The United Nations International Day of Peace is September 21, and Prescott Public Library has a lot of good picture books that can help convey dimensions of peace to readers and listeners of all ages. Following is a sample of great choices. As always,librarians are eager to offer guidance in selecting a title that suits your needs.
Year of the Jungle by Collins, Suzanne (2013). Drawing on her own experiences as a child, The Hunger Games author has created a picture book depicting the confusion and disruption that a child endures when her parent goes off to war. Suzy spends her year in first grade waiting for her father, who is serving in Vietnam, and when the postcards stop coming she worries that he will never make it home.
The Butter Battle Book by Seuss (1984). The late, great Dr. Seuss offers a parable that portrays the absurdity of an escalating arms race that begins with a disagreement over – of all things – the “correct” way to butter toast. Consequently, the Yooks and the Zooks develop more and more sophisticated weaponry as they attempt to outdo each other.
Why War is Never a Good Idea by Walker, Alice (2007). The author of the adult novel The Color Purple employs simple, rhythmic text to explore the wanton disregard for the world through destruction of beautiful things and beings, all in the name of war.
The Peace Book by Parr, Todd (2004). Through his inimitable, bold paintings and simple text, Parr brings the concept of “peace” down to earth, describing it in such simple acts as making new friends, sharing a meal, feeling good about yourself, and more.
The Enemy: A Book About Peace by Cali, Davide (2009). After watching an enemy for a very long time during an endless war, a soldier finally creeps out into the night to the other man’s hole and is surprised by what he finds there.
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow = Sabaku ni saita himawari by Lee-Tai, Amy (2006). While she and her family are interned at Topaz Relocation Center during World War II, Mari gradually adjusts as she enrolls in an art class, makes a friend, plants sunflowers and waits for them to grow. Parallel text in English and in Japanese.
Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Hendrix, John (2014). In 1914 France, a British soldier writes to his mother about the strange events of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when German and Allied soldiers met on neutral ground to share songs, food, and fun. Based on actual events, the book includes historical notes and glossary.
Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Myers, Walter Dean (2001). A frightened American soldier faces combat in the lush forests of Vietnam.
Sadako by Coerr, Eleanor (1993). Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes to verify the legend that by doing so a sick person will become healthy.
The Secret Project by Winter, Jonah (2017). Through simple, forceful text and graphics depicting the contrast between the starkly beautiful New Mexican desert and the furtive mission of the world’s greatest scientists, Winter offers a compelling perspective on the race to develop the atomic bomb.
Peace by Halperin, Wendy Anderson (2013). Based on the Eastern philosophies of the Tao Te Ching, a lyrical picture book explores the eternal question of how to promote world peace and shares inspiring quotes from famous peacemakers while counseling readers on how to find peace within oneself.