3 out of 4 stars
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A few weeks ago, I gave a talk during a conference on united action for universal peace. It is the need of the hour all over the world. Hence, the title of this book captured my attention. Peoples are divided because of religious differences, racism, and politics, etc. We constantly receive news about disharmony and violence in our localities as well as the wider world. A few people pause to ask themselves what and how they can contribute to society to build peace. Inspired by conversations about such issues on Facebook, this book is compiled by Lyn Ford and Sherry Norfolk. It consists of brief reflections, quotations, poems, interviews, and stories shared by people from different walks of life, including writers, storytellers, activists, and teachers.
What is peace? Is it the silence of the graveyard? Is it something spiritual and deep within our hearts that cannot be shaken by external events? Is it achieved by tolerating injustices and avoiding conflicts? Can there be peace if nations close their borders to refugees? The questions we often ask are endless, but Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work & Wonder is an anthology of creative responses to them by individuals from various parts of the world.
“Constructive storytelling” is a powerful means to conscientize and motivate readers to desire, speak, and act for peace. In this publication, there are narratives about nurturing peace in daily life and promoting an inclusive attitude that celebrates variety. It contains thoughts and narratives about renowned personalities like Kahlil Gibran, Mahatma Gandhi, and Franklin Roosevelt. I resonate with Jessica Senehi when she says, “Peace is not merely the absence of war and violence; it is also the presence of social justice.” Little children in schools make astonishing statements that could fill our eyes with tears. The sharing regarding refugees is touching. Additionally, there are remarkable fables, folktales, and legends to promote peace.
The best thing about the text is that every chapter reveals a different shade of peace. It also gives importance to educating children for peace. Some of the stories were already known to me, but I was pleased to read them once more. Nevertheless, I do have one criticism. The subtitle Words of Wisdom, Work & Wonder is vague, and its connection with the three parts of the book is not immediately obvious. I was filled with wonder when I read the section on wisdom, and I found a lot of wisdom in the section on wonder. In my opinion, the term “Action” would have been more suitable than “Work.” For all these reasons, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I found a few grammatical errors, but they were not distracting. I did not give a lower rating because I appreciate the writers who care to build peace in the world. Their sharing is interesting, and such endeavors must be encouraged.
Speak Peace is ideal for students, teachers, and libraries of academic institutions. It may appeal to people who have experienced violence and long for a peaceful world for themselves and their children. Activists may find the contents very useful for organizing events and workshops on this theme.
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