By Bethany Hegedus

Bethany Hegedus’ 9/11 Experience Led to Grandfather Gandhi

Posted by on Sep 11, 2016 in Book's Journey, By Bethany Hegedus | Comments Off on Bethany Hegedus’ 9/11 Experience Led to Grandfather Gandhi

Grandfather Gandhi author Bethany Hegedus talks with NBC in Austin, Texas about how her experience on 9/11 led her to meet her future co-author Arun Gandhi.

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Let’s Get Busy on Grandfather Gandhi

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in By Bethany Hegedus, By Evan Turk | Comments Off on Let’s Get Busy on Grandfather Gandhi

Matthew Winner of the Let’s Get Busy Podcast interviewed both Grandfather Gandhi author Bethany Hegedus and illustrator Evan Turk.  Listen in! You can also listen to the “Path of Peace” event from March 2014 at Books of Wonder with authors  and Bethany Hegedus and illustrator Evan Turk.  Matthew Winner moderated a discussion between them and author Ilyasah Shabazz , the daughter of Malcolm X and creator of Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm...

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Honoring 80 Years of Love and Light: Happy Birthday, Arun Gandhi

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in By Bethany Hegedus, Gandhi Family, Outreach | Comments Off on Honoring 80 Years of Love and Light: Happy Birthday, Arun Gandhi

Live in the Light: Share YOUR stories Grandfather Gandhi is a personal yet universal tale. Yes, it is about Arun Gandhi’s anger as a boy, and how he learned to use that anger to “shed light like a lamp” instead of be reactive and destructive as lightning can be, something his famous grandfather demonstrated in his non-violent teachings and ideas about passive resistance. But it is also a universal one. Librarian, Betsy Bird, in her Fuse 8 review of Grandfather Gandhi, writes this: “…Hegedus and Gandhi have formulated a much more accessible narrative. Few children can relate to having a famous relative. But what about controlling their anger in the face of injustice? What’s fascinating about this book is that the authors have taken a seemingly complex historical issue and put it into terms so child-friendly that a five-year-old could get the gist of it.” Today, Arun Gandhi turns 80 years old. In the last few weeks, there has been a secondly deadly shooting at Ft. Hood, a military base not far from where I live in Austin. There has been a lethal stabbing in a Pennsylvania high school. And yesterday, there was the murder of three at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas. Grandfather Gandhi, the book, was born out of a day of violence and destruction, 9/11. Bird, in her lengthy review ends with: “Fair play to author Bethany Hegedus for hearing him speak more than 13 years ago about this moment in his life, knowing that not only was there a picture book story to be had here, but a lesson kids today can grasp. As she says in her ‘Note from the Authors’ at the end, ‘The world we live in needs to heal – to heal from the wars that are fought, to the bullying epidemic, to mass killings by lone gunmen, to poverty, to hunger, and to issues that contribute to internal anger being outwardly expressed in violent actions.’  Gandhi’s message never grows old. Now we’ve got a  book that helps to continue his work for the youngest of readers. A necessary purchase then.” I can think of no better way to honor Arun Gandhi, 5th grandson of Mohandas K. Gandhi, than to continue his and his grandfather’s work, of helping our world heal. As I tell kids, when I am out in schools, “there wasn’t a band-aid big enough in the days after 9/11 to help our country heal,” and as I tell you know, it may have taken us twelve years to see this book through from idea to publication but we did. We chose light and we chose not to give in to the darkness. Today, tomorrow, and always you can do the same. So, I invite you, kids, adults, ALL, to wish Mr. Gandhi a happy birthday by contributing to the light and helping our world heal, in whatever way calls to you. You can publicly take the Live Your Life as Light pledge, you can download copies of the pledge and share with friends, family, and community groups. You can donate a copy of Grandfather Gandhi to a school, public library, group home, hospital, prison,or  institution of your choosing. AND you can email us at livelifeaslight AT  with YOUR STORIES of choosing the light: sharing stories of small and large scale activism, of forgiving yourself and others, of finding your own unique tools and talents, you can share a story about someone who has made a difference in your life, you can share a page from you anger journal, you can sit down with your parents, or...

