Violence Annotated Bibliography


Dr. Ava L. McCall


Children’s Literature

Adult Resources

Social Action Resources Dealing With Violence

Social Action Projects To Address Violence




Children’s Literature


Ackerman, K. (1994). The night crossing. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Upper elementary level. The author describes the main character Clara and her family's escape from Austria to Switzerland in 1938. At this time the Nazis have invaded Austria and begun persecuting the Jewish Austrians such as Clara's family. The family sold most of their valuable possessions to pay for their escape and left the remaining belongings behind except what they could carry. The author describes the family's difficult journey on foot at night while hiding from the Nazi patrols. Readers can understand the extent to which families were willing to sacrifice to escape Nazi persecution.


Adler, D. A. (1993). A picture book of Anne Frank. New York: Holiday House. 


Picture book, elementary level. The power of Anne Frank’s story is enhanced by the excellent illustrations and puts a human face on the Holocaust. The author briefly describes Anne Frank’s early years in Germany, the beginning of the persecution of Jewish people when Hitler came to power in 1933, and the Frank family’s escape to Amsterdam, Holland. After Germany invaded Holland, the Nazis began persecuting Jewish people, at which time Anne Frank’s family went into hiding in a secret apartment above Anne’s father’s place of work. The two years in hiding are briefly described, including Anne’s documentation of her experiences in her diary. Tragically, the Nazis discovered the family’s hiding place and Anne and her family were taken to concentration camps where Anne and her sister died of disease and hunger. Only Anne’s father remained who, after receiving Anne’s diary, had it published in 1947.


Adler, D. A. (1994). Hilde and Eli: Children of the Holocaust. New York: Holiday House.


Picture book, upper elementary level. A portrayal of the life of Hilde, a Jewish girl, and her family living in Germany prior to Hitler's rise to power and how their lives were devastated by the Nazis hatred toward the Jews after Hitler became Germany's leader. Eli was a Jewish boy living in Czechoslovakia at the same time and suffered similar persecution when his country came under Nazi rule. Both children became victims of the Holocaust.


Adler, D. A. (1997). Hiding from the Nazis. New York: Holiday House.


Picture book, upper elementary level. This text portrays the life of the Baer family, Jewish people who lived in Germany at the time the Nazis came to power, especially the daughter Lore Baer. The father, Ernst and his partner-to-be Edith moved to Amsterdam, Holland to escape Nazi persecution of the Jews. After their daughter Lore was born, they arranged for her to live with a Dutch Christian family who lived on a farm in Holland in order to keep her safe. The author invites readers to understand a child’s perspective on the Holocaust and the trust issues that arise for children when parents send their child away, even if such separation is for the child’s safety and survival.


Agassi, M. (2000). Hands are not for hitting. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

Picture book, lower elementary level. The author describes many things hands can do, including greeting others, communicating, making music, learning, working together, playing, helping, taking care of yourself, keeping safe, showing kindness and love. She describes the harmful effects of hitting and offers other ways children can release their feelings and deal with others who hit.


Al-Windawi, T. (2004). Thura’s diary: My life in wartime Iraq. New York: Viking.


Middle school level/adult resource. The text is the diary of a 19-year-old Shia Muslim girl who lived with her two younger sisters and parents in Baghdad at the time the U.S.-led forces attacked Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein’s government. It begins on March 15, 2003, days before the U.S. bombed Iraq, and ends in early June, 2003, although a postscript on December 14, 2003 comments about Saddam Hussein’s capture. The diary documents how war affects everyday life, including the struggle to have enough water, food, and medicines to survive. Thura and her family are unable to go to school or work for much of the period of the book; they are concerned about their basic safety; they cannot communicate with friends and family through their telephone; they cope with an unreliable power supply; they witness the looting of hospitals, stores, and museums by Iraqi people; and they grieve with friends and family over the deaths resulting from the military conflict. Thura is troubled by increasing restrictions on women resulting from the changes in Iraq, including wearing headscarves, baggy clothes, no makeup, and keeping one’s eyes lowered in order not to call attention to oneself. The diary entries do not seem to condemn Saddam Hussein nor the American forces, although they declare that most Iraqis were happy when Saddam Hussein’s sons were killed. Thura closes with hope for the future and leaves Iraq to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.


