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Children's LiteratureNational Geographic's "World History Biographies" bring middle readers the lives of history's movers and shakers, not the least of whom was Mohandas Gandhi. Well-designed to appeal visually to this age group, the book's attractive format uses evocative color, decorative borders, short sidebars, maps, prints, and a plethora of photographs in both sepia and black-and-white. Especially interesting are the less frequently seen pictures of Gandhi as a child and young man, as opposed to the familiar image of him as an old, bald man draped in white cloth. The informative text, divided into four parts, takes the young reader through Gandhi's youth, education as a lawyer, protesting in South Africa, and his return to India where he eventually became the leader of his people in their struggle for independence. Along the way, readers will learn something of India's history, religions, marriage customs, and castes. The author does not explore some of Ghandi's personal oddities as a famous older man or the value to a large country like India of his economic ideas—or indeed, the depth of Indian hatred toward the British and differing religions. However, this title offers inquiring minds an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with this leader who influenced so many others, along with a useful evaluation of his achievements. It is a pleasure to handle this thoughtfully-produced book with its good glossy paper and something fascinating on every page. Included are a glossary, an index, and a bibliography of books and websites. 2005, National Geographic, and Ages 8 to 12.
—Barbara L. Talcroft