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Children's Reading on Peace and Justice


Preschool - Grade 3


Below is our recommended children's bibliography for children from preschool through third 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  Grades 4-6   &  Grades 7-12





Peace/Conflict Resolution

Getting Along (stories and tapes)
by Children's Television Resource and Education Center, 330  Townsend St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Ten stories dealing with issues such as teasing bullying, exclusion, etc.


Rosa Parks
by Thomas Y. Crowell, 1973
Sensitive depiction of the indignities endured by African-American people in our recent past, and the quiet courage of Rosa Parks, "the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," in bravely claiming her rights.


Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Nigel Hunter, The Bookwright Press, 1986
A biography, notable because of an interesting combination of illustrations and photographs, also because it mentions King's anti-war stance.


The Sun and the Wind:  An Aesop Fable Retold
by Cornelia Lehn, Faith and Life Press, 1983
A powerful statement about the military mentality, exposing the foolishness of the arms race.

by Jane Resh Thomas, Clarion Books, 1986
Five-year-old Elliot learns something about winning, and the greater importance of trying, with the help of his grandfather.

Nobody Wants a Nuclear War
by Judith Vigna, Albert Whitman & Co., 1986
An understanding mother explains to her children that people are working toward a safe world.

Here Comes the Cat!
by Vladimir Vagin and Frank Asch, Scholastic, Inc., 1989
A delightfully illustrated story in English and Russian about expectations and unanticipated behavior of supposed enemies.

An Enchanted Hair Tale
by Alexis DeVeaux, Harper & Row, 1987
A story about being different and proud.  A boy named Suda has unusual hair that giggles, roars and sprouts wings.  Everyone makes fun of him, and Sudan feels hurt until his mother's friend and a group of people much like Sudan show him their self-confidence.







Through My Window
by Tony Bradman and Eileen Brown, Silver Burdett Company, 1986
A story about a little girl who stays home sick, with her father, and waits for her mother to come home from work.  The family is interracial, and the neighbors are of various ethnic backgrounds.

The Half-Birthday Party
by Charlotte Pomerantz, Clarion Books, 1984
When his six-month-old sister learns to stand, this six-year-old throws a party, for which guests (interracial and intergenerational) are told to bring a half-gift.



Native American

The Story of Jumping Mouse
by John Steptoe, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1984
A Native American legend, retold by John Steptoe.  It is a wonderful story of what it really means to care for others.

The Goat in the Rug
by Charles Blood and Martin Link, Parents Magazine Press, 1976
A delightful, fanciful tale told by a goat.  An interesting way to explain the Navajo art of weaving to young children.




Maria Teresa
by Mary Atkinson, Lollipop Power, 1979
After a Spanish-speaking girl moves, she has difficulty getting used to her new non-Hispanic environment.  Her puppet sheep helps her make new friends.

Yagua Days
by Cruz Martel, Dial Press, 1976
A young boy living in the U.S. goes to visit his parent's hometown in Puerto Rico.   Besides a simple description of "yagua days," the book includes good stereotype countering in terms of physical appearance.




First Pink Light
by Eloise Greenfield, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976
Greenfield and illustrator Moneta Barnett team up to present a warm, enjoyable story of a small boy's desire to stay up until his daddy gets home.  The reader can't help but be drawn into the love of the family.

Africa Dream
by Eloise Greenfield, Harper & Row, 1977
Young girl learns about her African heritage in a dream.

by Tom Feelings and Eloise Greenfield, Dial Books, 1981
Pictures of children accompanied by poem-like text that expresses their thoughts and dreams.

Jamaica's Find
by Juanita Havill, Houghton Mifflin, 1986
Picture book dealing with a common experience -- decided about returning something that has been found -- in the context of a warm, loving African American family.

What a Christmas!  The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals
by John Langstaff, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1988
Collection of traditional African American Christmas songs, accompanied by bright, colorful Christmas scenes.

Eat Up, Gemma
by Sarah Hayes, illustrated by Jan Ormerod, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1988
Bit brother solves Baby Gemma's eating problems in a delightful way.

