Jonah Winter. Peaceful Heroes. Ill. Dean Addy. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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: http://www.rwandaproject.org
· Smallest Witnesses, an online exhibition of drawings created by Sudanese children in displaced persons’ camps: http://www.ushmm.org/genocide/take_action/gallery/video/4
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.
Works of Witness: Stolen Voices
Zlata Filipović and Melanie Challenger, eds. Stolen Voices: Young People’s War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq. New York: Penguin, 2006.
This collection of war diaries gathers the writing of young people during many of the major conflicts of the past century.
Works of Witness: I never saw another butterfly
Hana Volavková, ed. I never saw another butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezín Concentration Camp, 1942–1944. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962. Second edition, New York: Schocken Books, 1993.
The poems and drawings in I never saw another butterfly were created by young inmates of Terezín Concentration Camp in Czechoslovakia from 1942 to 1944. Of the 15,000 children brought to Terezín, fewer than 100 survived.
Works of Witness: Salvaged Pages
Alexandra Zapruder, ed. Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.
This book contains selections from 14 diaries written by teenagers during the Holocaust, with biographies of each writer.
Works of Witness: The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak
Dawid Sierakowiak. The Diary of Dawid Sierakowiak: Five Notebooks from the Łódź Ghetto. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
A diary written by a teenager in the Łódź ghetto between June 1939 and April 1943; the diary includes photographs.
Works of Witness: Messages to Ground Zero
Messages to Ground Zero: Children Respond to September 11, 2001. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002.
A collection of poems, drawings, and letters from children in New York and around the world in response to the World Trade Center attacks of September 2001.
Works of Witness: Out of War
Sara Cameron. Out of War: True Stories from the Front Lines of the Children’s Movement for Peace in Colombia. New York: Scholastic, 2001.
Nine members of the Children’s Movement for Peace in Colombia share their stories.
Photos of Peace: Sharing Our Homeland
Trish Marx. Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp. Photography by Cindy Knapp. New York: Lee & Low, 2010.
Photos of Peace
These books create powerful calls for peace through still photographs, interviews, and true stories of people working for peace throughout the world. The stories here demonstrate how a spirit of sharing and compassion can help us to make peace.
Sharing Our Homeland follows one Israeli and one Palestinian child as they attend summer peace camp together.
Photos of Peace: Afghan Dreams
Tony O’Brien and Mike Sullivan. Afghan Dreams: Young Voices of Afghanistan. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008.
A collection of photographs and interviews with Afghan children, detailing their dreams for the future.
Photos of Peace: A Little Peace
Barbara Kerley. A Little Peace. Des Moines, IA: National Geographic, 2007.
Photographs from around the world are juxtaposed with a simple message about our responsibilities for making and keeping peace on the planet.
Poems of Peace and War: When the Horses Ride By
Eloise Greenfield. When the Horses Ride By: Children in the Times of War. Ill. Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: Lee & Low, 2006.
Poems of Peace and War
Poetry can help to illuminate difficult and complex ideas, and poetry on the themes of war and peace can help us to better understand the lives of those who are threatened by violence.
When The Horses Ride By is a collection of poems about children's perceptions and experiences of war, expressed from the viewpoints of youth throughout the world.
Poems of Peace and War: Music and Drum
Laura Robb. Music and Drum: Voices of War and Peace, Hope and Dreams. Ill. Debra Lill. New York: Philomel, 1997.
An anthology of more than two dozen poems by Carl Sandburg, Lucille Clifton, Eve Merriam, and others.
Poems of Peace and War: War and the Pity of War
Niel Philip, ed. War and the Pity of War. Ill. Michael McCurdy. New York: Clarion, 1998.
This illustrated anthology focuses on the waste, horror, and futility of war, as well as the nobility, courage, and sacrifice of individuals in wartime.
Poems of Peace and War: Why War is Never a Good Idea
Alice Walker. Why War is Never a Good Idea. Ill. Stefano Vitale. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
Free verse from Pulitzer Prize–winner Alice Walker describes the destructiveness and hopelessness of war, accompanied by colorful illustrations that show how war disrupts ordinary people’s lives.
