3 out of 4 stars
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In a world where situations can so easily steal one’s peace, children often struggle to cope with life’s challenges, be it a sick friend, fighting parents, or conflict between peers. I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn aims to show children that peace is all around you - you need only to know how to look.
I Can See Peace begins by introducing readers to several children finding peace in nature and in various activities that bring them joy. Each new child depicted shows first how they find peace in the world around them, and then, when it is taken away from them, how they once again manage to regain that peace. Following the story are six pages full of valuable resources for parents and teachers of young children. In these pages, the author offers many examples of activities, games, and even field trips that afford opportunities for children to seek, recognise, give, and celebrate peace. The words and sheet music to the song ‘I Smile at Myself’ are also given, along with the link to a website where readers can find the album ‘Songs for Peace’.
Each page comprises of one poignant sentence and a rich, detailed illustration of a child either finding peace or coping with a difficult situation and re-finding peace. Most of the story is shown in the illustrations rather than told in words, allowing ample room for discussion and discovery by young readers. Rather than focus on one situation and one main character, the author has cleverly let the search for peace be revealed by several different children of different ages, races, and genders in various scenarios. This allows the reader the opportunity to relate to at least one child as the pages turn.
Although it is a credit to the book that it contains many different and diverse characters, all with different stories, at times the book felt a bit disjointed as it jumped between the characters. This was what I liked least.
Apart from the beautiful and exceptionally important message portrayed in the striking illustrations, my favourite aspect of this book is the heavy emphasis on the beauty of nature. Almost every illustration shows nature as a great source of peace.
Since I found very few errors - and none that impeded the flow of reading - it is my opinion that this book was indeed professionally edited. In light of this and the stunning illustrations and message, I would like to give it full marks. However, due to the slightly disjointed feel, I award I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn 3 out of 4 stars. I believe children between the ages of 3 and 10 years old would enjoy and greatly benefit from this book, and that it would make an excellent resource in the classroom as well as to parents.
I Can See Peace
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