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Qlovi Welcomes Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Appearances, By Arun Gandhi, By Bethany Hegedus, Outreach, School Visits | Comments Off on Qlovi Welcomes Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

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Rwandan Reconciliation: Seeking and Granting Pardon

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in By Bethany Hegedus | Comments Off on Rwandan Reconciliation: Seeking and Granting Pardon

This weekend the New York Times ran a piece, Portraits of Reconciliation, showing photos of perpetrators and victims of the Rwandan genocide together. These words stopped me cold: MUKAMUSONI: “He killed my child, then he came to ask me pardon. I immediately granted it to him because he did not do it by himself — he was haunted by the devil. I was pleased by the way he testified to the crime instead of keeping it in hiding, because it hurts if someone keeps hiding a crime he committed against you. Before, when I had not yet granted him pardon, he could not come close to me. I treated him like my enemy. But now, I would rather treat him like my own child.”   The painful peace and hard earned forgiveness of the perpetrators and those that have granted pardon are evident. If Rwandans are brave enough to forgive the genocide…can’t we all forgive? It’s also evident that in talking to their victims and owning up to their “evil deeds” the perpetrators are able to begin to forgive themselves as well. Arresting...

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An Open Book Foundation: A Book for Every Child

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Appearances, By Bethany Hegedus, Outreach, School Visits | Comments Off on An Open Book Foundation: A Book for Every Child

It’s an author’s dream to do a school visit and have each and every child in the audience that day leave with a signed copy. Not only is it an author’s dream, more importantly it’s a child’s dream. And An Open Book Foundation makes dreams come true for kids, for educators and for authors.  Their mission: “to promote literacy among disadvantaged children and teens in the greater Washington, D.C. area by giving books to students and schools and providing access to authors and illustrators.” Dara La Porte, founder of An Open Book Foundation, saw the inequity in the schools and kids who got to welcome authors, whether in-house or at indie bookstores such as the wonderful Politics & Prose, where she once worked and she decided to do something about it. Knowing every child deserves a home library, with special books made even more special with author and illustrator signatures, she got to work raising money, writing grants, and getting the books into the hands of eager readers.  She welcomed me to the DC area, escorting me from my hotel to Graham Road Elementary in Falls Church Virginia, with Aino Askaagar, and 12o copies of Grandfather Gandhi to give out to the awaiting students.   I was thrilled to see the awaiting stack of books, and even more thrilled to get to present to the kids. At school visits, we talk not only about the book, but also about becoming an author. We talk about drafting, ideas and I  even admit my revision times. (Which are usually the age of the kids or older. Grandfather Gandhi took 8 years to revise and 12 before it hit the shelves!) Then we get down to Gandhi. It’s surprising how many students today aren’t familiar with Gandhi and his work. I begin by talking to the kids about what they do know–that he is a leader, from India. Students may know he worked to free India from British rule. I ask who else the British once owned and when the answer is “US” as in U.S. or us, we go on to compare the Boston Tea Party to Gandhi’s Salt March and the idea that though he wanted freedom, he didn’t want to fight for it, but to rather use his words as weapons, creating lasting change. After a reading of Grandfather Gandhi we discuss the themes and visual aspect of the book. This is always eye-opening for me as the kids in attendance bring new insights and questions to the discussion. Every school visit is joyful, as I love inspiring kids to read, but it is especially meaningful to me to have deep discussions with kids about anger and violence and how we can choose to act rather than react. Even though their grandfather isn’t a Gandhi, kids relate to the pressure to live up to family ideals, they relate to being shoved on the soccer field, and they relate to feeling “other” as Arun does on the ashram, and they relate to Arun’s hidden shame. The interesting thing is when we talk about our shame and our anger, it often disappears. And what we are left with is connection and all of us feeling and trying to better ourselves. Thank you to the students at Graham Road Elementary for welcoming me, for participating in the discussion of transforming our anger from lightning to lamp, and for cherishing the donated books that Dara and the others at An Open Book Foundation work so hard to bring you. “The students were really engaged and I loved the fact that the presentation was directly...

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