justice. Her son Perry’s experience as an army medic serving in Afghanistan and receiving an honorable discharge as a conscientious objector inspired the two to work together on this book, which highlights examples of how humans can work together to resolve conflict and establish justice peacefully.

Visit www.charlesbridge.com/client/aftergandhi.htm for an excerpt, posters, discussion/activity guide, and video trailer.

PASS THE PEACE: Inspired by After Gandhi, the Pass the Peace campaign is an effort to promote worldwide peace, tolerance, and nonviolent forms of protest. Charlesbridge Publishing has distributed posters to local companies, started a blog chain with a Pass the Peace widget, and donated money to Wangari Maathai's organization, The Greenbelt Movement, to spread the messages of the peacemakers profiled in the book. Feel free to post this widget to your blog, website, or social networking site, and forward it to others who may also wish to be involved.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please check back and click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.


jackie purificato said...

I enjoyed reading After Gandi:One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Risistance. I liked how the book was set up. You could use part of the book to read certain biographies. You could use the quotes to discuss the power of words. The book can be used as a whole to discuss the time line on nonviolent resistance. It is a book that would need to be used for instruction. It is not a book that middle level students will pick up to read. I give this story a 5 because of all of the instruction that can be used with it, especially in conjunction with the study of Martin Luther King.
Jackie Purificato, Consultant teacher

ahslibrarian said...

“After Gandhi: One hundred years of nonviolent resistance” offers a very selective history that is used to explain nonviolence in a very modern context. The vignettes and their principal actors are presented to illustrate the practices often associated with Mohandas Gandhi.
It is within the context of these vignettes that the book introduces the reader to essential terms such as “apartheid,” “strikes,” “junta,” “petition,” and dozens more. The summaries of the incidents are concise and retain the focus of their ability to demonstrate noviolence. The concise biographical data that follows each of these entries is also helpful, but not entirely necessary.
The illustrative material that was done in pastels feels more like charcoal, but communicates clearly the seriousness of the subject matter. Unlike the illustrations, not everyone views the situation in such stark terms. There is hope with each generation. Justice and war are still issues of importance, and it requires a new and personal call to action. The Obrien’s make this call, but it could be louder and stronger. Aside from the cover illustration depicting the progression of nonviolence from Gandhi to the masses, and a few pages at the end of the book devoted to their own action, the O’brien’s eliminate their own influence. Their backgrounds as activists give their voices experience and authority. They have the ability to connect the works of Nobel laureates to the everyday experience of children.

3.5 Out of 5 for Motivational Work
4.5 Out of 5 for Coverage of the Topic

John Parker
Media Coordinator
Andrews High School
50 HS Drive
Andrews, NC 28901

Pamela Kramer said...

After Gandhi, One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance
By Anne Sibley O’Brien

I read this book with high expectations. The topic is one that is timely, and the combination of the red stripes on the cover and the charcoal drawings is very eye-catching.

However, once I started reading the chapters, I was bothered by repetitions in the information. Another problem with the book is that there are inconsistencies in the text. For example, in the section about Gandhi, it first explains that he visited South Africa after becoming a lawyer, and that because of the prejudice he experienced there, he decided to remain. However, in the final section about him, the book says that he “moved there to serve the Indian community as a lawyer.” Another example is in the section of Thich Nhat Hanh from Vietnam. One section of the book states that “The North wanted to unite Vietnam under communist rule, while the South was trying to maintain an equally oppressive regime supported by the United States.” Implicit in that sentence is that both governments were equally repressive. However, in the next section about Thich Nhat Hanh, the book says simply, “Communism is a form of government based on the ideal of common ownership, where everyone shares everything. The southern half of Vietnam was anticommunist, like the United States.” It seems almost as if the different sections in the book were written by two different people, neither of whom read the other’s work.

That being said, there is a wealth of information gathered together in this book about nonviolent protesters. I like the thick red stripes that run across some pages and contain quotes from the individuals in that section. I also think that including photographs would have helped maintain interest in readers. Although the charcoal drawings are beautifully done, I think they are more appreciated by adults than adolescent readers.

I would include this book on some picnics, but not on all. I rate it a 3.

Pamela Kramer
Highwood, Illinois

dmuldawer said...

After reading After Gandi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance, I was impressed with the breadth of information provided.

While I was familiar with certain things like apartheid and Tiananmen Square, as well as several of the famous people, there were several things I was less familiar with and these tidbits gave me a new historical perspective.

I was a bit disturbed by the inclusion of the Iraq War and Bush. While I am no Bush fan and dislike the war, this is definitely not an example of nonviolent resistance. In fact, Bush disregarded the people who begged for peace. It seems like a bit of a forced political message in this context and I, personally, would've ended the book with a hope for nonviolent success in the future.

This book was extremely well written with vivid images, relevant quotes, and biographical information on famous leaders. That said, the vocabulary may be a little too advanced for the target audience and the book would best be used as a classroom aid rather than as an independent read.

After Gandi has much to offer in terms of history and it is worth adding to library and classroom collections.

Picnic Basket Rating: 4

loonyhiker said...

I found this book interesting and liked how it written in a chronological order. I thought it gave interesting information about different people and groups who have tried nonviolent strategies. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t but they all had an impact in society. I think each chapter could be done as a separate lesson which is appealing.

I felt the authors injected a lot of their own personal feelings in the stories and these stories were a little heavy on one side of the story instead of telling all sides of the story. I think it is great to inform students about the different events and people but I don’t think it is wise to push personal political agendas in the classroom so I would have to be careful using this book in the classroom.

