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Children's Reading on Peace and Justice


Grade 7-12


Below is our recommended children's bibliography for children from seventh through twelfth grade. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  We have concentrated on books published since 1983; however, we do have some older titles, especially those we consider near-classics.  We hope these suggestions will be helpful to you.  See also reading lists for   Preschool - Grade 3  &   Grades 4-6




Peace/Conflict Resolution

The Power of the People:  Active Non-violence in the United States
by Robert Cooney and Helen Michalowski, Peace Press, 1979
Well-researched chronology with many photos and illustrations documenting the organized struggle by peace leaders against war, and an examination of their influence.

Behind Barbed Wire
by Daniel S. Davis, Dutton, 1982
Book describes the life of Japanese Americans who were interred during World War II.   Illustrated with photos.

The Hundredth Monkey
by Ken Keyes, Jr., Vision Books, 1982
Good presentation, based on statistics and analogies, of the nuclear arms race and possibilities for change (some figures are out of date).

Never to Forget
by Milton Meltzer, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1976
Introduction to understanding what happened in the Holocaust.  This book includes information from newspapers, as well as personal accounts to give a picture of life in Germany during World War II.

Ain't Gonna Study War No More
by Milton Meltzer, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985
History of civil disobedience, examining theories, thoughts, and actions of generations of heroes who bravely rejected all violence, or participation in wars they considered unjust.

The War Between the Classes
by Gloria D. Miklowitz, Delacorte Press, 1985
In a school experiment called "the Color Game," students change social classes and follow new rules that reverse their roles.  Amy, who is from a traditional Japanese family, finds herself questioning the abuse, based on social , ethnic and sexist prejudice, which she has seen and tolerated in her life outside the game.

An Outbreak of Peace
by Sarah Pirtle, New Society Publishers, 1987
Small group of teenagers organize to hold a display of peace-art, and involve an entire community in a struggle for peace.

Leaving Point
by Betty Vander Els, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1987
In the 1950's, Ruth, a  14-year-old living in a missionary compound in China, becomes friends with Chuin-mei, a young revolutionary.  The relationship causes Ruth's family problems, and puts Chuin-mein in danger.  But through it, Ruth comes to understand the conflict between commitment and individuality.

Looking the Tiger in the Eye
by Carl B. Feldbaum and Ronald J. Bee, Harper & Row, 1988
Chronicle of the scientific and political events leading up to the development of the first atomic bomb is geared toward increasing understanding of our current nuclear position.

Running Before the Wind
by Linda Woolverton, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987
Teenage girl struggles to deal with physical abuse, and her own ability to solve problems.





Native American

Love Medicine
by Louise Erdich, Holt, Reinhart, and Winston, 1984
Story of the lives of two Chippewa families during a 50-year period.

Barefoot a Thousand Miles
by Patsey Gray, Walker, 1984
Gives a good introduction to the White Mountain Apache people while telling an interesting story.



The Hispanic Americans
by Milton Meltzer, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1982
Meltzer chronicles the history and culture of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans in the U.S.


African American

Junius Over Far
by Virginia Hamilton, Harper & Row, 1985
Wonderful story about Black male relationships, set in the West Indies.

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush
by Virginia Hamilton, Philomel Books, 1982
14-year-old Tree, resentful of her working mother who leaves her in charge of her mentally retarded brother, encounters the ghost of her dead uncle and comes to a deeper understanding of her family's problems.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor, Dial Books, 1976
Let the Circle Be Unbroken
by Mildred D. Taylor, Dial Books, 1981
Two compelling books by an outstanding author chronicle the story of the Logan family during the Depression--near classics.

On Fire
by Ouida Sebestyen, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1985
Tough and realistic exploration of racist behavior...a sure discussion starter.

by Walter Dean Myers, Harper & Row, 1988
Story of young adolescents and the violence of gangs and weapons--a telling portrayal of courage and friendship.



The Boy Child Is Dying
by Judy Boppell Peace, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1986
Narrative look into personal experiences with apartheid in South Africa.

Somehow Tenderness Survives:  Stories of Southern Africa
selected by Hazel Rochman, Harper & Row, 1988
The spirit and pain of this part of the world is movingly portrayed in this anthology.


Central American

Children of the Volcano
by Allison Acker, Between the Lines Press, 1986
Collection of conversations with children and teenagers in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.  The author explains the history of each country, and points out the confusion and destruction caused by violence, imperialism, sexism, and racism.



The Serpent's Children
by Lawrence Yep, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1984
Story of an unconventional brother and sister, who live in a very traditional Chinese village.  They put aside their differences to work together and resist the actions of relatives, who don't understand the children's individuality.

Linking Our Lives:  Chinese American Women of Los Angeles
Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 1984
The uniqueness of Chinese American women is celebrated in a way that also provides a good general history of the area.




In Kindling Flame:  The Story of Hannah Senesh
by Linda Atkinson, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1985
Biography of a Jewish poet and resistance fighter during the Nazi era.

I'm Not Your Other Half
by Caroline B. Cooney, Pacer Books (Putnam), 1984
Adolescent girl struggles to balance her own needs and interests with beginning relationships with boyfriends.  The central character crosses traditional sex-role barriers in a variety of ways.

Like Mother, Like Daughter
by Marion DanBauer, Clarion Books, 1985
Tired of the "warm and caring" attitude of her mother, Leslie resolves to be more like Ms. Perl, the "intelligent, attractive and tough" new advisor of the school newspaper.

Wise Child
by Monica Furlong, Alfred A. Knopf, 1987
When 9-year-old Wise Child is abandoned by both her parents, the only person who will take care of her is Juniper, a strange woman who lives alone.  Taking place in a village in Scotland 1000 years ago, the story tells of an early struggle between tradition and individuality.

Granddaughters of Cora
by Marilyn Anderson & Jonathan Garlock, Curbstone Press, 1988
Beautiful photographs enhance these accounts of the lives of resilient Guatemalan women.



See also reading lists for Preschool - Grade 3 & Grades 4-6