Fiction that Rings True: First Come the Zebra
Lynne Barasch. First Come the Zebra. New York: Lee & Low, 2009.
Fiction that Rings True
Storytelling helps us see the human face of global problems. These works for young people demonstrate the ways in which stories and the imagination help us to empathize with people who think differently than we do. They urge us to search for peaceful courses of action, help others, and reject violence.
In First Come the Zebra, two young Kenyan boys from different tribal groups are hostile toward each other because of traditional rivalries, but when they work together to save a baby in danger, they begin to discover what they have in common.
Fiction that Rings True: Good Night, Commander
Ahmad Akbarpour. Good Night, Commander. Ill. Morteza Zahedi. Trans. Shadi Eskandani and Helen Mixter. Toronto: Groundwood, 2010.
A young boy in Iran reenacts the Iran–Iraq war of the 1980s in his room, using toy soldiers. When the boy imagines an enemy soldier who, like him, has lost his mother and his leg to war, he begins to see the war differently. Translated from Persian.
Fiction that Rings True: Silent Music
James Rumford. Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad. New York: Roaring Book, 2008.
A teenage boy in Baghdad takes comfort in his calligraphy during troubled times.
Fiction that Rings True: The Enemy
David Cali. The Enemy. Ill. Serge Bloch. New York: Schwartz & Wade, 2009.
After watching an enemy for a long time during an endless war, a soldier finally creeps out into the night to the other soldier's hole and is surprised by what he finds.
Fiction that Rings True: Not My Fault
Leif Kristiansson. Not My Fault. Ill. Dick Stenberg. Alhambra, CA: Heryin, 2006.
After a boy is bullied in the schoolyard, his classmates provide excuses for why they acted the way they did. Translated from Swedish.
Fiction that Rings True: The Golden Rule
Ilene Cooper. The Golden Rule. Ill. Gabi Swiatowska. New York: Abrams, 2007.
Grandpa explains that the golden rule is a simple statement of how to live that is worded differently but carries the same meaning across cultures and faiths. He helps his grandson figure out how to apply the rule to his own life.
Fiction that Rings True: Sami and the Time of the Troubles
Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland. Sami and the Time of the Troubles. Ill. Ted Lewin. New York: Clarion, 1992.
A young boy searches for peaceful alternatives to war during the bombing of Beirut.
Fiction that Rings True: The Story of Ferdinand
Munro Leaf. The Story of Ferdinand. Ill. Robert Lawson. New York: Viking, 1964.
Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls.
Peace Begins With Me: What Does Peace Feel Like?
Vladimir Radunsky. What Does Peace Feel Like? New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Peace Begins With Me
These books carry a simple message: every day contains an opportunity for every one of us to treat others with respect and fairness, and to experience moments of peace in the outside world and in our hearts.
What Does Peace Feel Like? employs simple texts and illustrations to portray what peace looks, sounds, tastes, feels, and smells like, quoting the words of real children around the world.
Peace Begins With Me: Peace Begins With You
Katherine Scholes. Peace Begins With You. Ill. Robert Ingpen. Boston, MA: Sierra Book Club/ Little, Brown, 1989.
This Australian picture book explains, in simple terms, the concept of peace, why conflicts occur, how they can be resolved in positive ways, and how to protect peace.
Peace Begins With Me: I Can Make a Difference
Brian Wright Edelman. I Can Make a Difference. Ill. Barry Moser. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.
An illustrated collection of stories, poems, songs, and quotes from around the world sends the message to children that they can make a difference.
Peace Begins With Me: The Big Book for Peace
Ann Durell. The Big Book for Peace. New York: Dutton, 1990.
Stories, poems and illustrations by well-known children’s authors and artists focus on peace and harmony between people living in different lands, between neighbors, between people of different ethnicities, and between brothers and sisters.
World Peace Day: Peace One Day
Jeremy Gilley. Peace One Day: The Making of World Peace Day. Ill. Karen Blessen. New York: Putnam Juvenile, 2005.
World Peace Day
is September 21
British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley helped to convince the United Nations to name a fixed day to observe and work toward peace in all nations. In the book Peace One Day, Gilley writes about working for two years to make September 21 an international day of peace.