Martin Luther King Day
by Linda Lowery, Scholastic Inc., 1987
Interesting account of the importance of the national holiday that marks Dr. King's birthday.

Jackie Robinson and the Story of All-Black Baseball
by Jim O'Connor, Rainbow House, 1989
Jackie Robinson's story is always a winner with children.  This account includes insights into racism and sports.




Jambo Means Hello:  Swahili Alphabet Book
by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings, Dial Press, 1974
Introduction to Swahili words.

Majoa Means One:  Swahili Counting Book
by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings, Dial Press, 1971
Introduction to counting from one to ten in Swahili.  The illustrations of both this book and the alphabet book are outstanding, and evoke warmth and dignity.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
by John Steptoe, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1987
Zimbabwean folktale about two sisters, one kind and the other selfish.  The pictures are outstanding.



Under the Sunday Tree
by Eloise Greenfield and Mr. Amos Ferguson, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1987
Collection of poems based on colorful lively pictures of everyday scenes in the Bahamas.   For all ages.





Ten, Nine, Eight
by Molly Bang, Greenwillow, 1983
Warm, loving father helps his daughter fall asleep.

Just Us Women
by Jeannette Caines, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982
A young girl goes on a short vacation, driving through the country with her aunt.

Grandmama's Joy
by Eloise Greenfield, Putnam, 1980
When Rhondy's grandmama is forced to move because she can no longer pay the rent, Rhondy assures her all will be well since she still has her "joy" - Rhondy.

The Handy Girls Can Fix It
by Peggy Kahn, Random House, 1984
Enjoyable tale showing the flexibility of sex roles.  Four girls set up a fix-it shop, becoming the envy of two little boys.

My Mother the Mailcarrier?
by Inez Maury, The Feminist Press, 1976
Bilingual story of the relationship between a five-year-old and her single mother.

My Mother and I Are Growing Strong!
by Inez Maury, New See Press, 1978
Creative story about a growing bond between a monther and daughter includes their continuing love for the father of the family who is in prison.

Free to Be, You and Me
by Marlo Thomas, McGraw Hill, 1974
Compilation of stories, poetry, songs, dialogues and essays is a delightful way to introduce the more serious realities of how sexism limits the development of young men and women.

Somethinig Special For Me
by Vera B. Williams, Greenwillow, 1983
Story portrays a close extended family whose small savings in a jar will provide a brithday present for the little girl.  The author attempts to make the reader sensitive to the struggles inherent in being poor, without romanticizing it.




Older People/Ageism

First Snow
by Helen Coutant, Alfred A. Knopf, 1974
Story of a Vietnamese girl's relationship with her grandmother, and the experience of her grandmother's death, is full of gentleness.

Grandma's Wheelchair
by Lorraine Henriod, Christa Chevalier, 1982
Delightful book in which the active Grandma uses her wheelchair simply as an aid for getting around.

The Crack of Dawn Walkers
by Amy Hest, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1984
Young girl and her grandfather wake up early in the morning to walk around the neighborhood, and share experiences.

by Wendy Kesselman, Harper & Row, 1980
Story of a once lonely great-grandmother who became a happy, talented artist.  When her children give her a picture of the village in the mountains where she grew up, Emma is bothered that its "not right."  She begins to paint her own memories.

The Saddest Time
by Norma Simon, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers, Whitman, 1986
Though not exactly about older people, book does deal very sensitively with the death of a beloved grandmother as well as two other situations of death in children's lives.

My Grandson Lew
by Charlotte Zolotow, Harper & Row, 1974
Lewis shares his happy memories of his grandfather with his mother - "He gave me eyehugs..."





My Friend Jacob
by Lucille Clifton, Harper & Row, 1980
Wonderful story about a mutual friendship between a young African American child and a white teenager who is mentally retarded.

My Favorite Place
by Susan Sargent and Donna Aron Wirt, Abingdon, 1983
Story of a blind girl's experiences at the ocean.


See also books for  Grades 4-6      Grades 7-12