Armstrong, J. (Ed.). (2002). Shattered: Stories of children and war. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Upper elementary/middle school level. The text is a collection of 12 very engaging short stories dealing with the theme of war during different times among various countries from the perspectives of children and youth. The stories provide important insights about the challenges for families whose young sons chose conscientious objector status during World War II or protested and evaded the draft during the Vietnam War. The text also depicts Japanese American experiences in Hawaii immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Palestinians’ escape from their homes during the Six-Day War in the Middle East in 1967, Jewish children’s struggle to emigrate to Palestine after surviving the Holocaust, and the devastation on families during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and resulting war from 1979-1987. For very young Native American soldiers during the Civil War, they played marbles and other children’s games when they were not engaged in battle. The overall message of the text is that war kills children as well as adults and destroys families, homes, schools, and jobs. However, the stories portray inspirational hope and spirit in the midst of war’s devastation.


Beckwith, K. (2005). Playing war. Gardiner, ME: Tilbury House.


Picture book, elementary level. Several friends decide to play war on a hot afternoon. When they explain the rules to Sameer, the new boy in the neighborhood, he is reluctant to participate. Sameer explains his family was killed in a real war, which illustrates war’s devastating consequences. The friends decide to play a different game. The text can be used to open discussions with children who enjoy playing war without recognizing its realities.


Bunting, E. (1989). Terrible things: An allegory of the Holocaust. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.


Picture book, elementary level. All the animals are safe until the “terrible things” begin taking a group of animals, one at a time. The remaining animals always identify themselves as not having the characteristics of the chosen animals for capture, but do nothing to help the animals as they are being taken by the “terrible things.” Finally, only the white rabbits remain, and when the “terrible things” come for them, there is no one to help. The author encourages readers to consider the cost of looking the other way when a group of people are mistreated.


Bunting, E. (1990). The wall. New York: Clarion.


Picture book, lower elementary level. A father and his son come to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to find the name of their father and grandfather who was killed in the Vietnam War. They find a sadness at the wall, even though the wall is to honor those killed or "missing in action" in the Vietnam War. The little boy would rather his grandfather would be with them than be honored on the wall.


Bunting, E. (1994). Smoky nights. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Picture book, elementary level. The author created a fictional story which occurred during the Los Angeles riots. The two main characters are Jeremy and his mother, who observe the riots, fires, and looting happening outside their apartment window. When their own apartment building begins to burn, they must leave and go to a shelter. Jeremy is upset because his cat is lost, but is found with Mrs. Kim's cat. The riot and fire help create a cross-racial friendship where none existed before.


Bunting, E. (1998). Your move. New York: Harcourt Brace.


Picture book, elementary level. Older brother James wants to become a member of the K-Bones gang, but in order to do so, he must prove himself. However, James brings along his younger brother Isaac to the initiation because he is responsible for caring for him while his mother works at night. The task is to write “Bones” over a rival gang’s name, which covers a street sign high above a freeway. Surprisingly, Isaac volunteers to complete the task, which puts himself in danger. James ultimately decides the physical dangers of such gang activities and encounters with rival gangs are too great a price for belonging to the K-Bones.


Cohn, J. (1994). Why did it happen? Helping children cope in a violent world. New York: Morrow Junior Books.


Picture book, lower elementary level. Daniel has a special friend, Mr. James, who owns the neighborhood grocery store. When someone robs and breaks Mr. James' arm at his store, Daniel becomes fearful for his own safety. In his play with a friend, Daniel and the friend dramatize a robbery and solve the problem by shooting the robber. Daniel's parents ask them to think of other, less violent ways of solving the problem. At school Daniel, the other children, and their teacher discuss how they comfort themselves when bad or scary things happen. Mr. James also speaks with Daniel about the ways that people were kind to him after the robbery which helped him cope with the violence he experienced. The book also contains advice to parents and teachers in helping children understand and cope with violence.


