Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin
A simple poem is at the heart of this picture book about peace. Each line of the poem forms the basis of a page of the book and is also accompanied by other quotes about peace that bring a wonderful depth to the entire read. As one reads, it almost becomes a chant about peace, a reverberation of the power of peace, and when one finishes that peace lingers for a long time. When I finished the book, I immediately wanted to do two things: start all over again and also research some of the quotes and people I had never heard of before. There are quotes from all of the big names like the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King, Jr. but wonderfully, there are also quotes from others whose messages are just as powerful.
Halperin’s illustrations are detailed and wonderful. The images are bright and speak directly to the sorts of peace being discussed. In those images and in the surrounding quotes, children will see ways that they can personally work for peace on small and large levels. There is a delicacy to the illustrations that works so well with the subject matter. They are inclusive, warm and joyful.
As I was reading, I noticed a quote from Peace Pilgrim, a woman I was lucky enough to meet when she was alive. My family hosted her for a night and she spoke at a small park in rural Wisconsin on the shore of a lake. It was that sort of person being included in this book that meant so very much to me. I also think about others searching for the new people they have found in this book and discovering her.
A lovely and powerful book about peace, this belongs in every library. Appropriate for ages 7-10.
Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
The American Indian Library Association has announced the winners of their 2012 American Indian Youth Literature Award. It is their fourth set of awards which are given in the even years.
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Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex
This was not what I had been expecting from Gaiman and Rex, but sometimes surprises can be a delight. Chu is a small panda who has a very big way of sneezing. His parents are always concerned about him being about to sneeze. So when they head to the library and encounter book dust, his mother asks if he’s going to sneeze. Chu starts to “aah-aaah-Aaaah” but then “No.” When his father takes him to a restaurant with pepper in the air, he asks too. Chu goes “aah-aaah-Aaaah” but then “No” once again. When they head to the circus everyone is too busy watching the show to hear Chu say that he thinks he’s going to sneeze and what a sneeze it is!
This is the first book that Gaiman has written for such a young audience. It will be toddlers and preschoolers who adore this book and love the humor that is intrinsic in the writing and its rhythms. The better you can fake the build-up to a sneeze, the funnier the little “no” at the end is. In other words, this is a great one to read aloud.
Rex adds so much with the tight details of the world he builds here. Chu is plush and fuzzy. Whenever he starts to sneeze, his aviator glasses fall down over his eyes, adding an additional comic effect. The detail of the scenes will have children lingering over them, identifying the various animals in the pictures. Personally, the mice using the library card catalog drawers for computer use was the perfect mix of modern and retro.
A rather surprising straight-forward book from Gaiman that is a strong read aloud and filled with laughs. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.