This past week has been particularly hard. The idea of peace in this world seems distant and hopeless. I found myself lurching inside when my oldest asked me what the word execution meant. We try to keep the television off. We try to filter the news they receive.
I know that I cannot protect them from the world forever, so I must use this time to plant as many seeds of hope as possible. And I think that is why we kept talking about the one message from Lao Tzu that was quoted in more than one book we read last week
The idea of peace in the world may seems overwhelming, but if we break it down to the smaller parts, then we can begin to once again envision peace.
This week we certainly took a more global look at peace, and next week I am excited to share a post of books to talk to kids about peace in the home and the heart.
14. Children's World Atlas
by DK Publishing- We started by purchasing from Little Shop of Stories
a Children's World Atlas. They were lovely enough to order several for me to choose from, which was so helpful compared to shopping online. I choose this atlas because it also includes an updated compact disc that has digital maps and statistics about the countries around the world. I had been meaning to get an atlas for a while because every time my oldest asks where a country is located she only ends up confused by my explanation of the country's location. This makes any news discussion at dinner very cumbersome. Therefore, we have kept this book on the coffee table. Why include this book in a series about peace?
If there is to be peace in the world, we need to have a better understanding about our fellow Earthly inhabitants.
I am always amazed how clueless adults can be in relation to geography. My hope is that this book lets her see how we share this world with a whole lot of other individuals. It's a great big Earth, and we are only a small part of it.
I have two gripes about this atlas now that we have been using it for a couple of days. The first is that with the way the maps are printed and the binding, some major cities get lost, in particular Atlanta. The second gripe is that they never have a map of the whole United States of America, instead they show in a series of maps by region. This feels disjointed when you are trying to show your child how far she lives from her cousins. Aside from those two items, the book is beautiful and provides lots of helpful information for children interested in geography.
15. Black Fella White Fella
by Neil Murray and illustrated by students from schools around Australia. My dear friend gave this book to me as a gift several years ago. This book brings our stories about peace all the way to Australia. This story is built from the lyrics of a song, an anthem performed by the Warumpi Band. It is profound, beautiful, and amazingly poignant at this moment in time. "Are you the one that is going to stand up and be counted?" the lyrics ask.
If there is to peace in the world, we must stand up and be counted.
The message screams out for us to see each other as family and treat each other with respect. Take a moment, you won't regret it, to watch the video from the book launch for this children's book.
This is my favorite illustration in the book. The text on this page reads, "It doesn't matter which religion/ It's all the same when the ship is sinking." Isn't that the truth?
16. Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
by Jeanette Winter. Imagine leaving to attend college only to come home to discover your once lush homeland has become a barren wasteland.
For Wangari, this was the reality she discovered when she returned to her Kenyan home. She was determined to undo the damage that deforestation had caused, and she began planting one tree at a time.
If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace for our Earth.
Her determination worked. Women joined with her, and together they stood up and were counted. This army of women planted millions of trees. Wangari's Green Belt Movement earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. This book beautifully tells this story, showing how one person truly can make a difference. I will be sad to return this book to the library.
There is also the book Seeds of Change
about Wangari. Check out this review from Seeds of Change. The book looks enchanting
17. Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela
by Yona Seldis McDonough and illustrated by Malcah Seldis. I purchased this book from The Book Worm in Powder Springs
. It is an autobiography of Nelson Mandela that is technically geared towards 6-10 years old children. I think it would be better suited for an older reader because of the length of the text and the descriptions of his life events. I've done some research and think that I will try to reserve Nelson Mandela
by Kadir Nelson, which looks like it might be better suited for the ages of my daughters. Regardless of the book we read, I firmly believe that any discussion about peace must include dialogue about Nelson Mandela's magnificent life.
If there is to be peace in the world, we must learn to find forgiveness.
Nelson Mandela's ability to forgive his advisories and work with them to achieve peace continues to be inspiring.
“Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.”
18. Waiting for the Owl's Call (Tales of the World)
by Gloria Whelan. This is a haunting story told from the first person perspective of eight-year-old Zulviya, who must work long hours next to her sister and mother weaving rugs by hand. Despite her inability to go to school or play as a child should, she weaves dreams in her mind to pass the time. Imagining this young girl, almost the same age as my oldest, in Afghanistan being forced to hard labor was humbling. The beautiful prose told the story of child labor in a way that was both powerful and and something a child could relate to.
If there is to be peace in the world, we first must begin with the children.
19. Who Was the Woman Who Wore the Hat?
by Nancy Patz. This book is so simple in concept, focusing on imagining who the woman was that wore a hat seen on display at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. The author ponders if she took cream in her coffee, what she was like, who were her children, and so many other characteristics that make the idea of this far off person someone not to different from yourself. The illustrations are subtle and matte tones, and their subdued nature invites you in to ponder who the woman was without being loud or forceful. This book is important for a discussion of peace because we must be able to relate to those that are in pain and suffering. Mother Teresa once said, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." I believe this to be true. If there is to be peace in the world, we must believe that we belong to each other.
Seeing yourself in the shoes of another woman, wearing something simple like a hat, makes what happened during the holocaust less of a history lesson and more of a human tragedy. The beauty of this picture book is that the superficial nature of the text allows a broad range of readers to pull from it what they are developmentally ready to understand.
20. The Hundred Dresses
by Eleanor Estes and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. This
classic book brings our journey and discussion of books about peace to the neighborhood. If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors.
For Wanda Petronski, she does not find peace in her neighborhood as the other girls tease and taunt her for her plain dress. This Polish girl in a Connecticut school experiences teasing, bullying and the timeless desire to just want to below. The book won a Newbery Honor in 1945, but still remains relevant today. It was the perfect book to read to a daughter seeking to find peace on the playground.
21. Jubilee!: One Man's Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace
by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Matt Tavares. Published in 2014, this is one of the newest books about peace we have read. I had never heard of this tremendous event that occurred following the civil war to celebrate the peace in our country prior to reading this book. What an amazing story of one man's journey to celebrate the beauty of peace! I cannot express how much I enjoyed this non-fiction selection. We borrowed it from the library, but I will add it to our to-buy list. You will cheer this unsung hero of our early American history after reading about Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore's amazing life.
If there is to be peace in the world, we must share the music within our hearts.
Make sure to check out Part 1and Part 2 of this series.
Check back next week as we continue our journey reading #30booksforpeace as we look towards ways of finding inner peace.