Dau, J. B. & Akech, M. A. (2010). Lost boy, lost girl: Escaping civil war in Sudan. Washington DC: National Geographic Society.


Chapter book, upper elementary/middle school level. The authors, John and Martha, both from the Dinka people in Sudan, describe their experiences escaping from conflict that arose due to policies of the Arab Muslim government in northern Sudan, which the Black Africans in southern Sudan viewed as unfair. Men in southern Sudan formed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) who fought with militia groups backed by the official government when it imposed Islamic laws on the entire country in the 1980s. Both Martha (age six) and John (age 13) became separated from their families when their villages were attacked. Martha ran with her three-year-old sister while John fled his village with a neighbor. They first walked to a refugee camp in Ethiopia in 1988 where they had little food and clothing, and many contracted cholera. When conflicts arose between the people in the refugee camp and a group living nearby, the Sudanese refugees fled this camp to one near the border between Sudan and Kenya. Because many of the survivors of the Sudanese civil war were young boys, they became known as the “lost boys.” However, Martha let refugee workers know about the existence of “lost girls.” Both John and Martha were allowed to settle in the U.S. as refugees and eventually made contact with their families, married one another, and began their new family. Martha’s and John’s story lets readers know how war deprives children of their childhood when they are forced to focus on survival.


Deedy, C. A. (2000). The yellow star: The legend of King Christian X of Denmark. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.


Picture book, elementary level. The text portrays the inspirational legend of King Christian X’s response to the initial persecution of Jewish citizens in Denmark. When the Nazis ordered Jewish people in Denmark to identify themselves with a yellow star on their clothing, King Christian X wore a yellow star on his clothing as an example for other Danes to follow. In the author’s note, Deedy explains that she found no proof that the legend exists, but that King Christian X threatened to wear the yellow star in solidarity with Jews, no Jews within Denmark were forced to wear the yellow star, and most Jewish citizens in Denmark were rescued and escaped to Sweden. The text provides a powerful example of people standing up against oppression.


Dolphin, L. (1993). Oasis of peace. New York: Scholastic.

Picture book, upper elementary level. The author introduces a Jewish Israeli boy and an Arab Moslem Israeli boy who live in their own villages and go to their own separate schools. Their religion, customs, and language are also different even though they both live in Israel. Both Arabs and Jews believe Israel is their homeland and have fought over this land since 1948. However, Arab and Jewish teachers created a visionary, progressive school, Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, which means "oasis of peace" to encourage Arab and Jewish students to learn about each other's cultures, histories, and languages. Through the school, the Jewish boy and Arab boy begin to learn about each other and become friends.


Dr. Seuss. (1984). The butter battle book. New York: Random House.


Picture book, elementary level. An allegory portraying the senseless nature of the arms race among 20th century superpowers. On one side of the wall live the Zooks who eat their bread with the butter side down while on the other side live the Yooks who eat their bread with the butter side up. This difference leads to great suspicion and distrust between the two groups. When one side uses a slingshot against the other, each side develops and uses bigger and bigger weapons. Finally, both the Yooks and the Zooks develop bombs which have the potential to blow up the other group. The book closes with the bombs ready to be dropped, but no one knows who will move first.


Durell, A. & Sachs, M. (Eds.). (1990). The big book for peace. New York: Dutton Children's Books.

Upper elementary level. A collection of stories, pictures, poems, and one song dealing with peace. "A Midnight Clear" by Katherine Paterson portrays a young man explaining his fear of atomic bombs to a homeless woman who understands him. "The Two Brothers" by Lloyd Alexander illustrates the destructiveness of competition among two brothers as they try to surpass each other with higher walls between their castles and larger numbers of guards. "The Tree House" by Lois Lowry is a story of two girls Chrissy and Leah who each have treehouses with "Keep out!" signs until they realize they prefer to build a bridge between the two treehouses, change their signs to "Welcome!" and play together.


Ellis, D. (2003). Mud city. Toronto: Groundwood Books.


