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by Lauren Thompson & illustrated by Christy Hale

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-62599-3
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Two villages separated by a stream and a history of anger wonder if they will ever stop fighting.

Cleverly based on the Sanskrit words for “us” and “them” the two fictional villages of Vayam and Gamte have hated each other for a long time. One day, during a particularly violent argument, a Gamte boy named Karune throws a large stone across the stream and hits a Vayam girl named Sama on the head. The Gamte side cheers, while the Vayam side plots revenge. Karune is held captive, and the villagers give Sama the same large stone to hurl back at him. But Sama can’t do it. Instead, she places the stone on the ground and suggests they use it to build a garden wall. She calls it a forgiveness garden. Peace isn’t restored instantaneously; there are still many questions: “If we forgive, must we forget all that has happened?” “Must we apologize?” True to life, there are no definitive answers—just simply sit in the garden and find out. Hale’s textured collages contain commonplace landscapes and silhouetted crowds, cloaking this parable in anonymity. An afterword by the Rev. Lyndon Harris explains the real Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon.

There are many possible paths to peace, but learning forgiveness is essential to all of them, as this book demonstrates. (Picture book. 5-8)