Who doesn’t like peace? Well, current events say, a lot of people. Therefore, I think we should bombard them with these two books. Walking Toward Peace: The True Story of a Brave Woman Called Peace Pilgrim by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Annie Bowler; and Three Lines in a Circle: The Exciting Life of the Peace Symbol by Michael G. Long and illustrated by Carlos Velez.
Why should we? Because both talk about how bada$$ peace is!
Peace Pilgrim was a woman of means. She had money, was a socialite, all the latest fashions; but realized she was not fulfilled, and was upset about the events of the time. She left that life behind, and with only a few things to her name (one a shirt with pockets) off she went to spread the word of peace. She walked. And walked. And walked. Stopping to rest in someone’s barn, or under the stars. Making friends wherever she went, and occasionally relying on them for help (food, a place to stay). She would go through around 30 pairs of shoes during her treks. She would talk to small groups, large groups, or a few people, all with the same message. Peace. Bowler’s art is a combination of fanciful, simple and detailed. It has good color, but nothing overwhelming. It keeps things centered and moves the story along. A lot is going on and a good introduction to someone I had never heard of but want to learn more.
When I read Three Lines in a Circle I was blown away by the fact that the peace symbol is only around 65 years old. In the late 1950s an artist put a line to the left, a line to the right and a one in the middle, surrounded by a circle. Boom! And a symbol that would explode around the world, which started off as a representation of nuclear disarmament, became a universal symbol of peace, love, inclusion and so much more. From Civil Rights, to GLBTQ+ rights, to environmental issues, to stopping war, a little thing became a big deal. The story itself is a bit political and somewhat a bit preachy at times, yet the poetic presentation of the ideals works. There is a fun connection with the story and the afterwards (which has the information I wanted/was assuming the book would be about) of how some felt this symbol would not take off (and then again, some thought television wouldn’t be a big deal either).
Overall, two different stories, but with a connection of theme, allowed me to get something different on the reading pile, that was historical, education and fun. The ages vary, just know your reader, but both picture books could work for adults as well.