Upper elementary/middle school level. The text is fictional, but is based on stories the author heard from people living in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. Decades of war in Afghanistan followed by an oppressive Taliban regime which restricted the rights of girls and women precipitated the move of many Afghans to refugee camps in Pakistan. The main character Shauzia, a 14-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, is tired of the muddy, crowded conditions of the refugee camp and the endless “little jobs” which the camp director gives her to do for no pay. She wants to earn money to escape to France. Shauzia then lives on the streets of Peshawar, a nearby city, and discovers the challenges of finding work, food, and shelter. Often she resorts to begging for food or money. Eventually Shauzia returns to the refugee camp and decides to help other refugees escaping from Afganistan. A new wave of refugees are leaving Afghanistan because of the pending U.S. attacks in retaliation for the terrorist events on September 11, 2001.


Ellis, D. (2012). Kids of Kabul: Living bravely through a never-ending war. Berkeley, CA: Groundwood Books.


Upper elementary/middle school level. The book consists of interviews the author conducted with children and youth ages 11 through 17 in Kabul, Afghanistan early in 2011. The author introduces each interview by providing a context or background information to help the reader develop a broader understanding of the meaning of each individual story. Often the individual stories represent the experiences of a number of children and youth in Afghanistan. Many of the stories are from children and youth from very poor families and sometimes with deceased parents or parents unable to work. The stories come from former and current child workers, children and youth with mental illness or physical disabilities, girls who live in orphanages, lived with their mothers in prison or who are imprisoned themselves for running away from a forced marriage, a young boy living in a refugee camp, and children of opium addicts, businesswomen, and members of parliament. The children and youth who are interviewed talk about the importance of education and opportunities to move around and play games or sports and want to contribute to a better future for Afghanistan. However, they have been negatively affected by years of war and the Taliban rule, which closed schools for girls, prevented women from holding jobs, and killed family members when they were in power from 1996 until 2001.


Finkelstein, N. H. (1985). Remember not to forget: A memory of the Holocaust. New York: Mulberry.


Picture book, upper elementary level. The author's main purpose is to describe the horrors of the Holocaust to remind all people we do not want such a tragedy to reoccur. The text provides a brief overview of the Jewish people and the anti-Semitism which has harmed them over time. It focuses on the extreme anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany from 1933 until 1945 and the different national policies contributing to the persecution and destruction of over two-thirds of the Jewish people in Europe during this period. Such policies include arresting Jewish people, destroying Jewish synagogues and businesses, forcing Jewish people to move into ghettos, and sending Jewish people to their deaths in concentration camps.


Gallaz, C. & Innocenti, R. (1985). Rose Blanche. San Diego: Harcourt Brace.

Picture book, upper elementary level. The narrator is Rose Blanche, a German girl living in a small German town during the Nazi persecution of Jewish people. The rich illustrations significantly embellish the narrative. After witnessing soldiers capturing a young boy, Rose secretly follows the truck carrying him and Nazi soldiers to a camp surrounded by barbed wire outside of town. When the children in the camp tell Rose they are hungry, Rose gives them a piece of bread. This begins Rose’s efforts of several weeks to take extra food to the children behind the barbed wire who wear yellow stars and keep getting thinner. At the close of the book, the author alludes to Nazi soldiers shooting Rose as she journeys to the camp with food at the same time that other soldiers (Russian, Allied forces) move into Germany.


Goodwillie, S. (Ed.). (1993). Voices from the future: Our children tell us about violence in America. New York: Crown.

Middle school/adult level. This is a very realistic, shocking book about the destructive presence of violence in young people's lives. The editor compiled interviews completed by Children's Express, an award-winning news service reported and edited by young people. Children's Express teen journalists went out onto the streets and into the schools and shelters to obtain interviews with gang members, skinheads, and homeless teens, as well as kids who are making a difference in their school and youth programs. Many of the children and adolescents interviewed have been harmed by violence in their families, often due to drug and/or alcohol abuse. The interviewed children and youth have been either victims or perpetrators of violence, sometimes both. The book shows the seriousness of the problem of violence in young people's lives today.


Hoestlandt, J. (1993). Star of fear, star of hope. New York: Walker.

