Today’s Perfect Picture Book debuted one month ago, on 21 September, the International Day of Peace. I think this is a perfect day to review it as the 66th annual Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony takes place in New York City this afternoon.
Title: Peace and Me
Written By: Ali Winter
Illustrated By: Mickaël EL Fathi
Publisher/Date: LantanaPublishing/September 2018
Suitable for Ages: 7-11
Themes/Topics: peace; Nobel Laureates; #NF; biography
ALFRED NOBEL invented a substance that helped countries go to war, but he is best remembered for his amazing contribution to world peace. How did this happen?
Brief Synopsis: A collection of 12 short biographies of winners of the Nobel Peace Prize of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Links to Resources:
- Complete the sentence “Peace is…” by writing or drawing what you think peace means;
- View the book trailer;
- Learn more about the Nobel Prizes and check out the teacher resources for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
Why I Like this Book:
Arranged chronologically, Peace and Me introduces children to 12 well-known and lesser-known winners of the Nobel Peace Prize from around the world. Linked together with tag lines that explore what “peace is” in the context of each winner, the one-page biographies highlight the impact the winners had on the world.
From such well-known figures as Bishop Desmond Tutu (1984 winner), whose peace includes “finding ways to forgive” and Jane Addams (1931 winner), whose peace includes “giving people the skills to thrive”, to lesser-known Fridtjof Nansen of Norway (1922 winner), whose peace is “making sure everyone has a home”, Peace and Me provides not only important biographies of peace builders but also explores the various aspects of peace their work represented.
Filled with gorgeous, full-page, vibrant collaged illustrations, Peace and Me will be a valuable resource for classrooms, libraries and home. I particularly love how each biography shows what one person can do to help the world and support an aspect of peace, and how it also encourages readers to take action to promote peace in some way. I also like that Peace and Me begins with a brief biography of Alfred Nobel and his bequest to fund Prizes, thus providing context for the biographies. The addition of a timeline, world map, and endnote summarizing what peace is and asking “What does peace mean to you?” further the impact of this timely and beautiful book.
A Note about Craft:
A compilation of 12 (really 13, including Nobel) short biographies could quickly become tedious and boring, too listy. How does Winter avoid that? I think by starting with a definition of peace, “Peace is…”, for each honoree, and then relating that definition to a particular individual, Winter draws the reader into the narrative and provides a framework for examining each person and the concept of peace.
For younger children and more visually-minded readers, EL Fathi has hidden a young girl in every illustration.
From the book jacket, Ali Winter is “an experienced anthologist and non-fiction writer from the United Kingdom”. View more of French-Moroccan illustrator EL Fathi’s work on his website.
UK-based Lantana Publishing “is a young, independent publishing house producing inclusive picture books for children.” Lantana’s books are distributed in the US and Canada by Lerner Publisher Services.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!