Wars rage across the world, but rarely is there talk of the efforts undertaken by ordinary people to promote peace. Sandra Moore and Kazumi Wilds tell the story of one such effort in their picture book The Peace Tree from Hiroshima (Tuttle, ages 8 and up). This little bonsai was owned by the Yamaki family in Japan for almost 400 years, and it survived the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. In 1976, the family and the Japanese government gave the little tree to the United States, as a gift of friendship. Moore, the American author, and Wilds, the Japanese illustrator, talk about their bookmaking process in a KidsPost interview for the Washington Post.
REACHING OUT/EXPLORING PEACE
Discussion: Read and talk about the book and the idea of two enemies giving and accepting gifts.
Writing: Ask students to write in their journals about a time when they may have been angry with or hurt by a friend. Were they able to become friends again? What did they do to help heal the friendship?
Sharing: As a class, talk about moving past anger and fear to peace and friendship. World Peace Day is celebrated on September 21 every year. It gives people around the world a chance to reflect on peace and do something to promote it, either as individuals or as a group. This guide includes activities, from simple to complex, that might be done in the classroom. Ask students to jot down ideas of what they might do as an individual to promote peace. How about as a group of several friends or a classroom? And there’s no need to wait till September 21 to help promote peace; a new year offers a perfect opportunity to do something, whether big or small.