Picture book, elementary level. The text provides an introduction to the mistreatment of Jewish people during World War II as understood by a young child. The narrator of this text is Helen, who lived as a child in France in 1942 when it was occupied by the Nazis. Helen's best friend was Lydia, a Jew, who had to wear a yellow star on her coat like other Jews during the Nazi occupation. On the eve of Helen's ninth birthday, Lydia was staying overnight at Helen's when they discovered a Jewish woman trying to hide to escape being arrested and deported. Much to Helen's dismay, Lydia returned home to warn her family and Helen and her family never saw them again. They never knew if Lydia and her family escaped or were arrested.


Joosse, B. (2002). Stars in the darkness. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.


Picture book, elementary level. The author portrays a single-parent family living in an inner-city, violent neighborhood. In the author’s note, she explained the story was based on a person she knew who joined a gang for power, belonging, money, and protection. At night, Richard and his little brother heard fights, shots, and sirens on the streets outside their apartment. The younger brother was always comforted by his older siblings’ protection. When Richard began staying out all night, his mother and younger brother suspected he joined the “gang bangers,” a local gang. In order to disrupt the violence and power of the gang, Richard’s mother and younger brother organize neighborhood “peace walks.” Groups of people held hands and used flashlights as they walked the neighborhood to prevent gang members from shooting and hurting one another. The author also included a list of resources on gangs and gang prevention.


Lamb, N. (1996). One April morning: Children remember the Oklahoma City bombing. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.


Picture book, elementary level. This picture book briefly portrayed the events of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the devastating effects on others, including children. The author wrote the "facts" of the bombing, including a description of the explosion, its physical and emotional effects on others, efforts at rescuing occupants of the building, the flood of assistance, support, and caring from people throughout the country, and the slow healing process for everyone involved. Along with the "facts," the author included quotations by fifty Oklahoma City children on their views and feelings about the bombing, how they were affected, their recovery, and what should happen to those who did the bombing.


Lowry, L. (1989). Number the stars. New York: Yearling Newberry.

Upper elementary level. The author creates a powerful novel with fictional characters based on historical facts, as explained in the “Afterword.” The text deals with the German occupation of Denmark beginning in 1940, the soldiers’ control of Danish people’s everyday lives, and ways the Danish people helped Jews living in Denmark escape the Nazi “relocation” efforts to find safety in Sweden. The story of a Danish family and a Jewish family involved in this historical event provides readers with opportunities to admire the courage of Jewish people to escape from Denmark and that of Danes to help them, at significant personal cost.


Mazer, N. F. (1999). Good night, Maman. New York: Harcourt Brace.

Upper elementary/middle school level. This historical fiction is based on actual events and describes the life of Karin Levi and her family who experience the persecution against Jewish people in France when the Germans occupied Paris beginning in 1940. The Nazis first took away such privileges as the use of bikes, phones, radios, parks, trains, libraries, and movies, then required Jewish people to wear the yellow star of David, and finally arrested Jews for deportation to concentration camps. After the death of Karin’s father, Karin and her mother and brother hid first in Paris, then in Valence, France. When Karin’s mother became too ill to travel, Karin and her brother journeyed to Italy until they secured passage on the American ship Henry Gibbins bound for the United States. The author then described life for Karin, her brother, and over 900 additional war refugees at Fort Ontario in Oswego, New York who were finally safe, but still restricted.


Meltzer, M. (2002). Ain’t gonna study war no more: The story of America’s peace seekers. New York: Random House.

Middle school level/adult resource. The author declares those who resist war and refuse to serve in the military are courageous, especially during times when most people in the U.S. support war. He traces the history of groups and individuals who resisted war throughout the history of the U.S. Some groups protested war due to religious reasons, such as the Quakers, Brethren, Amish, and Mennonites. Individuals claiming conscientious objector status refuse combat duty in war, although they might accept noncombat assignments. The text describes the punishments levied against those who refused to fight, including fines, jail, and confiscation of property. Different peace groups and organizations formed throughout U.S. history, beginning with the New York Peace Society in 1815 to the broad anti-war movement of the 1960s. The author suggests several strategies to stop war, including: teach nonviolent conflict resolution; build respect among diverse groups; reduce all types of violence; and support humanitarian aid, refugee relief, human rights, environmental protection and economic development.


