Picture Books at the Peace Study Center
Baskwill, Jane. If Peace Is.. Mondo, 2003.
A simple, rhyming text and bold illustrations by Stephanie Carter introduce young listeners to ideas about peace. Available in used copies only and at Peace Study Center.
Beckwith, Kathy. Playing War. Tilbury House, 2005.
Four boys like to divide up into soldiers and enemies and play war but when a new boy, Sameer, tells of losing his family in a real war, they feel differently about their game. Available in new and used copies.
Haan, Amanda. I Call My Hand Gentle. Viking, 2003.
With bold and abstract images of many types of hands, this first time author/illustrator team uses a female narrator to describe how her hands are special and how she chooses to have them do productive and gentle things. The book does convey the ways in which a child should NOT use hands. Best used for reading aloud. Available in new and used hardback editions.
Lobel, Anita. Potatoes, Potatoes. Greenwillow, 2004.
Two brothers are lured by the possibility of fame and glory and decide to become the commanders of opposing armies even as their clever mother disapproves of their choices and sets up a plan to bring peace. After the brothers lead their soldiers to war and end up in their mother’s garden, they learn that family and food are more important than fighting. This book tackles the topic of war in a fable form. The art has small cross-hatch patterns and color washes to soften the powerful message. Best read with adult and child or with older youth who have the maturity to analyze the message. Available in a variety of editions.
McKee, David. Tusk Tusk. Andersen Press, 2006.
After the white elephants and the black elephants go to war over their differences and kill each other off, eventually the gray descendants of the peaceful elephants emerge, only to eventually find new differences to set them against each other. The simple and bold artwork makes this powerful theme within the grasp of younger readers; however, this book needs discussion and follow-up time. Available in new and used paperback editions. Take a look at other titles by this British author/illustrator such as Three Monsters and The Conquerors.
Payne, Lauren Murphy. We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices. Free Spirit, 1997.
This simple introduction to social relationships can be used to assist teachers and families with dialogue about peaceful choices and to provide a common language to continue those discussions during difficult times. Written in the first person, the topics include sharing, working together and solving differences. The colorful borders may inspire some art projects by the students who hear or read this book with a partner. Take a look at other titles by this publisher.Available in new and used paperback and use hardback editions.
Johnson, D.B. Eddie’s Kingdom. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
Colored pencil and pastels are used to create cartoon-like illustrations that depict a boy who draws a picture of his apartment building neighbors, showing that they are always fighting and yelling at each other. His art helps the adults see themselves differently. It is Eddie’s art that breaks down barriers and begins the path to harmony. Available in new and used copies.
Parr, Todd. The Peace Book. Little, Brown, 2005.
Accessible to the youngest listeners, this book features a different definition of peace on each page such as offering a hug to a friend, keeping the streets clean and even wishing on a star. The last message (“Peace is being who you are”) is shared with Parr’s usual multicultural mix of blue, green, brown, yellow, and purple faces. Take a look at his other picture books for use with family themes. Available in new and used hardback copies.
Katz, Karen. Can You Say Peace? Holt, 2006.
To celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21, consider this bright picture book in folk-art style, which shows preschoolers in various countries around the world who call for peace. On each double-page spread is a brightly painted collage of different lands such as the U.S., Mexico and India; opposite is a portrait of one child, accompanied by her name, and the word for peace in her language. Available in new and used hardback copies.
Thomas, Shelley Moore. Somewhere Today: A Book of Peace.Whitman, 2002.
For adults who want to inspire educators and stimulate children’s imaginations, try reading aloud this picture book portrayal of peace which describes examples of peaceful actions accompanied by candid photographs of folks involved in carrying out the actions. Examples include a doctor caring for an infant, a boy teaching his sister to ride a bike, two children visiting an elderly woman and reading a book about peace. Available in new and used hardback and used paperback editions.
Scholes, Katherine. Peace Begins With You. Little, Brown, 1994.
