The slightly smaller size of the new picture book Peace is an Offering, written by Annette LeBox and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, seems perfectly fitting for a book with gentle and delicate ideas. Even the tones of the pencil and watercolor illustrations follow suit, as the book introduces concrete and easily understood ways of spreading peace.
Peace isn’t necessarily a straightforward concept for preschoolers to grasp, yet the actions taken and the experiences shared by the young characters in this book bring peace to life. Little kids are still learning to notice the needs of others, so showing a girl bringing snack offerings to her brother, as he lies in bed with a cast in his arm, gives a nice starting point for a conversation about helping others in need. Even simple acts of kindness and friendship are included as another way to spread peace, such as inviting a friend to a birthday party or going together to the beach.
What I liked even more than the acts shown were the ways in which the text emphasized a more internal peace.
Peace is gratitude for simple things.
Light through a leaf, a dragonfly’s wings.
A kiss on the cheek, raindrops and dew.
A walk in the park, a bowl of hot stew.
Being thankful and recognizing the simple joys in life are two complex skills that even adults acknowledge needing to strengthen. But, that doesn’t mean that they’re not ideas that can be discussed with and pondered by the young!
Many pages in this rhyming picture book focus on family, but friendship and community relationships are portrayed as well, and the characters have diverse appearances and ethnicities. As the book nears the end, some of the ideas become more serious and complex, such as the loss of a loved one, being bullied, or the gratitude for being able to live in a safe place, but the wording is general enough that adults can choose how deeply to explore the idea with younger kids. Thoughtful and gentle, Peace is an Offering is a reassuring reminder of ways to be kind, helpful, and full of peace.
For more ideas about poetry to read with your children during April’s National Poetry Month, please read my post on 5 Minutes for Mom- What Will You Read During April’s National Poetry Month?