March 19th, 2007

chaco

War and Peace

Just a note to mark an unhappy anniversary. 

Today kicks off Year #5 of the Iraq war.

(I mean, technically, shouldn't we call it the U.S.-Iraq war since we, y'know, started it?)

But semantics aside, I'm sitting here thinking about ways to recognize opportunity in the middle of the mess, how to translate some of our frustration and desolation into something productive. As parents,  teachers and children's writers, librarians and artists, what can we bring to the table that's both realistic and hopeful (since kids really deserve both)?

Well, here's a start. A Parent/Teacher Guide to Children's Books on Peace and Tolerance, by Bob Blumenthal, serves as a clearinghouse for all things righteous. 

Before you pass on account of preachiness, know that Blumenthal's annotated list includes everything from Leo Lionni's The Alphabet Tree to Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War and M.E. Kerr's Slap Your Sides

The book is divvied up by audience age but also includes a thorough subject matter index (Abuse, Bigotry, Homosexuality, Justice) making it easy to match suggestions to what kids are actually wondering or worried about.

None of this changes the fact that we're ripping off another calendar page today and finding it harder and harder to keep up with the number of dead on either side. But in the meantime, maybe we'll sleep a bit better at night if all our kids have peace as part of their lexicon, and tolerance on their lips.