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The Peace Book

My preschooler and I are huge fans of Todd Parr. I bought The Peace Book for her when she was just a newborn and we have read it over and over again since.

The pictures, like the pictures in all of Parr’s books, drew her in when she was a tiny thing. They are simple, but bright and colorful, and very child-friendly. From creatures to people, beings are always accepted no matter how they look—and each and every one looks every different. Brown, yellow, black, red—some of Parr’s people are even blue or green! Everyone you meet is a friend in Parr’s world.

The Peace Book is unique from other books about peace because it reveals a peaceful world from a child’s view. Instead of talking of war and guns, Parr describes some simple things that kids can really do to create a peace—from “listening to different kinds of music” (appreciating cultural diversity) to “keeping someone warm” (caring for others) to “keeping the water blue for all the fish” (teaching environmentalism and empathy for animals), peace means more than nonviolence—peace is a way of life.

The book leaves plenty of room for parental discussion as well. For example, after reading about keeping the water blue, we can ponder, “Now how can we keep the water blue?” My preschooler will tell you by not throwing your trash in the lake! From there you can have a discussion about ways to protect fish, teach some vocabulary (habitat, environment, ecosystem, etc.), and even get creative. Have your child paint a picture of a clean ocean filled with fish; ask what kind of fish she or he has painted. You just might meet the rare “ballerina fish.”

You can also start a peace project of your own, using Parr’s book as a guide. Use paper and crayons, markers, paint, or found objects and ask your child to create a “peaceful world” through a drawing, painting or collage. If your child is older, maybe he or she could create his or her own book about what peace means. Talk about what peace means to you. Have other important adult figures, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles, share what their views of peace are.

This book is both an enjoyable read as well as an excellent teaching tool. Both boys and girls will enjoy the pictures as well as the simple descriptions of peace.