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PEACE by Baptiste Paul


by Baptiste Paul & Miranda Paul ; illustrated by Estelí Meza

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-7358-4449-0
Publisher: NorthSouth

A visually splendid primer on peace.

“Peace is on purpose. / Peace is a choice. / Peace lets the smallest of us / have a voice.” In this attractive package, lyrical, rhyming text explores various forms of peace. A few usual laundry-list suspects are included: “Peace is a hello, / a smile, / a hug.” But the co-authors manage to slip in emotive twists: “Peace can be bold / or quiet and snug.” Extra attention is paid to inclusivity: “Peace is pronouncing / your friend’s name correctly. // Peace means we talk / to each other directly.” This imperative is found in the illustrations as well, in which a multiracial cast of children includes two who wear eyeglasses and one who walks with forearm crutches. Luscious scenes in warm, comforting hues show the children mixing with plump, pillowy animals in a variety of habitats (in one scene a snoozing lion acts as a literal pillow); an authors’ note takes an extra step: Peace means humans living in harmony with one another and living in balance with nature too. During war and conflict, wildlife is also affected. That note also explains that animals from Mozambique—war torn but recovering—grace the pages along with other national symbols of peace. The Pauls offer strong, bold words, hoping they’ll land in the hearts of children everywhere. The lulling text will work well to soothe young activists, but the tricky concept of peace requires an older understanding. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15.8% of actual size.)

Poignant, broad strokes invite a deep delve.

(Picture book. 3-10)