Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Book Review - "One Peace"

Share |

I attended a CANSCAIP meeting last night (I’ll talk about CANSCAIP in a future blog). Writer and illustrator, Janet Wilson was the guest speaker. I have to say, right off the top, that I am a huge fan of Janet’s. I was privileged to have her do the cover illustrations for my Our Canadian Girl series of books (Penguin Canada). I even bought one of the original cover paintings which hangs on my dining room wall and is admired by everyone. Last night at CANSCAIP, Janet was speaking about her new book, "One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists" (Orca Book Publishers, 2008). I bought a book after the meeting and I haven’t stopped looking through it.

“Children don’t start wars,” Janet writes in one of the opening pages. “Can children start peace?” With this simple question the author documents the contributions of young activists who are striving for peace in the world and who believe that children are the key to achieving it. Included in this beautiful picture book are the contributions of young people like Canadian Craig Kielburger, who began the organization know as Free the Children, and Sonia Azad from the UK who, since the age of 7, has been protesting against war and has helped found an organization called Children Against the War. In addition to their accomplishments, the book is filled with inspirational quotes from these young peacemakers. Here are just a couple of them:

“Every day, I will do one thing to make peace grow like a flower. Every day, I will spend five minutes reflecting peacefully. I will help landmine survivors. I will care for and not destroy the environment. I will try to solve arguments without violence.” Song Kosal, age 13, Cambodia

“We can’t change the whole world alone, but if I can teach people that if you put your hand in mine and little by little we join more hands, maybe we can construct a new world.” Farlis Calle, age 15, Columbia

The illustrations that Janet has created are stunning – stirring accompaniments to her text.

This book really speaks to me and applies to the message that I strive to deliver in my writing. Every time I talk in schools and libraries about my stories on the lives of Holocaust survivors, I challenge young people to think about who they want to be in the world that they are a part of forming. They can choose to take a stand against bullies and those who would seek to harm others. The mistakes of the past – the mistakes that we made – need not be their mistakes. They can and must do it better. "One Peace" takes that message to a whole new level.

At this time of year, with everything going on in the world, this book is a must have for educators, parents, and of course, for children.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Kathy Kacer

Kathy Kacer is an award-winning children's author whose focus is historical fiction and true stories about the Holocaust. Her many books include The Secret of Gabi's Dresser, Clara's War, The Underground Reporters, Hiding Edith and The Diary of Laura's Twin.

Go to Kathy Kacer’s Author Page