We Indians refer to Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the Nation. Rabindranath Tagore gave him the title, Mahatma-the great soul. Nelson Mandela called him a sacred warrior. Some describe him as the saint of the spinning wheel. A courageous freedom fighter, a shrewd politician, a passionate social reformer and a staunch nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi was all this and much more. He was the most unusual leader this country has seen and one of the most influential personalities, whose name is synonymous with India’s independence. He touched the lives of millions.
Gandhiji was born more than a century ago but his words and wisdom are still current and compelling! He still has the world mesmerized! Films, plays, books, and stories bring him regularly into our lives. The UN has declared his birthday, 2nd October, the International Day for Non-Violence. But how do we make his life relevant to children of today? How do we tell his inspiring story so that he isn’t just part of a history lesson?
Here are some books and resources about Mahatma Gandhi to inspire your children.
Some Books about Mahatma Gandhi
How many times are kids supposed to study Gandhi? Come September and out comes the bald head wig, round glasses, white dhoti, tall stick … that’s about the extent of how today’s kids engage with the Mahatma. And they feel Gandhi is totally irrelevant to their lives in this digital age.
Chandrashekhar is one such teen. Bored by the annual Gandhi projects, he wonders if his teacher is being too unreasonable in asking them to “BE” Gandhi. And then, his world is shaken by events that rock him to the core, forcing him to dig deep and not just find his ‘inner Gandhi’, but become Gandhi. Not for a day or two. But, maybe even, for life. This is a novel that explores, not Gandhi the man or his life as a leader, but really the Gandhian way that must remain relevant to us. Especially today when the world is becoming increasingly steeped in violence and hate, and how the relevance of Gandhi-ism is something we discover within ourselves.
For ages 7-11
In beautiful language and exquisite illustrations inspired by Gandhi’s own belief in the simplicity and truth of life, Demi captures the spirit that was Mahatma Gandhi and pays homage to this great man.
For ages 4-8
It is a true story that Arun Gandhi worked on for 10 years with Bethany Hegedus about his own intimate relationship with his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi. It is an endearing story about a boy’s memories of his grandfather and his mixed emotions about living up to the Gandhi name. The narrative is beautiful and told in the first person. Gandhi tells Arun how he can use his anger to make a change. “We can all work to use our anger, instead of letting it use us.” This is a picture-book biography that stands out because it is a glimpse of a grandson’s personal account of his relationship with his famous grandfather. Evan Turk’s illustrations are stunning, bold and expressive. We highly recommend this unique story.
For ages 6-12
This book has many new details of Gandhi’s life. It is a great book filled with social, personal, and historical information and weaves it together making this a story without the reader knowing it is really a history lesson. Wonderful book!
World History Biographies: Gandhi. The young protester who founded a nation by Philip Wilkinson (Part of National Geographic World History Biographies)
For Ages – 8-12
A fine starting place for reports about Gandhi and Indian history, this book is also concise and lively enough to inspire young people’s personal interest. Philip Wilkinson’s lively narrative takes us through his remarkable life, up to India’s independence in 1947, and the tragic conclusion.
For Ages 8-14
Mahatma Gandhi’s words have been recorded, studied and read countless times by numerous people. His thoughts on family, education, religion, and truthfulness hold as much relevance today as they did during his lifetime. How did Gandhiji approach the problems of his family and school life? What were his thoughts on the role of the youth in a nation’s life? What was his philosophy of Satyagraha, Ahimsa and Atmabal? Children will find this revived and repackaged edition of Gandhi Speaks inspirational and stimulating. It is the perfect introduction to the thoughts and dreams that went into creating a self-reliant, independent India.
For Ages 8-12
DK Eyewitness Gandhi is a spectacular and informative guide to one of history’s most complex and revered personalities. Striking photographs offer you a unique view of Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy, tracing his life from his early childhood to his assassination, highlighting his affirmation as a leader, his involvement in Indian Independence and his timeless ideas about world peace.
My Experiments with Truth by Nandini Nayar (Adapter), Mahatma Gandhi (Author)
For Ages 6-12
Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most inspiring figures of our time. In his classic autobiography he recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of active nonviolent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other nonviolent struggles of the twentieth century.
For Ages 4-6
This book presents Mahatma Gandhi’s life in pictures. This book tells in a lucid flow of pictures and words the life-story of India’s revered Father of the Nation. This pictorial presentation of a great life will appeal more to the younger generation, but whoever picks up the book will find it an absorbing reading experience.
For Ages 4-10
Gandhi lived a very interesting life. He was not poor yet he lived like one. In this world, almost everyone would like to do the exact opposite. Why did Gandhi live such a life? Know the answer by reading the pages of this book. Sit back and expect a highly curious tale to unravel as you turn the pages. Go ahead and start reading today!
