Friday, October 02, 2009

My Gandhi Scrapbook

I saw Google incorporate the face of Gandhi into their logo first thing this morning. I was reminded of this book. Her aunt had given it to her on her birthday. I pulled it out of my saved-for-later stash and turned to look at the back cover. For all ages it said. I flipped through to make a quick judgment of the content before I presented it to her. I smiled and beckoned my little one.

My Gandhi Scrapbook, compiled by Sandhya Rao at Tulika Publishers, India.

A very warm and casually written introductory note from Sandhya talked in simple terms about scrap booking and went on to encourage children to add to the collection in the book. We flipped and we saw Gandhi everywhere! I can’t help but verbalize a scrapbook here, now that I actually saw one, a well-made one. Photographs and images of currency and postal stamps bearing his visage were splattered all over. Tags, comments and labels floated near them with little details. She took her finger here..there. Mine followed hers. She then took the book closer to read finely printed letters on a vintage photo. Colorful art, monochromatic photographs and handwritten patches carried tidbits of his life, style and work.

Beyond the images of currency, were a bunch of thematically assembled photographs. All were sightings of places (streets, squares roads, parks) from around the world, carrying placards with his name. We turned the page, and saw more caricature. On this page, was a tip to create a quick Gandhi doodle. She giggled. But then came a spread of vintage black and white photographs of Mohandas, in his boyhood and adolescence (and of the bald old man we all love). Another couple of pages showed how omnipresent he is, even today. This was conveyed through images of magazine covers, child art and hoardings. Beside these were little bubbles loaded with bite-sized facts about the Mahatma. The neat bonus was a few sheets left blank for the child to collect more such wonderful scrap!

You get the idea now, I suppose. And so did my 5 year old. I watched her hold on to the book and gaze at the photographs even as I walked away thinking that every kid reading this book is sure to find him cool just as she did!
Digestibility. We all look for this attribute when it comes to presenting history, religion or mythology to our children. And this book takes good care of this.

Live simply that others may simply live – M.K.Gandhi. I pull this out from a yellow blob in this book, as we celebrate a hero’s birthday today!


Sheela said...

"Digestibility. We all look for this attribute when it comes to presenting history, religion or mythology to our children."

Very True. Scrap book is a great way to collect and present information about people and places. And, as the children themselves hunt and gather the info they like to put together about the subject, it stays with them hopefully forever.

Topical review. Thanks, Praba.

Anonymous said...

Hi Meera
An apt book review for Gandhiji's b'day ! We have this book too and I agree it is a lovely one.


Choxbox said...

Hi. Nice review!

There's another Gandhi book brought out by NCERT called 'Bahuroope Gandhi'. Authored by Anu Bandopadhyaya, is about 170 pages long and costs 12 rupees. Its truly Gandhian - in that it is sparse in all ways. The illustrations are few and are simple line sketches. It is written froma child's POV and is quite a hit with my 9 yr old. It talks about the various avatars of the man - barrister, tailor, washerman, doctor, nurse, spinner, bania, jail-bird and even fashion-setter!

sathish said...

Meera, Great choice.I guess, One of the keys to get kids excited about books is the coolness factor!

choxbox, thanks for the reco about "Bahuroope Gandhi". Sounds interesting.

Praba Ram said...

Sheels, a little correction...It's a review by Meera! :-)

M, you never take for granted/miss the chance for a timely review!
:-) Scrapbooks are fun projects for litle ones. And when you see a book presented in a scrapbook format, I am sure it must have been a delightful reading experience, which you've very sweetly captured.
I've been eyeing all 3 Gandhi books by Tulika for some time now. Need to pick it up next time in Chennai... :-)

Sheela said...

Indeed! Meera, accept my apology, please, and chalk it down to typing away when only one neuron is awake and firing after a long day :)

[Would it help if I explain that I was also typing an email to Praba at the same time...]

Anonymous said...

Nice book review. Its indeed a reality that children like to do something on their own and scrapbook allow them to do so. With the use of scrapbooks we can ask children to learn about the subject or a person and fill the scrapbook and I think that's a great way of educating children. There are various other personalities and things we can teach children through scrapbooks.

A nice book. I would definitely gift this book to my nieces. Thank you.

Meera Sriram said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! They urge me to write more(and not go into hibernation:)
Sheela: been there & done that, many times; liberally condoned:)
Choxbox: Great pointer! I love the fact that the book screams Gandhian in every way.
Satish, Ranjani, Praba & Prasad - thank you!

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