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Activity: Identifying Conflict and Resolution in Children’s Books

The Jacket by Andrew Clements

Before you can solve a conflict, you have to recognize not only that there is a conflict, but also what type of conflict it is. Violent conflict is obvious. But sometimes the most pervasive and most difficult to see are conflicts are those that lie below the surface.

The same thing is true of the other half of conflict and resolution. It is important to know when a conflict is really solved. In the following activity, which builds on the TPN Understanding Conflict Activity, participants will read children's books, identify interpersonal conflicts, and analyze how the conflict was resolved by the characters.

Lesson: Identifying Conflict and Resolution


To practice finding conflict and resolution in books and stories and then analyzing these examples.

Grade Level All


This activity can be done with any book and should be done many times to develop skill in ferreting out how people solve conflicts. Simple picture books are the best place to start. Upper levels can then move on to analyzing short stories, scenes, or chapters in novels.


  1. Make a T chart (a large one for lower elementary, individual ones for upper levels). On one side write problem or conflict. On the other side write resolution.
  2. To demonstrate the procedure read a short picture book and fill in an example chart.
  3. Have students work in groups to identify a conflict a character has with another character, and to then analyze how the conflict is solved.
  4. Come together to categorize the types of conflicts, and then share the different ways characters in the books solved their problems. List on a large chart to use when reading other works.

Follow Up Discussion

  • What types of conflicts did the story characters have?
  • How many different ways did people resolve their conflicts?
  • How many were solved using violence? How many using peaceful methods?
  • Was avoidance, negotiation, or mediation used?
  • Did the characters compromise or come to a consensus?
  • Have you ever used any of these methods? Did they work? Was the conflict solved permanently or for only a while?
  • Can you think of better or other ways this conflict could have been solved?
  • Look over our list: What methods work, which are hard to do, and which are easy to do?
  • What is another way to resolve this conflict?


Writing: Have students rewrite the story using a different way to solve the conflict. Alternatively, they can write their own children's book about a conflict between two or more characters.

Arts: Have students act out the conflict and resolution in the books they read.

Some suggested children's books to explore.

This is Our House

Yo Yes

Enemy Pie

Roxie and the Hooligans

The Name Jar

The Jacket

The Pig War

Say Something

Do you like books with conflicts in them?

We welcome your thoughts and comments.


Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.

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