Myers, W. D. (2002). Patrol: An American soldier in Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins.


Picture book, elementary level. The text is a story-poem portraying a soldier’s description of his experiences one day during the Vietnam War. It provides a personal examination of war when soldiers regularly face death, but can still see the humanity of their “enemies.” The soldier and his squad of nine men move through the forest on the way to capture an “enemy” village. He feels fear and fatigue; hears planes, choppers, bombs, and gun shots; and finds the village occupied only by old women, men, and babies. When the soldier sees a young “enemy” soldier through the tall grass, the two share a look of common humanity. Rather than firing their rifles, the “enemy” turns away.


Noguchi, R. & Jenks, D. (2001). Flowers from Mariko. New York: Lee & Low Books.

Elementary level. The text is fictional, but based on the factual occurrence of the Japanese internment and resettlement in the U.S. during and following World War II. The main character, Mariko, is a Japanese American child who does not understand why her family must leave their homes and move to a camp. She declares herself an American and not “the enemy.” During her family’s three-year internment, her father loses his gardening business and the family loses their home. During resettlement, they move to a trailer park, along with other Japanese Americans, while the father struggles to find work. Mariko seems to encounter discrimination against Japanese Americans at school, but by growing flowers, she provides a sign of hope that her family will have a better life.


Nwaubani, A. T. (2018). Buried beneath the baobab tree. New York: Katherine Tegen Books.


Mature middle school level. The main text is a novel written in poetic vignettes portraying the capture of young Nigerian girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram and kept in captivity. The novel is based on the experiences of young women captured by the Boko Haram. The afterword is nonfiction and focuses on elaborating on the purpose of Boko Haram and documenting the tragedy of the kidnapping of 276 girls from their secondary school dormitory in Chibok in northern Nigeria in 2014. Both authors endeavor to highlight the girls’ perspectives on their tragic experience. The novel portrays the emotions and cruelty the young Nigerian girls experienced in the Sambisa forest: forced to convert to Islam or be killed, given new Islamic names, and made to work as slaves with little food to eat. The young women’s days are filled with collecting water, washing clothes, and cooking food for the Boko Haram fighters while their nights find them sleeping on the bare ground. Many young women are forced to marry Boko Haram commanders and give birth to their children. The nonfiction section sketches in the broader context of the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, efforts to free them, and the Boko Haram’s purpose to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The author, Viviana Mazza, explains the long process of rescuing the Chibok girls, the impact of their three years in captivity on the girls and their families, and the difficulty of the girls returning to a “normal” life.


Oppenheim, S. L. (1992). The lily cupboard. New York: HarperCollins.

Picture book, elementary level. This story takes place during World War II in Holland. When the Germans invaded Holland and began sending Jews to concentration camps, a Jewish family send their young daughter, Miriam, to live with a Dutch family in the country. Despite the sadness Miriam feels at being separated from her parents, she is comforted and cared for by the Dutch family. They hide her from the German soldiers while risking their own lives.


Otoshi, K. (2008). One. San Rafael, CA: KO Kids Books.


Picture book, lower elementary level. The book is an allegory using colors and numbers to portray how one color can bully other colors until someone different, number one, stands up to the bullying color. When number one stands up to the red bully, the other colors decide to change into colored numbers and do the same. However, the colored numbers reach out to the red bully and encourage him to also become a colored number too.


Parr, T. (2004). The peace book. New York: Little, Brown.


Picture book, lower elementary level. The author offers brief directions for how young children can create peace, including making new friends, saying you’re sorry when you hurt someone, and helping your neighbor. He summarizes that peace means being different, feeling good about yourself, and helping others.


Pomerantz, C. (1974). The princess and the admiral. New York: The Feminist Press.

