I Speak Peace, by Kate Carroll/Illustrated by Rainer M. Osinger, (March 2016, Ferne Press), $10.95, ISBN: 978-1-938326-46-2
I Speak Peace is a message to all from a first grade teacher who promotes peace, respect, and understanding in her classroom and wants to see that good in the world. The story is narrated by a young blond girl who talks about what peace means, and emphasizes that peace starts from within – “a feeling we have when we are calm and happy” – and how those feelings affect our outlook and how we work with others. Letting go of angry thoughts and mindful breathing come up here, teaching kids the importance of staying in touch with their own feelings. We live in a world where we may look different, speak different languages, and hold different beliefs, but we have just as much in common: we all need love; we all want to be happy; we all live on this planet, and we all need to work together to make it a better place. Kate Carroll promotes different ways of spreading peace that kids will easily recognize: smiling and listening to others; standing up for others; and being considerate are messages kids learn in their homes and classrooms, and go a long way toward making the world a better place. It’s an upbeat, positive message and it’s not that hard a message to spread. An author’s note explains how author Kate Carroll promotes peace in her classroom, and how she was moved to share her message in this contentious, high-strife society today. Kids can take a Peacemaker Pledge (nice library or classroom idea) and an original song, Peace Begins with Me, rounds out the book.
The artwork features children from different cultures and with different abilities working and playing together. The art is bright and positive, with primary colors and full-bleed pages.
I Speak Peace emphasizes an important message and makes for a good classroom, storytime, or cuddle time readaloud. I really like the Peacemaker Pledge and may put that up in my children’s room at the library at the start of the school year. You can visit Kate Carroll’s I Speak Peace page to learn more about the author and contribute your own I Speak Peace stories.