I could see this book being used as a resource more on the high school level than the middle school level.

I would rate this book a 3 because I would feel it would take a lot of planning and extra resources are needed to balance the lessons taught with this book.

Pat Hensley
Successful Teaching
Greenville, SC

Martine Battista said...

I did not enjoy this book. I will have a hard time "selling" this to my middle school students. I think parts of it would be useful to teachers, but would be time consuming to use in it's entirety. The yellowed pages and matte illustrations make it appear dated, which is not a selling point for non-fiction. The passage about the Iraq War protest appears tacked on and unnecessary. I rate it a 2.
Denair Middle School Library, Denair CA

Lemon the Duck said...

I think this book has great educational value in that it gives the reader a wide variety of causes and inspiring examples of nonviolent resistance throughout history. The quotes and vignettes can be used as springboards for discussions, planning, and further research. The people involved are inspirational and valuable models of nonviolent resistance for our children. The strategies in these movements can help guide and ignite our children's passion in any cause they choose to take up. The illustrations conveyed the mood and severity of what was happening in each vingnette. The author and illustrator understand their subject matter. I liked how the author took us through history and showed us how the tools of nonviolent resistance are keeping up with the times as they use it to their advantage.
I don't feel this is a book most middle school students would pick up and read on their own. It would be a good reference tool for students and teacher's but due to the lack of objectivity the in writing the reader does not get an objective view of history. Photographs of the events or causes would keep the reader engaged and provide a more complete picture of events. The illustrations are beautiful but not necessarily appreciated by the target audience.
Personally I enjoyed this book and learned so much through these inspiring people.
I would rate this book a 3 out of 5.

Laura Backman
Reading Specialist
Melville School

Anonymous said...

"After Gandhi" is a solid book featuring both well-known and not-so-well-known nonviolent activists. I was glad to see the authors included several female figures in this collection of short stories. This book will serve as a good short-reference for students' research papers. One major drawback I found was the illustrations. Many pictures were difficult to dissect.
Picnic Rating: 3
Julia Pitau
Intervention & Media Technician
Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

The Black Family said...

"After Ghandi" was an interesting read. I enjoyed the layout of the book, which follows non-violent resistance from the time of Ghandi until the present. The authors obviously lean more toward the liberal end of the political spectrum, but the leftist views are not overdone. This book would be fabulous to read in the classroom middle grades and could be used in many contexts, such as historical significance, Black history, Hispanic history, Asian studies, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, and world peace. Many discussions could be centered around any of the sections of the book. This is also a good classroom book as each of the sections can be read independent of the others. For instance, if you want to have a classroom discussion on Martin Luther King, you could choose to only read that small chapter (2-3 pages) of the book. I would love to use this book in middle school and high school to compare and contrast non-violent resistance across different time periods and continents. I give this book a 5 out of 5!

Lindsey B.
Title I Teacher, Utah

vsp said...

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance is powerful and inspirational reading. While there were slight discrepancies in some of the research, the overall message of their work overcomes these minor flaws. The authors' personal experiences enable them to write accounts that come alive through well-written narratives and brief biographical sketches. Popular figures in the movement for nonviolent resistance are included as well as lesser known but equally important leaders. As the authors say in the book's forward, this book is not a history of the past. Rather it provides the reader with snapshots of important people both long ago and present day. At the end of the book young readers are challenged become involved and continue to fight injustices against human rights. Recommend for middle school and high school without reservation - Picnic Basket rating 4.
Vicki Plefka, Teacher Librarian
Sacramento, CA.

Sunshine, teacher, AZ said...

This book had a very definate political agenda and was completely upfront about it. Although the politics may not be what every reader agrees with, the material presented is wonderful. The structure of the book makes it easy to pick and choose what to focus upon and what to ignore for the time being.
This a book that could easily be used for instruction, although it is probably to deep for most middle grade readers. For its ability to be used independently for lessons it rates a 5.
Additionally, the writing itself is quite powerful and interesting. This is a savory story worthy of its own picnic.

Tilda Sumerel, Franklin County Alabama School System said...

This book offers a very comprehensive look at examples of nonviolent resistance efforts around the world during the past 100 years beginning with Gandhi in South Africa. Short biographies of key figures in the movements and memorable quotes are also included. I believe the book will be appealing and useful for students in social studies classes to provide supplemental information for class projects. Living in Alabama I was interested in seeing Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. included among the 15 sections in the book. At first, I did not like the black and white illustrations, but; upon second look, I believe those were used in order not to take away from the text. This seems to be a well written book on the subject I would recommend for middle and high school students.

Tina's Blog said...

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance provides a wealth of information about different people in history who have takena stand against violence. As an adult I was very interested in this book, but feel it is for older students -at least middle school, but probably high school students. There are many ways teachers could use this book - probably more in segments than as an entire work.
I wish the illustrations were photographs since those are more engaging to young readers. This book might get checked out by students doing a report but probably not for leisure reading.
Rating 3/5

ReadingTub said...

After Gandhi is an informative, well-written book. I would rate this a 5 not only for its clarity and valuable educational content, but also because of its contribution to nonfiction for children Here is our full review.

m.otoole said...

I was so excited when I recieved After Gandhi, One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance By Anne Sibley O’Brien in the mail, it fits in perfectly with the school I work at theme of "struggle for justice". This book has all the well known activists (Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr,) but also include lesser known (at least in the classroom) peace activists such as Aung San Suu Kyi and Thich Nhat Hanh.

This book is beautifully illustrated and I am so excited to add it to my collection.