Ferndale Library Staff Recommends: Jillean's Picks

Head of Youth Services Jillean McCommons props Peace with this week's picks - from a cute vegetable-themed allegorical picture book to the biography of Alfred Nobel. Peace on Earth (through books!).

Hello again, from your local library. The Ferndale Public Library was recently honored/humbled to have received a $1500 grant from Peace Action of Michigan.

This generous gift allowed us to expand our materials (for adults and children, on Book, CD, DVD and Audiobook), dealing with various peace issues.  

With the Holidays approaching, our hearts and minds long for not just a little, but a lot of peace-on-Earth (and an equal share of good will towards all). To commemorate that sentiment, and the donations of Peace Action of Michigan, Youth Services Librarian Jillean McCommons has picked her preferred Peace books for your own perusing.

Jillean's Peace Picks

By Jillean McCommons

These are my favorite books about peace from a collection we recently purchased thanks to a grant provided by Peace Action of Michigan.

The Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli
In 1988, Jane Bregoli moved to Dartmouth, Massachusetts where she met Noelie Houle, an elderly goat farmer born in 1899. The author painted portraits of Noelie that later appeared in an exhibit in the town library. This is picture book based on Noelie's life and the paintings by Bregoli that helped to render Noelie in an endearing light to her community. The best part of the story is that the children are the first to cross barriers in befriending Noelie, who was often criticized by the adults in the community for her lifestyle. We find out in the author's notes at the end of the book that Noelie gave goats to the Heifer Project International, a non-profit organization that helps family around the world move towards self-reliance through the use of livestock. 

What Does Peace Feel Like? by V. Radunsky
This is one of my favorite author/illustrators. In fact, I did a project on him in graduate school because of his delight in the abstract and his sometimes off-the-wall take on childhood and important global issues (he wrote a book called Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed On a War). So, I was delighted to see another book by him on the subject of peace. Radunsky lets children answer questions he poses about peace. What does peace smell like? "Like a bouquet of flowers in a happy family's living room...like fresh and new furniture...like wind that comes in your nose when you are sleeping...like fresh air that makes you want to go out and sleep in the sun...like pizza with onions and sausage that just came out of the oven." 

We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin by Larry Dane Brimner
Do you know the link between Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? It's a man by the name of Bayard Rustin. It was Rustin who shared Gandhi's teachings on nonviolence with Dr. King. Rustin became an activist early in his life and was largely responsible for coordinating the 1963 march on Washington, D.C. for freedom and jobs. It's hard to find information on Rustin for a younger audience so I was happy to add this book to the collection. Rustin played a major role in the civil rights movement yet he is probably the biggest unsung hero of that time. This biography would make for a great conversation starter on youth activism, the civil rights movement, protest culture and, as older students delve deeper in Rustin's life, issues of race and sexuality in the 1960s. 

Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin
Alfred Noble created something that would later be used to bring about the exact opposite of what he intended. This is a great story for discussing how fortune can be turned into misfortune and then turned back into something fortuitous. It's a cautionary tale for sure, but if ever there was a way to talk about the challenges faced with bringing about peace in the face of war, beginning with the story behind the Nobel Peace Prize would be an excellent place to start.

Peas on Earth
 by Todd Doodler

This is the cutest board book I've seen in a while. It takes a bite (pun intended) out of a serious subject and makes it suitable for a very young audience. Peace starts with being kind to one another and the earth. Unlike the other titles that focus more on human relationships, this one brings care for the environment in as an important aspect of peace. Books that get kids to appreciate vegetables a little more are always a good idea too.

So, give peas a chance!

Ferndale Patch thanks Jeff Milo and Jillean McCommons at the Ferndale Public Library for contributing to Patch! Check back soon for more ideas from library staff. Are you looking for recommendations on something specific? Email jessica.schrader@patch.com, and we'll pass on your questions to the library.

Jim Corcoran December 03, 2012 at 03:42 PM
A Holiday Thought... Aren't humans amazing? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and then plead for "Peace on Earth." ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald's Factory Farm by C. David Coates~ _____________ Anyone can break this cycle of violence! Everyone has the power to choose compassion! Please visit these websites to align your core values with life affirming choices: http://veganvideo.org & http://tryveg.com


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