The Secret Kingdom (Hardcover)
NEK Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art
Candlewick Press (MA), 9780763674755, 48pp.
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
The incredible story of the world's largest visionary environment: the Rock Garden of Chandigarh, kept secret by outsider artist Nek Chand for fifteen years. After the partition of India in 1947, Nek Chand Saini settled in the city of Chandigarh, with nothing but stories brought from his homeland. Dismayed at his stark new surroundings, Nek began collecting river rocks, broken glass, and cracked water pots found on the roadside. He cleared a section of jungle and for seven years he stockpiled odds and ends. They were castoffs and rubbish to everyone else, but to Nek, they were treasures. He began to build a labyrinth of curving paths, mosaics, and repeating patterns: his very own tribute to the winding village of his youth, a hidden land of stories. Nek kept his kingdom secret for fifteen years, until a government crew stumbled upon it and sought to destroy it. But local fans agreed in awe: the Rock Garden had to be protected. Author Barb Rosenstock introduces readers to the outsider artist's stunning creation, while Claire A. Nivola's illustrations bring to life the land's natural beauty and the surreal world Nek coaxed from his wild landscape.
About the Author
Barb Rosenstock is a children's book author who loves true stories. Her work includes The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein; The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPre; and many others. Barb Rosenstock lives in Chicago. Claire A. Nivola is an award-winning artist who has written and illustrated many books for children. She is the author-illustrator of Orani: My Father's Village and Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.