This classic picture book for young readers and listeners works well to introduce the topic of peace in a classroom setting. It offers a wide view of the meaning of peace with soft and realistic illustrations for younger listeners. Available in new and used copies.
Radunsky, Vladimir. What Does Peace Feel Like? Atheneum, 2003.
A boldly designed picture book combines playful gouache double-page paintings with quotes from grade-schoolers at an international school in Rome. Enjoy learning how to say peace in dozens of languages with this simple and gentle book for young listeners. Teachers might use this title to inspire peace writings with similes and metaphors. Available in new and used hardback editions.
For Teen and Adult Readers
McCarthy, Colman. I’d Rather Teach Peace. Orbis, 2002.
“This title is a running account of some of McCarthy’s experiences at the various places he’s taught peace. Three features make the book especially worthwhile. The first is McCarthy’s wonderfully flowing style. Reading his prose is like having a conversation with a person who loves words and people. The second is McCarthy’s reflections on peace and peacemaking, and why so few folks in this country take either very seriously. But the third feature–and, for my money, the heart of the book–is the story of McCarthy’s adventures in the classroom, chatting with kids about peace, overcoming their resistance, learning from their experiences, challenging them to think outside the box. McCarthy clearly teaches peacemaking as a way of life, not merely a cessation of war, and one of the first conditions is that his students begin to ask themselves some tough questions about how and why they value what they do. In reading his accounts, we find ourselves in the classroom with him and his students.” Review by Kerry Walters via Amazon.com website.
Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission
to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time. Penguin pb, 2007.
Follow the journey of this young mountain climber as he decides to dedicate his life to building schools in Pakistan andAfghanistan. Mortenson and friends believe that the answer to finding peace is in education, especially for young women in theMiddle East. Available in hardback and paperback. This book has 349 pages of drama, passion and life-changing views on ways we can change the world.
Hunt, Scott. The Future of Peace: On the Front Lines with the World’s
Great Peacemakers. HarperOne, 2004.
In an eye-opening journey around the world, Scott A. Hunt allows his readers to come face to face with true heroes through informal interviews. Some of his peacemakers include the Dalai Lama; the famed dissident of Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the activist who brought peace to Latin America, Oscar Arias of Costa Rica. These peacemakers share their historic struggles and show readers how to find optimism in the face of pain and compassion in the place of animosity. Available in new and used paperback editions.
Wood, John. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey
to Educate the World’s Children. Collins, 2006.
This memoir of sorts tells the true story of John Wood’s struggle to find a meaningful outlet for his strong business skills. “For every high-achiever who has ever wondered what life might be like giving back, Wood offers a vivid, emotional, and absorbing tale of how to take the lessons learned at a hard-charging company like Microsoft and apply them to one of the world’s most pressing problems: the lack of basic literacy.” (from book jacket)
Breslin, Jane. Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World. Dutton, 2006.
This beautifully designed collective biography highlights 16 individuals who have worked to improve conditions for others through their life choices. Read about writers, philosophers, Civil Rights advocates, and politicians such as John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, and Elie Wiesel along with lesser known names. This book could be read aloud to audiences from ages 8 to 88! It could be used for research with students in grades 4 and up. Available in new and used hardback copies.
Demi. Gandhi. Margaret McElderry, 2001.
This picture book portrait of Gandhi features gold borders and accents, splashes of brilliant color and intricate details reminiscent of Demi’s other books. “With their fine balance of simplicity and elegance, the paintings gracefully reflect their subject.” Demi includes all of the major events in the life of the peacemaker, including his early shyness and struggles in school. For ages 6 and up. Available in new and used hardback editions. Be sure to look at other children’s biographies by Demi, with subjects such as Dalai Lama, Muhammad, Jesus and Mother Teresa.
Gilley, Jeremy. Peace One Day. Putnam, 2005.
This richly illustrated book tells the true story of a young British filmmaker’s quest to create an International Day of Peace. He approached the United Nations to ask for Sept. 21 as one day when all nations would resist violence. After two years of struggle and documentation of his travels, Gilley succeeded in having Peace One Day proclaimed by the UN. See his DVD for more information. Try this book with middle school youth or as a book club selection. Available in new and used hardback copies.
