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.
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.
“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
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
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
This summer, deeply troubling stories about migrants and refugees at the US-Mexican border have come to us in newspaper stories, recordings, photographs, and videos. In choosing to separate children from their parents, our government has shown a disturbing lack of empathy for people fleeing violence and turmoil in their home countries. It is our hope that these picture books will help foster empathy and shed light on the complex issues of migration for young readers, while giving a sense of the courage, resilience, and humanity behind each journey.… more
Once in awhile I find a book on my reading pile that I’ve passed by a few times. It might be that the cover doesn’t make sense to me and I shuffle through to choose another title. Or the title might be silly (in my mind) and I don’t open the book because something else catches my interest. And then one day I open that book and I discover that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.… more