The Peace Book
by Todd Parr 

Themes: Peace, S.T.A.R. Power, Diversity The_Peace_Book.JPG

Grade: pre-K - 2

Story Synopsis: Todd Parr uses uniquely cheerful drawings to illustrate numerous examples of simple actions that define peace. From “making new friends,” to “watching it snow,” to “growing a garden,” Parr suggests that peace involves doing nice things for yourself, for others, and for the world around you. Peace, presented in this light, is a way of living, as summed up by the book’s next-to-last page: “Peace is being who you are.” 

Why We Love This Book: In our minds, Peace is reading a Todd Parr book. We love his ability to make big-person concepts – such as “peace” – seem simple, fun, and accessible for even the littlest of people. We especially love that, in this book, Parr defines peace as a way to act, and suggests peaceful actions that show kindness for yourself (“thinking about someone you love”), for others (“offering a hug to a friend”), and for the world at large (“keeping the streets clean”). This makes The Peace Book a perfect complement to our What is Peace? and S.T.A.R. Power lessons, as well as for discussing peace and peaceful behavior with any pre-K or primary-grade audience. 

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Learning Goal/Objective:

Students will be able to:

  • Define peace as doing nice things for yourself, others, and the world.
  • Identify ways they can act peacefully at school and at home.

Estimated Time: 8 minutes (5 min. to read, 3 min. to debrief)

Before Reading:

  • Review listening procedures. (see Listening Lesson)
  • Review Voice Levels: Voice Level 0 during reading; Voice Level 2 during discussion. 
  • Brainstorm with students what they think the word “peace” means. What do they think it means to be peaceful?

During Reading/Active Engagement:

  • Every few pages, ask students how many of them like doing the action on that page.
  • When possible, ask students to practice the action described on the page (e.g. read “Peace is saying you’re sorry when you hurt someone” then ask students to turn to a partner and say “I’m sorry;” or read “Peace is thinking about someone you love,” then ask students to close their eyes for 10 seconds and think about someone special in their lives).
  • After reading that “Peace is learning another language,” ask if any students know someone who speaks a language other than English. Have students repeat the words for hello listed on the page, and any others that students may know.
  • Point out the humor in some of the illustrations (e.g. the caterpillar who needs shoes, the goldfish saying “gurgle,” etc.). Remind students that being peaceful can be fun!

After Reading:

            Discussion questions to reach Learning Goals:

  • What did you notice about all of those examples of peace? Did they have anything in common? (Being nice, helping, feeling good, silly pictures/ideas)
  • After reading this book, what do you think “peace” means? What does it mean to act peacefully? (Refer back to students’ ideas from pre-reading brainstorm.)
    • Peace is a feeling of calm and safety. Peace is being kind and helpful to yourself, others, and your community.
  • What are some other things you can do to be peaceful?
  • What can you do to be peaceful at school? At home? With your friends? With your family?

Follow-up Activities:

  • Writing Prompt: Add a Page
    • Tell students they are going to create a new page for the book. Have them draw a picture of themselves doing something peaceful. Then ask them to describe their picture by completing and writing the sentence: “Peace is…” Completed pages can be assembled into a class book or displayed in the room.
  • Peaceful turn-and-talk
    • Ask students to think about one of their favorite peaceful things to do. Have students turn to a partner and talk for one minute about their peaceful thing to do. Allow both partners time to share. Ask students what it feels like to share their peaceful thoughts with a classmate.
  • 3 Breaths, 10 Seconds (Activity File)
  • Peace Senses (Activity File)

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