On the International Day of Peace, observed every year on September 21, explore the themes of community, tolerance, and citizenship with these books:

 

All the World
By: Liz Scanlon
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
Age Level: 6-9
Follow a multicultural family and their circle of friends throughout the day as they frolic at the beach, visit a farmer’s market, play in a musical jam and retire to a quite night at home. This endearing book, filled with beautiful illustrations and soothing rhymes, celebrates the connections between families, friends and the larger community.

By Day, By Night
By: Amy Gibson
Illustrated by: Meilo So
Age level: 3-6
Children around the world have much in common, from what is done to the way we feel. Gently rhyming text and energetic watercolors present children from around the world engaging in everyday activities until evening until a new day begins.

Dog and Bear: Two’s Company
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Age Level: 3-6
Even the best of friends sometimes have problems they must work out. And it’s true for Dog and Bear, the best friends who can get angry but get over it. Simply crafted illustrations are the perfect complement to the uncomplicated text.

Goal!
By: Sean Taylor
Photographs by: Caio Vilela
Ages 6-9
From Brazil to New Zealand to the U.S., India, Ghana and more, “Where there’s a ball, there will always be someone who wants to play soccer.” Crisp photographs of children playing soccer around the world and brief, informative text demonstrate that soccer is indeed a universal language. Additional information about soccer in individual countries is included on each spread.

The Lion and the Mouse
By: Jerry Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
The well-known fable about how the smallest creature — a mouse — saves the majestic lion is a tale of kindness returned. Here it is effectively recast as a wordless story in a new setting. Stunning illustrations are expressive and emotive, evoking Africa’s Serengeti while retaining the tale’s power.

Little Humans
By: Brandon Stanton
Age level 3-6
Color photographs of children, “Little humans [who] can do BIG things…” and who get back up even if they fall. The portraits show children of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds accompanied by a poetic text, together emphasizing the commonalities among children.

A Little Peace
By: Barbara Kerley
Age Level: 6-9
All it takes is… one hand/one smile/a single voice… to achieve it; and children everywhere can “spread a little peace.” Full color photographs taken around the world (and sourced at the end) along with a note from the president of the U.S. Institute of Peace concludes this exceptional concept book.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
By: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Age Level: 6-9
Martin Luther King Jr. grew up fascinated by big words. He would later go on to use these words to inspire a nation and call people to action. In this award-winning book, powerful portraits of King show how he used words, not weapons, to fight injustice.

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
Kate Smith Milway
Illustrated by: Eugenie Fernandes
Age Level: 6-9
This fictionalized story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana, who changes his world with a small loan and one hen, is based on a real person. Kwabena Darko lives in West Africa and started a system of micro-loans in villages that would not otherwise have access. Additional resources and sources for further information allow readers to find out more.

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace
By: James Proimos
Age Level: 6-9
Paulie Pastrami is just a kid, and a kid who even has trouble getting his socks to match. But Paulie has big plans. In order to achieve his plan of world peace, Paulie begins with small kindnesses which are sure to grow. Bold, comic illustrations complement this recognizable, winning, and empowering story.

The Peace Book
By: Todd Parr
Age Level: 3-6
For children, the concept of peace can be a difficult one to understand, and Parr makes an admirable attempt to explain it. He relates the notion to making new friends, listening to different kinds of music, and helping your neighbor. Where he stretches it a bit is with sentiments such as, “Peace is wishing on a star” or “…watching it snow,” even if the images are tranquil. Bright primary colors and bold black outlines define cartoonlike characters (animal and human) with smiling features. A helpful and engaging book that’s sure to spark discussion. [School Library Journal]

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangara Maathai
Claire Nivola
Age Level: 6-9
Wangari Maathai’s native Kenya was a changed land, literally blowing away because its trees and growth had been destroyed. Rather than complain, she started a reforestation effort for which she was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Handsome illustrations combine with crisp text to tell the story of one person’s impact.

Stone Soup
Jon J Muth
Age Level: 6-9
A traditional tale has set in China as three Zen monks come to a remote village where residents are wary of strangers. The villagers gradually add ingredients to the initial soup the monks begin from a stone, building a community feast. Radiant illustrations successfully recast the tale.

The Story of Ferdinand
By: Munro Leaf
Illustrated by: Robert Lawson
A true classic with a timeless message, The Story of Ferdinand has enchanted readers since it was first published in 1936. All the other bulls would run and jump and butt their heads together. But Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. And he does just that, until the day a bumblebee and some men from the Madrid bullfights give gentle Ferdinand a chance to be the most ferocious star of the corrida—and the most unexpected comic hero. [Good Reads]

The Wall
By: Eve Bunting, Ronald Himler
Illustrated by: Ronald Himler, Eve Bunting
Age Level: 6-9
A boy describes the trip he takes with his father to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Together, they look for the name of his grandfather, who died before he was born.

We March
By: Shane Evans
Age Level: 3-6
Two children aroused by their parents join a march for equal rights. Short sentences and semi-abstract illustrations convey the children’s evolving feelings as they join scores of others in what adults recognize as an historic march for civil rights.

Zen Shorts
By: Jon J Muth
Age Level: 6-9
One rainy day, Stillwater, a panda, shows up at the home of three siblings. The short (Zen) stories he tells reveal wisdom to each child. Illustrations for the stories within the story are done in black and white while the children’s world is more detailed watercolor.

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