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Nancy Churnin; Illustrated by Danny Popovici
Ages 5 & up
Available September 1, 2017
Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if their heart is big enough.
I don't review many picture books, so when I do, it's because I really love it. MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN is the true story of Dashrath Manjhi who spent twenty-two years carving a road through the mountain between two villages. Using nothing but a hammer and a chisel, he devoted his life to making medical care, clean water, and schools more accessible to his home village in India.
Manjhi's story is relevant on so many levels. First, the text is accessible and engaging for young readers. Older children can easily read this story on their own. Second, the illustrations are simple yet really lovely, allowing readers a glimpse into a world and culture so different than their own and yet with the human needs and emotions we all share.
Finally, in this time when diversity in children's literature is hot issue, this book perfectly fills that need. Manjhi did not live hundreds of years ago. He died only in 2007, so his story is a contemporary one. I think it is important that our children learn about people TODAY who are doing great things, who are changing the world, who are making a difference.
MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN can be used to motivate children to think of ways they can make a difference in their own families and communities. At first, Manjhi was mocked by his people, but eventually they came to appreciate and revere him. This story can also give children courage to pursue their dreams without fear of what others think of them.
This is a story that can be shared again and again, and promises to prompt many thoughtful and inspiring discussions in homes and classrooms across the nation.