In recent weeks, we’ve had many requests for books about anger and fear and conflict resolution.
I was immediately reminded of an excellent resource published in 2010 called Book by Book: an Annotated Guide to Young People’s Literature with Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution Themes (Carol Spiegel, published by Educators for Social Responsibility, now called Engaging Schools).
Peace educator Carol Spiegel has gathered a useful, important, and intriguing-to-read list of 600 picture books and 300 chapter books that will spark your imagination and help you find just the right book to use in your classroom, library, or home.
As she says so well, “Stories can gently steal into the lives of young people and show the way to peace and conflict resolution. Children’s literature is rich with such tales. As an example, picture this. Annie struggles with her anger and then she hears about Sophie who gets just as angry. Annie is heartened when she learns how Sophie copies. Had someone tried to talk directly with Annie about ways to deal with anger, Annie may have been defensive. This posture was unnecessary when Sophie was being featured.”
Of course, the book Ms. Spiegel is describing is Molly Bang’s book, When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry … (and check out the 2015 book When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt).
There is an Index of Book Themes in the back matter that will help you find books with themes such as:
- Elderly, respect for
- Emotional literacy: accepting limitations and gifts
- Exploring conflict: nature of conflict, conflict styles
- Friendship, inclusion and exclusion
You’ll find good books that will be useful for your reading and discussions, such as:
- First Day in Grapes by L. King Perez, illus by Robert Casilla (Overcoming Obstacles, Bullying)
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema, illus by Leo and Diane Dillon (Listening, Rumors or Suspicion)
- Probably Still Nick Swanson by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Accepting Limitations and Gifts, Respect for Elderly or Disabled, Rumors or Suspicion)
- The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm (Bullying, Prejudice or Dislike, Nonviolent Response)
- REVOLUTION is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine (Nonviolent Response, Oppression)
In our current world, where books have a shelf life of less than five years, you may not readily find some of these books (because they were published six or seven years ago). Get the book you’re interested in on interlibrary loan from your public library, read it, consider whether it’s important to have it in your school or classroom library, and then find a used copy online.
The folks at Engaging Schools were kind enough to send me two downloadable PDFs that may help to convince you to obtain this book: Table of Contents and Supplemental Index. You can order the book from Engaging Schools online.
I hope they will update this book … it’s a critical reference in our unsettled, growing wiser, opening our minds world.
Seriously, you’ll wonder why you don’t already have this reference book on your shelf.