Book Review: Peace
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
· Wendy Anderson Halperin
by Ross Brand
Published: March 1, 2013
“How can we bring peace to the world?” In her new picture book, Peace, artist Wendy Anderson Halperin ponders this question posed in the classical Chinese text Tao Te Ching. Halperin keeps her text minimal and chooses instead to offer suggestions to this eternal question through her illustrations.
The book opens with a double-page spread of Earth as seen from outer space and the phrase “For there to be peace in the world...” On the next spread, Halperin completes the previous line with “... there must be peace in nations.” She continues with this narrative structure, narrowing in on cities, neighborhoods, schools and so on until concluding that peace in all of these larger sections of society can only be achieved if there is “peace in our hearts.”
Throughout the book, Halperin also includes quotes from various celebrated peacemakers from history ("All works of love are works of peace." - Mother Theresa) and from different parts of the globe (“One minute of patience, ten years of peace.” - Greek Proverb). She uses many of her watercolor vignettes to exemplify these quotes, but Halperin also includes original illustrations showing what peace looks like in our interactions with each other and with nature. The middle double-page spread also includes drawings from real elementary-age school children.
Peace is a wonderful choice for independent readers and artists who will enjoy studying and revisiting the many different detailed illustrations. Also, the many quotes and famous names included in the book could serve as good starting points for research projects or further learning opportunities in the classroom setting. Who were these people, and what did they do in their lifetimes to work toward peace? What can we learn from them? Students could try coming up with their own unique quotes about peace, or they might even follow Halperin’s example: choose one of the quotes from the book and use drawings to illustrate the meaning of the quote. If you’re interested, Halperin herself offers some interesting resources, activity ideas, and galleries for students’ creations at the website www.drawingchildrenintopeace.com.