Marching to Freedom is a creative non-fiction picture book written around Gandhi’s famous march to freedom.
Mahatma Gandhi and his followers are organising a march that will go down in history as a momentous event in the struggle for India’s freedom. The group are marching to Dandi to protest against the unfair salt tax imposed by the British. A young boy, Dhani and his family live at the Sabarmati Ashram with Gandhiji. Dhani wants to go too.
A work of creative non-fiction, this tale captures the spirit behind an event that inspired millions of Indians to join the struggle for Independence.
Creative non-fiction books are a fun and memorable way to teach elementary school children about events (they are also popular with adults and the theme for many popular movies). This book is a great way to learn about a very important part of history, the power of peaceful protests, and fighting for what you believe in non-violently.
Marching to Freedom makes a great lesson for history and culture, and there are many exercises that can be created for elementary school students from the book. , for example:
- Research more facts about Gandhi’s great march, and write up an editorial about the event.
- Write an essay about why the salt tax was so unfair.
- Research and write more about the Sabarmati Ashram and living in an Ashram.
- Research and write more about Gandhi’s life.
Some questions to ask children after reading the book:
- Why do you think Gandhi and the Indian people were protesting?
- Why was it important for India to gain independence?
- Why do you think Dhani is not allowed to go on the March? Is it fair?
This book is brought to us by Pratham’s Storyweaver platform. The book is available in creative commons (CC-BY-SA).
Pratham has rated this book Level 4, for children who can read fluently, or suitable to read with or to children who are learning to read.
Approximate reading time: 15 minutes.
Sample text from Marching to Freedom, a Picture Book about Gandhi
Dhani knew something exciting was being planned at the ashram, but no one would tell him anything. “Just because I’m nine years old,” thought Dhani glumly. “I’m sure they think I’m stupid. I am not!”
Dhani and his parents lived in a very special place. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram near Ahmedabad where people from all over India came to stay. Like Gandhiji, they were all fighting for India’s freedom. During their stay at the ashram, they spent their time spinning khadi thread on charkhas, singing bhajans and listening to Gandhiji’s lectures.
At Sabarmati, everyone had to work – cook and clean, wash clothes, fetch water from the well, milk the cows and goats, and grow vegetables. Even Dhani had a job – he had to take care of Binni, one of the ashram’s goats. He quite enjoyed that because Binni was his best friend and he liked talking to her.
<End of Page 1, or 11 text pages, total 17 pages>
Fun facts of History (From Marching to Freedom)
1. In March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led the march to Dandi to protest against the tax on salt imposed by the
British. Gandhi and his followers walked through Gujarat for 24 days. All along the way, they were welcomed with flowers and songs. Newspapers across the world carried reports about the march.
2. At Dandi, Gandhi and his followers collected salt from the seashore and were arrested. The arrest sparked off the Non-cooperation Movement, and people all over India boycotted schools, colleges and offices.
3. There were 78 volunteers who accompanied Gandhi on the march. They covered a distance of 385 kilometres.
4. The march began on 12 March and ended on 5 April 1930. The youngest marcher was 16 years old.
5. The year 2005 marks the 75th anniversary of the Dandi March.
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