The Book That Made Me: David Almond 20/03/19
Gita: The Battle of the Worlds
Publisher: Harper Collins
When Dev's father dies, he lashes out at those he loves. But then he meets Sanjay: a sprite-like being who claims there is a battle raging inside Dev's body, between good and evil.
This unusual and captivating story, with cartoon-like artwork, is based around the sacred Hindu epic Mahabharata.
However, the authors of Gita make this retelling a more universal affair. Any child who has grieved or felt anxious – regardless of religion – will understand the gentle symbolism at play. The premise is similar to the Pixar film, Inside Out, where emotions take on physical form. While that movie went inside the mind of a child, here (with the help of Sanjay) we journey within Dev’s body and discover dark realms and wicked warriors.
The book focuses on tactics to help Dev control his difficult emotions and win the inner war: breathwork, meditation, mindfulness. These mental health tools are gently and subtly explored, and give a sense that even the darkest of times can be overcome; hope will triumph over despair.
All of this makes Gita sound rather serious, though – it's also a great adventurous romp, full of water worlds and lands of fire!