Books About Peace for Kids
Peace. It is something we all yearn for, isn’t it? We want peace for our world, for our communities, for our families and for ourselves. It seems often out of reach and yet their is hope. I am definitely approaching these reviews from a Christian perspective. The Bible teaches that we are to “Make every effort to live in peace with all men.” – Hebrews 12:14A . We are responsible for trying to live at peace with one another. That does take having peace on our own hearts. This kind of peace comes through the Holy Spirit once we are in relationship with Jesus. We are to strive for peace. However, the Bible also teaches that peace will elude this world until Jesus returns. So, while we yearn for peace and live as though we can accomplish peace, we know that it only will happen through God and not man. These book reviews, more than the others, led to some very interesting thoughts and conversation. It has been a fun journey. I have offered affiliate links within this post for your convenience.
These books are a part of my character development series. I have spent the past 2 1/2 years developing this series. It contains 52 words (one for each week of the year) with 7-9 lessons for each word. I am adding literature to my series this year. I hope you will click on or hover over my “Character Development” tab to discover more. This week we focus on PEACE.
Let There Be Peace on Earth: And Let It Begin with Me (Book & CD) – I loved the pictures in this book. They were bright and colorful and filled the entire page. This book comes with a CD. I didn’t listen to all of it, but the song can also be found on YouTube. The song lyrics are ALMOST exactly the same as the book. I wish they had been exactly the same. The book adds a bit in about us all being having “earth as our mothers.” This can quickly turn into a worship of nature, which I don’t believe in at all. I believe in worshiping God alone, and it becomes a bit more “spiritual” or new age driven when we start giving credit to “Mother Earth.” Does this mean I don’t read it to my kids? No, it means I read it WITH my kids and talk through that concept. I think this brings up great conversations they can have with me rather than being taught the concept elsewhere. I love that! I don’t shy away from moments like that. Let’s talk about who God is in that moment. Let’s take this time to speak truth into our kids. It’s good. This book also talked about how peace needs to begin with me, which I like. Of course, I explain to the kids that peace comes from the fruits of the Spirit.
Peace – This is a good book. I like how it starts macro and ends on self and then branches back out again. “There will be peace in our nations if there is peace in our cities…There will be peace in our cities if there is peace in our neighborhoods…there will be peace in our neighborhoods if there is peace in our school…” It is a really interesting way to structure our book. The rest of the book are filled with quotes, weaved in and out of a variety of drawings of scenes from around the world. These quotes are from people such as Confucius, Maya Angelo, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mendela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Walt Whitman and the list goes on and on. These are really good quotes about peace and forgiveness. Although they are not all based on scripture, there is a lot of truth written in the many quotes in this book. Again, we need to be careful about what is establishing truth and peace in our lives. I believe it comes through a relationship with Jesus. However, there is no need to dismiss the wisdom of a number of advocates of peace in our history.
A Little Peace (Barbara Kerley Photo Inspirations) – This is an National Geographic children’s book. One of the things I love about this book is the photography. There are photographs that just make you happy as you discover beauty from all around the world. The back pages have a small thumbnail of each photo with a map, description of photo and location. After reading the book, I really enjoyed heading to those pages and trying to identify the location of all the photos. This was another great opportunity to talk to my daughter (oldest was super attentive) about different people around the world and the fact that there are other religions. There was a page of Buddhist monks, so we were able to discuss a bit about what other people believe and how that contrasts with what we believe. There are only a small handful of words per page but it gives a clear message. What’s the message? It takes us to bring peace to others – through lending a hand, a smile, a kind word, and our daily interactions. I thought it was a powerful and inspiring book.
God’s Dream This book was written by Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams. The pictures are big and bold in nature. As many of these books it shows people – really kids in this case – from all different races and nations. I love those images because it is a picture of what heaven will look like. This proposes what God dreams about – caring sharing, reaching out, loving, and forgiving. It says that God does not force us to do these things, which is very true. My one complaint is that it says we are all brothers and sisters “even if we have different ways of talking to God,” showing people from all religions. I definitely think that we are all part of the human race and need to treat people of different nations, faiths, walks of life, and beliefs with respect and love. However, I think that this sentence seemed to indicate that no matter what faith, we are all talking to the same God – capital G. If you look at world religions, you will see that they vary greatly on who they think God is, how they respond to Jesus, their beliefs about heaven, hell, salvation, etc. Therefore, while we treat human beings well because they were created by God, we can’t assume that we are all praying to the same God. The Bible teaches very clearly that there are false gods out there. Knowing and putting your faith in the one true God is what gives us salvation. Our world is trying to slyly push in that all religions lead to the same God. I don’t believe that is true. I do like how they present that God’s dream is that we would learn to love one another deeply and tangibly.
Let There Be Peace: Prayers from Around the World – This book tackles the challenging idea that often times a difference of religion is what creates conflict rather than peace. Therefore, it offers prayers of different religions to teach that at the root of many religions are the same truths. While I don’t believe it is God’s hope that we war over our disagreements, I don’t want to indicate to my children that all religions hold the same truths. As I outlined in my review of the book “God’s Dream,” I don’t think that is true. While I can appreciate the thoughts of peace from around the world and other religions, I don’t want it to sneak into my children’s brains that all religions lead to the same God. I don’t want this to confuse you the reader that I think that belief should lead to the hatred you see done in the name of religion. I wish Christians would be more about what they are for (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, forgiveness, a lack of judgement of others, eternal life) than what they are against. I think that needs to be a major shift in Christianity if we are to be an example of what it means to take up our crosses and follow Jesus in humility. There were a lot of truths written in this book and I appreciate a call and prayer for peace. I just wouldn’t want it to confuse ultimate through found in the one true God. This is the one book I decided not to read to my kids because I didn’t want it to lead to confusion.
Peace on Earth: A Child’s Book of Poems and Prayers for Peace – This is a sweet little book with poems and prayers that make you think. I can imagine owning this book and reading one prayer or poem a night and discussing it. It’s not one of those books that you necessarily read front to back. It had a couple poems that were very thought provoking too. Again, it emphasizes a dream for peace. This was a more Christian based approach to the topic of peace.
Can You Say Peace? – Bright bold colors are part of what drives the enjoyment of this book. I enjoyed the illustrations. I really delighted in this book. It takes you around the world to meet different children. It introduces each one and teaches you how to say “peace” in all the different languages presented. It takes you into the heart of a child by showing you how children just want peace. Isn’t that so true? It shows that kids just want to go to school, walk freely, play outside, share food with their families and feel safe. This book made me long for peace all the more. I so look forward to the day God restores peace on this earth.
Talk Peace – Peace books seem to have a lot of bright vivid colors. It makes me happy. This book is simple and fun. It encourages you, no matter what you are doing or where you are, to talk peace. Make the focus of peace part of your everyday experience. Live it out and hope for it. It was an enjoyable little book.
Peace Begins With You – “Peace begins with you,” seems to be a common thread in a lot of these books, and I like that. I want my kids to understand that they can’t control anyone else. However, they can control how they respond, what motivates their hearts and drives their actions. I also like that this book addresses the thought that peace can be found in the busiest and loudest of places. It asks questions about how you can get peace and what to do when someone interrupts your peace because of conflict. A lot of this talk reminded me of our cooperation week, focusing on solutions for when there is disagreement. It also emphasizes that every day people make choices about peace that effect themselves and others. It talks about the challenges of that. It teaches how to be a peacemaker, which is a term I use with my kids. I think this book shows a very clear overview of peace and is fairly comprehensive in the discussion from man’s perspective – mentioning religion but keeping religious views removed. I think it is a book that would be a good outline for older kids, especially, to read. I wasn’t in love with the pictures, but that is probably a personal style preference. The illustrator obviously has a lot of talent.
The Peace Book – This book is filled with simple yet delightful illustrations that is appealing to kids. With the simple artwork also comes a number of simple “Peace is…” statements. My favorite statement had to be, “Peace is having enough pizza in the world for everyone.” I’m a pizza fan. I can’t help it. This is definitely a happy book that leaves you with a smile. It reminds me of some of the humor and artwork of some high school guy friends, so it had a little nostalgia moment taking me back to those quirky friends of mine. That was a random personal note.
Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace – I kind of fell in love with this book. It is funny. This little boy has quite a sense of humor…as does the author. It is about a little boy who sets out to bring world peace. It shows all the steps along the way, giving kids great ideas of how to start creating peace in their own relationships. It feels like a story or a journey with Paulie. His solution to world peace isn’t quite what you’d expect, but it works for me. I’ll let you discover the secret for yourselves.
What Does Peace Feel Like? – There is a sticker on the front of this book, “Buy this book and support CARE, a leader in the fight against global poverty.” I love that the purchase of this book goes to the cause it is promoting. This is a really sweet book. The pictures, again, are bold in color and look like they were done with oil pastels…that’s just a guess though. This book is actually a group of thoughts from children. It is a list of compiled ideas answering the questions, “What does peace sound like? smell like? look like? taste like? feel like?” It gives children’s answers through the writing tool of analogies and similes. I recommend this book. Even though it doesn’t give practical advice, it leaves you with good vibes about the prospect of peace.
Peace Crane – This is kind of a sad book that does bring hope in the end. It is written in memory of Sadako Sasaki who, at 2, survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima but later developed leukemia because of her exposure to radiation. In Japan, the crane symbolizes long life. Sadako folded thousands of cranes using origami in hopes to prolong her life but did eventually die. This book starts with tragedy and then the story, written from a little girls’ perspective who heard the story about Sadako, leads this girl through a dream riding on the back of a crane. The crane flies her to places to experience the beauties of the world. It takes you on a journey to where peace is experienced and gives hope that we will experience it more.
The Big Book for Peace – This is called the “big book,” and it is true. This is not a book you just sit down and read with the kids quickly. It is a volume created by more than thirty of “the best known and loved authors and illustrators of children’s books.” This book has stories, a song, pictures and poems promoting peace. It is a literary cry for peace among all people. To be honest, I didn’t have the time to sit down much with this book. It got 4 stars on Amazon with 6 reviews if you want to know more.