The new year brings us a reminder of the hope for peace in the world. These books about peace remind us that peace first begins in our own heart, and then can be spread to others.
“Peace” by Wendy Anderson Halperin, 2013, Atheneum, ages 5-10.
For peace to grow, it must begin in our heart and spread through our homes, cities, country, and world. This gentle book shares words about creating peace from a wide variety of people including Martin Luther King, Jr., Roberto Clemente, Jimmy Carter, and Mother Teresa. Soft watercolor and colored pencil illustrations form an intricate collage depicting scenes of friendship among people of different backgrounds.
“The Quiet Place” by Sarah Steward, Illustrations by David Small, 2012, Farrar Straus Giroux Books, ages 6-9.
A quiet place can bring peace and comfort, and Isabel longs for both as her family moves from Mexico to America. Her story of transition, set in the 1950’s, is told through letters to her Auntie Lupita, still in Mexico. Isabel experiences a range of emotions in this new homeland and seeks a space where she can express these thoughts to her aunt. Colorful watercolor illustrations depict Isabel’s journey of immigration and discovery.
“The Forgiveness Garden” by Lauren Thompson, Illustrated by Christy Hale, 2012, Feiwel & Friends, ages 7-11.
Two enemies seek to move beyond the history of revenge, to plant the seed of friendship. This timeless story begins along a river, separating two towns and families. When a boy throws a stone across the river and hits a girl, the age-old feud reignites. The young girl seeks to break the cycle of hate and revenge by planting a forgiveness garden and inviting her enemies to join her. Readers are reminded that one small act can change the future. This touching story is inspired by the Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon.
“Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War” by Helen Frost, 2013, Farrar Straus Giroux, ages 10-14.
Peace is fragile during 1812 in the Indiana Territory, near Fort Wayne and the Miami tribe village of Kekionga. An unlikely friendship grows between two twelve year old boys, James and Anikwa, as settlers and Native Americans lay claim to the land. The boys’ story is told in verse form, alternating between each boy’s poetic voice. The author provides extra details to acquaint the reader with the historical facts and cultural details, including a map and a pronunciation guide and glossary for Miami names and words.
“Peace Warriors” by Andrea Davis Pinkney, 2013, Scholastic, 143 pages, ages 10-14.
Lasting peace requires change, and the nonviolent activists featured in “Peace Warriors” provide readers with the inspiration and courage needed to make small changes in their own lives. This biography collection is written in an informational, yet friendly style, featuring Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Mahatma Gandhi, and others who have led the way towards peaceful solutions. Color-enhanced page layouts and black and white photographs make the pages eye-appealing. Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney brings these important people to life by sharing information from their childhood through adulthood, using an enticing writing style that engages readers.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler