Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Peace Book

Title: The Peace Book
Author: Todd Parr
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Purchase: "The Peace Book"
Download an Activity! "The Peace Book" Activity
About the Author: Todd Parr

The Peace Book
by Todd Parr is a children's book with a unique, creative approach for teachers and parents to use as an introduction about peace, multiculturalism, and acceptance. This picture book can teach children about the importance of respecting others and "being a good citizen" in their classrooms, at home, and their lives. The Peace Book is a wonderful tool that successfully describes the topics of peace, unity, respect, and sharing in terms children can grasp.

"Peace is making new friends, Peace is saying sorry when you hurt someone." In the first four pages alone, such wisdom is accompanied by fun, colorful illustrations that resemble the artwork of first graders which make the book valid and relevant in the eyes of children. Drawings showing children sitting at a table, eating different foods and the words "peace is sharing a meal" teach readers that sitting down for dinner with family or friends builds a sense of unity. Another page tells readers that "peace is learning another language" and encourages children to talk to their peers about their various languages and cultures. These simple statements can assist in teaching children to embrace each others' cultures.

The Peace Book represents the element of respect because Todd Parr uses vivid colors to bring together a collection of ideas about peace and its varying definitions. Each page shows a sentence about peace and brings it to the level of young children by presenting vibrant, attention-grabbing illustrations.
The Peace Book helps children learn about and discuss the different languages they speak, different clothes they wear, and even the different music they listen to--a concept that will help young children become open-minded. This book also represents respect for others in regards to manners: "peace is offering a hug to a friend". Children learn to listen and act with kindness, respect, and consideration.

In my classroom, The Peace Book would be read aloud and students will be asked to list all the unique things about themselves, their cultural backgrounds, languages they speak, etc. Then students will share their lists in groups of four. This activity will help create awareness about diversity, tolerance, and different cultures and backgrounds. Children will be able to learn the importance of having respect for one another and practicing peace and tolerance regardless of their different cultures. For more:"The Peace Book" Lesson Plan

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