Picture Books About Peace

September 21 is International Peace Day. It is a day for people across the world to come together to explore how we can achieve peace for all. One day is not nearly enough to engage in this important conversation. Peace is a topic that should be introduced from a young age and revisited constantly in order to help us move our thinking and actions forward.

There are some wonderful picture books that explore the concept of peace, including Karen Katz’s Can You Say Peace? and Todd Parr’s The Peace Book. 

Can You Say Peace? is a simple picture book but powerful. It begins, “Today is Peace Day all around the world” and features children from many different places saying peace in their languages. The illustrations are beautiful and colorful, giving a sense of what each country is like. The illustration of the child is large-scale and sweet, allowing the reader to understand the humanity of that person.

Karen Katz wraps up the book by pointing out that all children, regardless of where they live, want the same thing, to be kids and to feel safe. This amazing picture book is accessible for very young kids. You can invite them to create their own version these pages for their own home countries, especially if they are not represented.

The Peace Book by Todd Parr is provides another great entry point into a conversation with young ones about what peace looks like in their lives. The different contexts he provides are easily relatable and introduce subtle differences among people. For example, peace is reading different types of books and listening to different types of music.

Todd Parr’s book features diverse characters, who wear different types of clothing and have different bright colored faces, characteristic of all his books. The Peace Book is yet another one of his books to successfully introduce multiculturalism and celebrate diversity in a way that is accessibly for young kids.

Both Can You Say Peace? and The Peace Book are perfect for kids ages 3-6.

Click here to purchase copies of Can You Say Peace? and The Peace Book (affiliate links).

Teaching Kids About Difference and Inclusion

No two individuals are exactly alike, nor should they try to be. It’s never too early to begin talking to kids about what makes us unique. One great way to begin to explore and celebrate difference is through reading picture books. One author who handles this topic beautifully is Todd Parr. Through simple picture books with vivid illustrations, Todd Parr explores how difference comes up in our everyday lives.

The first Todd Parr book I ever read was It’s Okay to Be Different. This is a wonderful picture book that normalizes differences. It’s a great book to explore with young readers and to ask them to think about ways people can be different from one another. (I love that includes the topic of adoption, which I don’t think comes up nearly enough in picture books.) A follow-up activity can be to ask children to consider one or two ways they are unique and to illustrate their own pages for the book.

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The Mommy Book is awesome. It describes a lot of different types of moms, from appearance to interests to types of work. It’s a book that most children will be able to relate to and to identify one or two descriptions that match their own moms.

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In a recent trip to the local Queens Public Library, I discovered It’s Okay to Make Mistakes. As a teacher, I’ve come to recognize the importance of encouraging students to take risks. This requires fostering a supportive environment in which kids feel comfortable asking questions and making mistakes to clarify and deepen understanding. In my 4th and 5th grade classes, we found age-appropriate ways to address this issue, but ideally this idea can be established from a young age. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes is a perfect book to begin doing so.

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