Shetterly, Robert. Americans Who Tell the Truth. Dutton. 2005.
This famed illustrator introduces 50 Americans who dedicated and even risked their lives to tell their truth. The portraits of each person add a powerful visual element to the short biographies and quotes. Examples of persons included in this book are Dwight D. Eisenhower, Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Chief Joseph, Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry Thoreau, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Helen Keller, John Muir, Woody Guthrie, Rachel Carson, and Rosa Parks. The exhibit of his work has been traveling around America for a number of years and not without controversy! Available in new and used hardcover copies.
Simon, Charnon. Jane Addams: Pioneer Social Worker. Children’s Press, 1998.
This paperback edition is for elementary grade readers. It includes a basic overview of the important events in the life of Addams with plenty of photos and illustrations. Available new and used in the paperback edition.
Professional and curriculum resources
Brody, Ed, Jay Goldspinner and Katie Green. Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope.
Stories, Storytelling and Activities for Peace, Justice and the
Environment. New Society Publishers, 2002.
This second edition provides 29 stories from around the world with themes of conflict resolution, compassion and care of the earth and its creatures. Each story is followed by activities, exercises, tips and related resources. Available in new and used copies.
Cowhey, Mary. Black Ants and Buddhists. Stenhouse, 2006.
This practical yet powerful narrative provides readers with a peek into the diverse first grade classroom of Ms. Cowhey. Her commitment to social justice and meeting the many learning styles of her students will inspire educators to share this book with others and implement some of her methods. Available in new paperback edition. Buy two because you will give your copy away!
Weber, Chris. Nurturing the Peacemakers in Our Students: A Guide to Writing
and Speaking Out about Issues of War and of Peace. Heinemann, 2006.
Educator and writer, Weber offers middle and high school teachers some fresh ideas to inspire and nurture the peacemakers among their students by showing them how adolescents have experienced war. Be sure to look at the list of resources for involving youth in peacemaking around the world. Available in new and used hardback copies.
Hewitt, Deborah and Sandra Heidemann. The Optimistic Classroom: Creative
Ways to Give Children Hope. Redleaf, 1998.
These educators draw upon research on resiliency and share ten strengths to allow children to cope with stress: self-esteem, competence, feelings, empathy, perseverance, responsibility, cause and effect, reframing, problem solving, optimism and hope. This book includes over 70 easy and practical ideas for educators of young children. Available in new and used copies.
Lantieri, Linda and Janet Patti. Waging Peace in our Schools. Beacon Press,
These two educational activists have worked with the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program and share their approach to mediation in this book along with some background on the RCC Program. They emphasize the belief that we must educate the heart as well as the mind. Available in new and used copies.
Rice, Judith. The Kindness Curriculum. Redleaf Press, 1995.
This title is a collection of lesson plans for young children on themes of love, empathy, gentleness, respect, visualization, self-control, friendship, conflict resolution. The authors taught in the Early Childhood Education Program of St. Paul, MN for ten years. Available in new and used copies.
Storytelling Resources on the Internet
International Storytelling Center
The International Storytelling Center is dedicated to improving the lives of people around the world through the power of storytelling.
The International Storytelling Center inspires and empowers people around the world to capture and tell their stories, listen to the stories of others, and use storytelling to produce positive change. For, through the power of storytelling, we can build a better world, healthier communities, more effective workplaces and schools of learning, and enriched human life.
Healing Story Alliance
The Healing Story Alliance Special Interest Group is a part of the National Storytelling Network. Their purpose is to explore and promote the use of storytelling in healing.
National Storytelling Network
NSN is a member driven organization, with the Board elected by members from seven regions across America. It offers direct services, publications and educational opportunities to several thousand individuals, local storytelling guilds and associations. These services are designed to improve the quality of storytelling at all levels – in entertainment venues, in classrooms, organizations, medical fields and wherever storytelling can make a contribution to quality of life.