Picture book, elementary level. This story illustrates a nonviolent means of dealing with an attack by an outside force on a kingdom. Princess Mat Mat, ruler of the Tiny Kingdom, uses knowledge of the moon's influence on the tides to thwart an attack on the kingdom. She also provides a way for the leader to return to his country without losing face despite his failed attempt to take over the kingdom. Mat Mat's clever thinking and the cooperative efforts of the common people in the kingdom maintain the kingdom's 100 years of peace.


Reedy, T. (2011). Words in the dust. New York Arthur A. Levine Books.


Chapter book, upper elementary/middle school level. The text is fictional, but is based on the author’s military experiences in Afghanistan whose unit was given the task of providing security for the reconstruction of the country after many years of war. The main character of the text, Zulaikha, was inspired by a young girl with a cleft lip who needed corrective surgery whom the author met while on active duty. Members of the author’s unit contributed money so the young girl could have the surgery she needed. The fictional story was set in 2005 when the first parliamentary elections were held in 33 years. The main character regularly hides her face, describes the difficulty with eating, drinking, and speaking with her cleft lip, and endures her father’s second wife’s constant anger and the taunts about her appearance from young boys. However, she met Meena, an older woman who was a professor of literature and held secret meetings with people about literature when the Taliban closed universities and schools. Zulaikha’s mother was one of the people who loved literature and was part of Meena’s group. Zulaikha asked Meena to teach her to read and write, although they had to meet secretly and Zulaikha had little time to practice and meet with all her household duties. The text describes Zulaikha’s arranged marriage to an older man with two wives and the tragic outcome. On the other hand, Zulaikha’s successful surgery and her father’s eventual permission for her to attend school represent hope for a better future for girls in Afghanistan.


Robb, L. (1997). Music and drum: Voices of war and peace, hope and dreams. New York: Philomel.

Picture book, upper elementary level. The author collected poems from well known poets such as Lucille Clifton, Carl Sandburg, and Langston Hughes as well as those written by children and adults who lived through wars in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. Poems reflect children’s pain at being robbed of their childhood due to war and of running from war, but they also portray the hope for peace. As one Jewish child so clearly declares, wars lead only to monuments and wreaths.


Roth, S. L. & Abouraya, K. L. (2012). Hands around the library: Protecting Egypt’s treasured books. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.


Picture book, elementary level. This informational book describes how protestors protected the library during the January, 2011 protests for freedom and the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in Alexandria, Egypt. Some of the protestors set fire to cars and a police station in Alexandria and marched toward the library. Despite the concern that the protestors may burn the library down, some of the protestors joined hands with the library director to form a circle surrounding it. The library was saved in the midst of the protest that began peacefully, but resulted in the deaths of more than 800 people. The authors provide additional background information on the ancient library and the modern library that replaced it, the January 25, 2011 revolution, photographs of the library and the event, and additional resources.


Rumford, J. (2008). Silent music: A story of Baghdad. New York: Roaring Book Press.


Picture book, elementary level. This realistic fiction portrays a young boy, Ali, living in Baghdad during the American occupation and attacks on Iraq. Although Ali loves to play soccer, music, and dance, he also loves Arabic calligraphy. Ali explains why he loves to write calligraphy, some words which are more challenging, and how he writes calligraphy during nights of bombings. Ali’s hero is Yakut, a famous calligrapher of the Arabic language. The author uses examples of calligraphy in the text and includes an author’s note to explain the significance of calligraphy to the Islamic culture and additional background on Yakut al-Musta’simi.


Scholes, K. (1989). Peace begins with you. San Francisco: Sierra Club.

Picture book, elementary level. This book explores the meaning of peace and emphasizes it comes from having one's basic needs of food, water, housing, clothing, and help when ill or injured met as well as having some of one's wants met. It explores conflicts which can result when different people's needs and wants do not fit together easily and ways to resolve conflicts. An important aspect of the book is the emphasis on peace at a personal, national, and international levels and asserts that in order to have peace, everyone must be treated fairly.


Senzai, N. H. (2018). Escape from Aleppo. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.


