The United Nations has defined war as any conflict in which there are more than 1000 battlefield dead. It is estimated that currently there are eleven wars going on around the world and many, many more "conflicts." However, as the following quote tells us, war is not limited to the battlefield.
" War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
War affects all of us. Currently in the United States, we have been at war with one country or another or "helping" in someone else's war for over thirty years. Our children grow up with photos of war and violence on the news daily. They see our wounded military heroes honored at football games and in Memorial Day parades.
What Does Peace Feel Like by V. Radunsky takes children's ideas of peace and turns them into similes and metaphors. Then illustrates them with bold colorful pictures that show diversity. The children were students at the Ambrit International School in Rome, mostly between the ages of 6 and 9 and represent a variety of different cultures. There is a long list of the word peace in different languages at the end of the book. This book ties in well with a five senses thematic unit.
When you hear the word PEACE what does it make you think of? Create a chart of their ideas.
What are our five senses? Do you think you could feel peace with each of your senses?
What would peace look like?
What would it taste like?
What would it smell like?
How would feel if we could touch it?
What would it sound like?
How does what we feel with our senses differ from what we feel inside?
Can what we feel with our senses change how we feel inside?
Post-Reading: Ask: How does the author say peace look, taste, sound, feel, and smell like?
Have children make their own pictures showing how peace feels, smell, looks, sounds, and smells.. These can be made into a class Big Book. Add the word peace in different languages.
Write a Sensory Poem using similes.
Peace tastes like ______
Peace smells like _____
Peace feels like ______
Peace sounds like _____
Peace looks like ______
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain This lively book helps children understand the different feelings people can have and would be a good book to read before or as part of this activity.
Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin This book is a retelling of 6th century Chinese philosopher Lao-Tse's Prayer for the World. It beautifully illustrated with pictures of people living diverse lives from all over the earth. Each page has quotes by peacemakers about peace.
One by Kathryn Otoshi Using splashes of brightly colored watercolors, Otoshi uses colors to illustrate feelings "Blue is a quiet color." And then conflict: "Yellow, Green, Purple and Orange don't like what they see." until the numbers get involved and One shows them how to get along. A simple illustration of the relationship between feelings and disagreements and what it takes to settle a conflict.
The Peace Stick by Nidhi Misra Two Native American children fight over a stick until their chief introduces the talking stick to be used to listen and respond to each other respectfully. The children then use the talking stick to settle their problem. For more about this book see A Stick for Peace.