“Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence is a beautifully illustrated children’s story based upon the life of a teacher of the Jain faith. With lots of bright reds, an illustrative style and child-friendly, simple-to-understand text, this book will enchant children and adults.…
“Author Manoj Jain has written previous books regarding medicine and faith. He has created an easy-to-follow story which will spark children’s curiosity, inviting them to ask questions and to think about themselves beyond their visual life, and into their spirit. He gives definitions and explanations as needed, such as the quote in the previous paragraph. The text is simple enough for a school-aged child to understand, with short sentences and brief explanations: ‘During this time the prince grew more and more generous. Each day he donated thousands of gold coins to those in need.’
“Demi, the illustrator, has created bright Eastern Art-based illustrations, with pops of gold and red, many rich colors, and designed borders. The outlined images help define the foreground objects on mostly solid color backgrounds. Children will love these eye-catching drawings and choosing their favorite animal or flower image.
“The cover defines the story well, with the title in script at the top, and Demi’s illustrations of Mahavira and animals below, showing how they are all at peace. A short explanation about Mahavira and Jains is the back copy, with another illustration below. The inside layout has text on the outer edges of the pages, with bordered illustrations on each page, or sometimes a two page spread of the illustration. The author includes on the copyright page a brief description of Jainism, which helps with the understanding of the background of Mahavira. The book as a package is easy to follow and pleasant to look at.
“Peaceful and loving, Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence, is a gracious book with exquisite illustrations, a strong story, and an important moral of nonviolence.”
—Beth VanHouten, from a review in ForeWord Reviews
“…As our world grows smaller, it is especially important to lift up the message of nonviolence from diverse perspectives. Nonviolence is not new, after all: it did not start with the Civil Rights Movement or with the birth of Jesus.
“In Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence
, Manoj Jain shares the story and spiritual teachings that are foundational to the Jain religion … Mohandas Gandhi, whose life example has inspired many peacemakers, learned a great deal from Mahavira.
“Artist Demi depicts scenes from Mahavira’s life with rich details and a vibrant color palette. Even the tiniest of animal faces seem to be full of tenderness, bringing delight to my animal-loving daughter. Her lively scenes bring a gallery of South Asian paintings into the reader’s hands.
“… For this book, the author, illustrator, and publisher worked closely with JAINA (the Federation of Jain Associations in North America). Their website has many resources for readers inspired to learn more [about Mahavira and Jainism].
“All people can learn positive lessons from Jain core teachings of nonviolence, pluralism, and non-possessiveness (avoiding greed and embracing generosity). This book will make an excellent resource for First-day school, for Friends classrooms, and for public libraries.”
—from a review by Lisa Rand in Friends Journal
“Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence
is a gorgeous, gold-framed illustrated wisdom tale of the Jainism hero of nonviolence, Mahavira … The gift of Mahavira and Jainism that is still being explored today is expressed through nonviolence bringing justice, equality, and peace to all. Mahavira the Hero of Nonviolence
is a deeply religious wisdom tale from Jainism that empowers children and adults everywhere to imagine a better world for all. The brilliant gold-framed illustrations convey the exotic Indian background to the teachings and life story of Mahavira, the Hero of Nonviolence
, a book to be enjoyed by children age 6 and up.”
, a review publication of Midwest Book Review
“Jainism may be a small in numbers, but it is one of the oldest and most influential of the world’s great faiths. Jainism was founded roughly in the same pre-Christian era when Buddhism was born (historians aren’t sure whether the founders of Jainism were exact contemporaries of “the Buddha” in India). Over the millennia, while Buddhism tended to spread far and wide, Jainism primarily remained centered in India. Some American communities today have substantial Jain communities, but because most Jain clergy remain in India, this is not a well-known faith in the U.S.
“Historians agree, though, that the Jains’ absolute commitment to nonviolence and the peaceful preservation of life influenced such modern heroes as Ghandi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This small group’s influence is far larger than its numbers.
“As a journalist covering these issues over many years, I have never seen an American children’s picture book on Jainism. Some may have been published, along the way, but I’m not aware of them. So, I consider the publication of Mahavira
a landmark in cross-cultural publishing. This is, indeed, a rare opportunity for you and your family to celebrate religious diversity in your home and community.
“What’s most important is the sheer WOW factor of opening these pages with a curious child. The book’s illustrations are colorful and are full of beautiful, exotic plants and animals. Just as important, the book does a masterful job of distilling Jainism’s complex teachings to core principles. One page summarizes three main beliefs of Jainism in just a few sentences. A journalist couldn’t have done a better job of it!
“Most of this story is short and exciting and, in this case, the real enjoyment for younger children will be the expansive illustrations. They’re delightful! I highly recommend this book for your family, school or community reading program.”
, author of Our Lent: Things We Carry
, and Editor of Read the Spirit
, an online magazine
“Mention ‘nonviolence’ and Ghandi comes immediately to mind; but this is the story of another who excelled in creating an example for a peaceful world: a young prince who became a wandering monk and led the Jain religion. Mahavira wanted a peaceful world where fear and anger were lacking. Demi, a famous illustrator, brings his story to life for ages 6 and up, enhancing a story which requires either reading skills or parental read-aloud help, but which introduces the story of the Jain belief system to a younger age range than is usual.”
—The Picturebook Shelf
, a publication of Midwest Book Review
“Mahavira’s message of compassion and nonviolence has echoed through the centuries, influencing the lives of millions both directly and indirectly. This beautiful new children’s biography of the great Jain leader, with its vividly colored illustrations and flowing text, is bound to bring his message of nonviolence to even more people today.”
, author, scholar, and educator
“Synopsis: Imagine a world where no one gets hurt, a world where no one is teased or bullied, a world where there is no fear or anger. Six centuries before the birth of Jesus, in the faraway land of India, there lived a great spiritual teacher named Mahavira (which means ‘very brave’), who imagined just such a world. He showed kindness to every living being and emphasized the practice of nonviolence, compassion, and forgiveness. The religion of Mahavira was called Jainism.
“Mahavira was born a prince, but because he had such deep love and respect for all living creatures, he renounced his wealth and power to become a wandering monk. The Jain teachings of Mahavira became very popular. He taught three important lessons: that one should have love and compassion for all living things; that one should not be too prideful of one's own point of view because the truth has many sides; and that one should not be greedy and should avoid attachment to possessions.
“Today Jainism has more than 10 million adherents throughout the world. In following the example of Mahavira, Jains practice a vegetarian diet and are committed to sound ecological and environmental practices. Mahavira's lessons on nonviolence and compassion still have a profound impact around the globe, and he is credited with influencing Mahatma Gandhi, who in turn inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Beautifully brought to life by the delicate paintings of Demi and the powerful yet simple narrative of nationally recognized writer, Manoj Jain, the story of Mahavira's life will provide a shining example of how one spiritual teacher's noble ideals can echo throughout the ages.
“Critique: Exceptionally well written and wonderfully illustrated, Mahavira: The Hero of Nonviolence
is an ideal and highly recommended addition to school (K-4) and community library Multicultural Picturebook collections for children ages 4 to 8.”
—Reviewer’s Bookwatch (Midwest Book Review)