The recent announcement of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner and the simultaneous sadness of war and destruction in Aleppo made me think about what messages of hope and peace we are sending to our children. It's very easy to appear stressed and overwhelmed, particularly while keeping up with the news and the election. I know I am guilty of responding to the news too often in front of my kids. Yet we also have the opportunity as teachers and parents to display the role as one of a change agent. I'm doing my best to focus on my own impact but it doesn't feel easy and I can get bogged down in the age of overwhelming social media.
As one way to remind myself of the good in the world, I complied a list of picture books on the topic of the peace and the Nobel Peace Prize. I hope that you are able to share some of these stories and glimmers of hope with your children and students. What are some of your favorite books that share a message of peace?
Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize Stories by Kathy-jo Wargin is an absolutely fascinating book about how the Nobel Peace Prize was founded. Like most truly moving life stories, it begins with heartbreak and how Alfred chose to turn tragedy and loss into inspiration.
The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone - This book is the biography of Jane Addams, a true hero in the social work world. As a wealthy woman, Addams chose to live with the poor and founded the Hull House in Chicago. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. The book is beautifully illustrated and a great addition to any aspiring activist's bookshelf.
Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli - Wangari Maathai won the Peace Prize in 2004 for her environmental and political work in Africa. The book has bright, bold images that are capitivating and tells Maathai's story through poetic verse.
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters by Barack H. Obama - Obama won the peace prize in 2009 for his work to strengthen international diplomacy. The picture book is written in the form of a letter to his daughters and tells the story of many American leaders who have shown strength and perseverance.
Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Abouraya tells Malala's ever-inspring story of bravery and strength. After suffering an attack from the Taliban, Yousafzai continues her work to advocate for girls and children's right to education.
Mother Teresa by Demi tells the story of the nun through intricate paint and gold-plated illustrations. The author of The Empty Pot shares Mother Teresa's story and biography including prayers and quotes from the nun.