For Ages 4-12
Mahatma Gandhi was an ordinary child who tried to do something extraordinary with his life: he wanted to discover Truth. This book chronicles Gandhi’s inner and outer journey from childhood to the independence of India in twelve short stories, with beautiful watercolor and ink images of Gandhi and his family. For both children and grown-ups, this book explores how Gandhi discovered key principles and tools of nonviolence, including concepts like “satyagraha” and “nonviolent non-cooperation.” Perhaps most importantly, it addresses how we can bring his great message in our own lives and become peacemakers at any age!
For Ages 5-14
While the artist was inspired to paint Gandhi’s life simply because “he was like us”, the curating of the visuals was inspired by the delightful details in the paintings, picked and highlighted with care. Like the three creators behind the book, there are three voices that tell the story of Rajesh the narrator, the questioning child and Gandhiji or Bapu himself, all coming together to introduce young children to the great man called Mahatma Gandhi.
For Ages 6-12
Gandhiji’s influence on India and the world has been considerable. Some were attracted by his political and economic theories, others by his insistence on individual freedom, moral integrity, and social service; still others by his Satyagraha and activism. This book simplifies his life and philosophies for young readers.
This book recreates the life and legacy of the man beneath the simple handspun clothes—who ate salt-less vegetables and bitter neem chutney, who walked 240 miles at the age of 60 to break the Salt Act and whose entire life was dedicated to truth and peace. Through a vivid narrative, author Subhadra Sen Gupta recreates the life and legacy of this phenomenal leader to portray the man beneath the simple handspun clothes, who ate saltless vegetables and bitter neem chutney; who greeted kings and paupers alike; who walked 240 miles at the age of sixty to break the Salt Law; and whose entire life was dedicated to truth and to peace. Even today as we read inspirational accounts of Gandhiji s life and talk of Gandhigiri, we know that his ideals are alive and relevant to today s generation.
For Ages 5-10
This book has been written for children and adults alike who are curious to learn about the life and work of Gandhiji. It traces his history as a proponent of peace, teaching readers about Ahimsa, Satyagraha, the concept of truth and the ways of peace—the very path Mahatma Gandhi took despite enduring injustices.
For ages 6-9
A book detailing the story behind Gandhi’s Dandi March to protest against the British Salt Tax. Gandhi’s famous Salt March shook the foundations of the British Empire and the world, showing the strength of a people united in peace to fight for freedom. Gandhi’s march had a significant effect on changing the world’s and British attitudes towards Indian independence, and inspired the use of non-violence in other protest movements, like the US Civil Right movement. You’ll never forget Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s heartwarming, insightful account or Guiliano Ferri’s stunning illustrations of the event seen through the eyes of a child inspired by Gandhi’s vision for a better world.
For Ages 3-14
PICTURE GANDHI heads off the beaten track and following Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi himself, in spirit as much as chronology. The author views him with affection, but sparely, guided by what he himself valued most truth and love and what was important to him. Visually, too, the book enhances this perspective. Thought bubbles paraphrase Gandhi’s words and peep into his mind. Colourful hand-done elements add interesting extensions to old black and white photographs. PICTURE GANDHI attempts to shake off the aura and offer a close and intimate glimpse of a man of our times, a man for all times.
For Ages 9-12
Connecting Gandhi’s ideas and his life’s work to contemporary issues such as bullying and conflict resolution, healthful eating from local sources, civil rights and diversity, and more, this useful resource for parents and teachers make Gandhi relevant for kids today. Packed with historic images, the book includes informative sidebars; a timeline, glossary, and resource section, along with 21 activities that illuminate Gandhi’s life, environment, and ideas. Kids can make a traditional Indian lamp called a diya, create a henna hand design, practice anti-consumerism or vegetarianism for a day, and much more.
Online Books For Children about Mahatma Gandhi:
- A Pictorial Biography Of Mahatma Gandhi – by B. R. Nanda (For children above 14 years)
- The Story Of Gandhi – by Rajkumari Shankar (For 8 to 14-year-olds)
- Inspiring Stories From Gandhi’s Life – by Uma Shankar Joshi (for children between 5 to 8 years)
- Short Stories For Everyone – Edited by Rita Roy (for children between 5 to 8 years)
- GANDHI: A Biography for Children and Beginners – by Ravindra Varma
- Our Bapu (for children between 10 to 14 years)
- Gandhian Anecdotes (for the children between ten to thirteen years)
- A Pinch of Salt Rocks An Empire-(Salt March-Dandi March)-By Sarojini Naidu
- Mahatma Gandhi (In comic book form) – by Eric Francis.~
Read up on how you can make Gandhi relevant for today’s children. Check this list of wonderful art and craft DIY Activities to teach children about Gandhi.