Online Exhibitions

The colorful world of children’s literature has the ability to reveal what’s essential and to shed light on even the darkest experience.This exhibit features children’s books on the theme of war and peace from around the world.

Some of these books are written for children, while others contain writing by children. Some carry messages of hope, while others carry messages of sorrow. Something they all have in common is that they awaken our sense of empathy: feeling another person’s troubles and joys as if they were our own.

Our Exhibit Partners

Writing War, Writing Peace is presented in collaboration with the UA College of Education’s Worlds of Words International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature. Kathy Short, Director of Worlds of Words, selected many of these volumes and generously allowed work from her library to be displayed. Worlds of Words is a collection of 25,000 works of literature for young people, focusing on world cultures and indigenous peoples. It is the largest collection of its kind in the United States, and provides services to researchers, students and community members. For more information, visit

This exhibit also features recommendations from Bryan Davis, Youth and Holocaust Education Coordinator at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.

The Coalition for Jewish Education at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is opening a Holocaust education resource center, including a library with more than 2,000 catalogued volumes of Holocaust-related literature. The center will be open to the public in fall 2011.  For more information, contact Bryan Davis at 577-939 or

This exhibit, curated by Wendy Burk, Sarah Kortemeier, Bryan Davis, and Kathy Short, was originally presented concurrently with the traveling art exhibit Speak Peace: American Voices Respond to Vietnamese Children's Paintings. Further information about Speak Peace can be found at Writing War, Writing Peace appeared in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery of the University of Arizona Poetry Center from August 22 to September 21, 2011.

Peaceful Heroes
Peaceful Heroes by Jonah Winter
from Peaceful Heroes by Jonah Winter

Jonah Winter. Peaceful Heroes.  Ill. Dean Addy. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009.

Peaceful Heroes

These books, aimed at a variety of age groups, profile peaceful heroes from around the world. They also encourage youth to think about small and large ways that they can work for peace.

In Jonah Winter's Peaceful Heroes, illustrations and text describe peaceful heroes as those who are willing to die for a cause but are not willing to kill, including Paul Rusesabagina, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Oscar Romero, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others.

Peaceful Heroes: After Gandhi
After Gandhi by Perry Edmond O'Brien and Anne Sibley O'Brien
from After Gandhi by Perry Edmond O'Brien and Anne Sibley O'Brien

Perry Edmond O’Brien. After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance. Ill. Anne Sibley O’Brien. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2009.

O'Brien profiles fifteen activists who were inspired by the life and work of Mohandas Gandhi to use nonviolent protest as a means of bringing about social change.

Peaceful Heroes: Paths to Peace
Paths to Peace by Jane Breskin Zalben
from Paths to Peace by Jane Breskin Zalben

Jane Breskin Zalben. Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World.  New York: Dutton, 2006.

Paths to Peace presents sixteen profiles of people who have helped make the world a better place, including Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and César Chávez.

Peaceful Heroes: PeaceJam
PeaceJam by Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Gifford Engle
from PeaceJam by Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Gifford Engle

Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Gifford Engle. PeaceJam: A Billion Simple Acts of Peace. New York: Puffin Books, 2008.

This book discusses the creation of PeaceJam, a group that pairs Nobel Peace Laureates with young people around the world to address some of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. It shares the stories of eleven young men and women as they work to develop projects to spread peace in innovative ways.

Telling True Stories: The Librarian of Basra
The Librarian of Basra by Jeannette Winter
from The Librarian of Basra by Jeannette Winter

Jeanette Winter. The Librarian of Basra. New York: Harcourt, 2005.

Telling True Stories

These books use storytelling and art to narrate the real lives of people who experienced war and worked for peace.

The Librarian of Basra tells the true story of a librarian in Basra, Iraq who worked to hide and save the books under her charge as war threatened the city.

Telling True Stories: Sadako
Sadako by Eleanor Coerr and Ed Young
from Sadako by Eleanor Coerr and Ed Young

Eleanor Coerr. Sadako. Ill. Ed Young. New York: Putnam, 1993.

Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes. According to Japanese legend, by doing so a sick person will become healthy.

Telling True Stories: Hana's Suitcase
Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine Morton
from Hana's Suitcase by Karen Levine Morton

Karen Levine Morton. Hana’s Suitcase. Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 2003.                          

This book tells the story of Hana Brady, a Czech girl who died in the Holocaust, and of the curator of the Japanese Holocaust Center, who researched Hana’s story after receiving her suitcase in the mail.

Telling True Stories: Wangari's Trees of Peace
Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeannette Winter
from Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeannette Winter

Jeanette Winter. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa.  New York: Harcourt, 2008.

Wangari Maathai was shocked to see entire forests being cut down in her native country of Kenya and decided to take action, beginning with the planting of nine seedlings in her own backyard. She went on to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

Telling True Stories: Journey of Dreams
Journey of Dreams by Marge Pellegrino

Marge Pellegrino. Journey of Dreams. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2009.

In this novel, we meet Tomasa, who with her father and siblings endures a perilous journey through war-torn Guatemala in a quest to be reunited with her mother and eldest brother. This work of fiction is based on the real-life stories of refugee children that the author worked with in Tucson, Arizona.

Works of Witness: I Dream of Peace

I Dream of Peace: Images of War by Children of Former Yugoslavia.  New York:  UNICEF, 1994.

Works of Witness

Children’s wartime writing and art create powerful works of witness. Here, we include work by children advocating for peace in Colombia, children murdered in the Holocaust, and children affected by wars around the world.

Readers interested in further explorations of children’s witness literature may wish to investigate the following projects online:

· Through the Eyes of Children: The Rwanda Project, an online gallery of photos taken by young Rwandans orphaned by genocide:

· Smallest Witnesses, an online exhibition of drawings created by Sudanese children in displaced persons’ camps:

I Dream of Peace was created by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF collected drawings, letters, and poems from schools and refugee camps in former Yugoslavia. Here, children express hopes and fears in a shattered world.

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