Three Lines in a Circle

Lifelong Learners: Adults on the Rug

After four years of columns on picture books as tools to build peace, we are bringing this chapter of the story to a close. We have enjoyed our time reflecting in community, and we are deeply grateful for your readership and engagement.
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I Talk Like a River

Finding Peace in Our Bodies

When we build peace with kids, it helps to be explicit about our bodies as tools for peace. We can model, teach, and practice embodiment tools with kids that support a peaceful and regulated nervous system, so they are capable of being brave and kind.
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Maybe Something Beautiful

Creating Kind Communities

We explore community building through Higher Ground, with special emphasis on the power of kindness. Together, how can adults and children create genuine community in our schools and beyond?
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The Year We Learned to Fly

Finding Higher Ground through Peacebuilding

We explore the meaning of peacebuilding and what the infrastructure for peace can look like in one classroom and throughout a school. We also suggest a picture book and a book for the “adult on the rug,” both of which explore the deep concept of peacebuilding,
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Be You!

Finding Higher Ground

In this article and the next three articles to come, we will explore paths to peace and peacebuilding in classrooms and schools through the lens of Higher Ground and the power of story and art.
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Big Worries in Little Bodies

It can be easy to dismiss the worries of a child, but to that child, they may feel consuming. When we do not name and talk about our anxieties, or when we do share them and they are discounted, shame around them can grow.
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The Other Side

Compassionate Listening Deconstructs Fences

Caren: When my daugh­ter Beth was four­teen, she trav­eled with a small exchange group of teens to Poland where she would live with a cou­ple and their teen daugh­ter in a small vil­lage. In a true exchange, the Pol­ish teens then trav­eled to Min­neso­ta for a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence. Nei­ther group spoke the other’s lan­guage. Recent­ly, while clean­ing out box­es, I found a reflec­tion Beth wrote of that experience: The Pol­ish kids taught me one of the most valu­able lessons I have ever learned; the pow­er of a smile … I thought that to cre­ate the iron strong bonds of friend­ship, a com­mon lan­guage was essen­tial.
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Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed

Tiny Steps Toward Peace

When I say the word Peacemaker, who is the first person that comes to mind? It is so important to teach children about famous peacemakers but if we only teach about folks who have become larger than life, children may put peacemaking on a pedestal that seems unattainable for themselves.
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The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden

Finding Peace While Grieving

Some days are tough. During this COVID-19 pandemic, our children face plenty of challenges. Loss of playground time. Loss of playdates. Changes in school routines. Changes in home routines. These days, children may need more time alone on a “peace blanket” to grieve their former lives. The rest of us may need the same.
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Fry Bread

The Alchemy of Fry Bread

Bread brings people together. The ingredients in bread are so elemental. When combined with love, they nourish and sustain a people. At the center of a gathering, at the center of a culture is a foundational grain that sustains life—naan, tortilla, rice, ugali, injera, and fry bread to name a few. Food, then, is a bridge between worlds.
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Eco-Peace: Reimagining the Possibility

Part of our work as peace­mak­ers is to prop­er­ly sit­u­ate our­selves in a web of life. We are crea­tures in a vast, bril­liant and com­plex ecosys­tem called not to dom­i­nate, but to live with in har­mo­nious rela­tion­ship. Chil­dren often seem nat­u­ral­ly drawn to ani­mals and nature, with an inher­ent abil­i­ty to walk gen­tly on the green earth. As they grow, there are many won­der­ful books to nur­ture their instincts toward eco­log­i­cal peace.
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Each Kindness

The Kindness Factor

As we write this article, we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and a consequential election season. Both events ask us to address big, core questions: What kind of people do we want to be? How do we resolve our conflicts?
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Red A Crayon Story

Naming Your Labels

Living from a Place of Inner Peace
Ellie: Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Sto­ry is the tale of a blue cray­on with a red label. The cray­on was not very good at being red. He couldn’t draw straw­ber­ries or work with yel­low to draw an orange. Every­one tried to help. Even scis­sors and sharp­en­ers made snips and tucks to see if chang­ing him would help.
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Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights

No Justice. [No Action.] No Peace.

Caren: “No jus­tice. No peace.” This sum­mer, mil­lions of peo­ple – young, old and from all back­grounds — protest­ed police bru­tal­i­ty and sys­temic racism, all dur­ing an his­toric pan­dem­ic. Ellie Rosch­er and I live in Min­neapo­lis, Min­neso­ta, not far from where George Floyd was mur­dered by a Min­neapo­lis police offi­cer and close to the epi­cen­ter of march­es and protests.… more
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A Bowl Full of Peace

War and Peace

What hap­pened to me must nev­er hap­pen to you.” Caren: Those were the first words Sachiko Yasui, a Nagasa­ki atom­ic bomb sur­vivor, told me as we began our work togeth­er writ­ing her sto­ry. On August 9, 1945, at 11:02, six-year-old Sachiko was play­ing out­side with her friends, mak­ing mud dumplings, when the sec­ond atom­ic bomb of World War II explod­ed over her city of Nagasa­ki.… more
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Sofia Valdez: Future Prez

Compassion and Empathy in Peace-making

One of the activities I do with young people is called speed dating. It’s an empathy building exercise because, I have found, we actually have to practice talking to each other and really listening.
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A Map into the World

Peace and the Sense of Belonging

Caren: “More Togeth­er than Alone,” 
Peace and the Sense of Belonging
Home. Com­mu­ni­ty. A sense of belong­ing. Don’t we all long for love and con­nec­tion? And when the anchored sense of belong­ing dis­ap­pears, we spot it — on the drawn face of a child alone on a play­ground or on an elder­ly face of some­one alone on a park bench. Haven’t we all felt that moment of dis­lo­cat­ed lone­li­ness?… more
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Knowing Your Past to Make Peace

Wel­come to Peace-olo­gy. We are two children’s authors team­ing up to review children’s books with peace in mind.  Ellie: The oth­er day, I looked over the shoul­der of my five-year-old to see what he was draw­ing. There was the Ire­land flag on the left, the Nor­way flag on the right, and he was fin­ish­ing the Unit­ed States flag in the mid­dle.… more
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Reading Books Through the Lens of Peace

Wel­come to Peace-olo­gy. We are two children’s authors team­ing up to review children’s books with peace in mind.  Caren: After all our inter­views for our book Sachiko: A Nagasa­ki Bomb Survivor’s Sto­ry, I asked the book’s inspi­ra­tion, peace edu­ca­tor Sachiko Yasui, if she had any last words she would like to share with children. Sachiko’s response was to think about this: What is peace?more
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