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Rock by Rock

The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand



A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

(pub. 2.23.2021)

48 pages

Author: Jennifer Bradbury

Illustrator: Sam Boughton

Character: Nek Chand

Overview: "In the bustle of the busy streets of Chandigarh, India, Nek Chand saw something no one else did. Where others saw rocks and stones, Nek saw the boyhood village he missed so dearly. Where others saw broken plates and glass, Nek saw laughing men. And where others saw trash, Nek saw beauty.

Nek Chand’s incredible rock garden, built from stone and scraps and concrete, began as a way for him to express his long-felt grief at having to leave his boyhood village due to the violence caused by the partition of India. What began as a secret and personal project became so much more, not only to Nek but to all of India."

Tantalizing taste:

"He built and built and built. He dreamed bigger than one man could manage alone, but he was not discouraged.

He drew plans for waterfalls and streams topped with figures of the gods and goddesses that filled the stories he'd been told as a boy.

As his garden grew in secret, his heart grew fuller, happier than it had been in a long, long time. "

And something more: In A Note at the back of the book, Jennifer Bradbury explains: "I lived in Chandigarh while teaching at a local high school. One of the first places my new friends took me was Nek's garden. His art and his story captivated me. And his need to create inspired me."

From the Time Line:

"1983: Nek is awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India for distinguished service to the arts.

1990: Authorities in Chandigarh decide to build a road through the garden. A grassroots protest movement is born, and over a thousand people - many of them children- form a human chain around the garden walls to stop the bulldozers."


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