Chapter book, middle school level. The author tells the fictional story of Nadia in her arduous struggle to escape Aleppo during the fight for control between rebels and the Syrian government. Nadia’s family’s home was destroyed by a bomb, and Nadia became separated from her family as they fled to safety. The book portrays the devastating effects of war on people, including children, as rebels fought for greater power and better living conditions rather than allow Assad and his family to hold the lucrative businesses and he and members of his sect to dominate the government and army. Nadia and her family believed Assad was an authoritarian ruler who punished any dissent and did not allow Syrian citizens to have a voice in government or choose their leaders. Assad’s attack on rebels in Aleppo also meant that ordinary citizens were killed, injured, or became refugees as they fled to safety outside Syria, including Turkey, where Nadia and her family reunited. The author’s note explains her purpose in writing the book and background information on the Syrian war.


Smith, F. D. (2000). My secret camera: Life in the Lodz Ghetto. San Diego: Gulliver Books.

Picture book, elementary level. The author describes photographs taken by Mendel Grossman when he and his family, among 164,000 Jewish people, were confined to the Lodz Ghetto in Poland from 1940 until 1944. During these years, Mendel Grossman hid a camera under his raincoat to photograph marching Nazi soldiers, Jewish people who entered the ghetto, forced to wear a yellow star on their clothing, compelled to work for the Nazis, shared the little food they had, and even laughed despite immense cruelties. Grossman also captured people who were forced to leave the ghetto without their children, wondering if they would see their families again. Most were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz.


Sonderling, E. (1997). A knock at the door. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn.

Picture book, elementary level. This book is written by a young boy who won the publisher’s “Publish-a-Book” contest and is beautifully illustrated by a professional illustrator. The story is based on the author’s grandmother’s life as a Holocaust survivor. It describes Berta, a young girl who escaped from a concentration camp and was taken in by German farmers. Although the German couple did not know the girl’s identity or the danger she was in, they allowed her to live with them and protected her from the Nazi soldier who came looking for her. The couple encouraged Berta to remain with them until World War II was over. The text illustrates not only the courage of Jewish people who dared to escape from concentration camps, but also German citizens willing to risk their own safety to protect the targets of persecution.


Stamaty, M. A. (2004). Alia’s mission: Saving the books of Iraq. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.


Picture book, elementary level. The author created cartoon illustrations to tell the story of Alia Muhammad Baker, chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq, who ingeniously saves 30,000 books when Iraq is attacked by the U.S. in 2003. Alia asks governmental officials for permission to move the books so they will not be destroyed by the war, but her request is denied. She secretly removes books, taking them to her home and, with the help of neighbors, storing them in a nearby restaurant. When the library burns during the attack on Basra, the only books preserved are the 30,000 volumes Alia and her neighbors saved. The text raises the issue of the effects of war on the books which document a country’s culture and history.


UNICEF. (1994). I dream of peace: Images of war by children of former Yugoslavia. New York: HarperCollins.


Picture book, upper elementary level. The book contains drawings and writings by children from the former Yugoslavia. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) collected the drawings, letters, and poems from schools and refugee camps in former Yugoslavia as part of its psychosocial assistance program for war-traumatized children. The children's writing and pictures reveal how much they have suffered due to war, how much their childhood activities have changed as their homes are destroyed, they hunt for food, dodge bullets, or worry about family members in war, and their hopes for peace.


Winter, J. (2005). The librarian of Basra: A true story from Iraq. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.


Picture book, elementary level. In the author’s note, Ms. Winter explains that the book is based on the heroic actions of Alia Muhammad Baker, chief librarian of Basra’s Central Library, to save seventy percent of the library’s collection before the library burns during the U.S. attack on Iraq in 2003. The text illustrates a librarian’s love for books and desire to protect them during war. She and her neighbors save 30,000 volumes by secretly removing them from the library and hiding them in Alia’s home and her friend Anis’s restaurant. These 30,000 books are the only ones which survive when the library burns nine days after the attack. The text helps to document war’s devastation on people and their history and culture.


Winter, J. (2009). Nasreen’s secret school: A true story from Afghanistan. New York: Beach Lane Books.


Picture book, elementary level. In the author’s note, Ms. Winter explains that the book is based on the story of a young girl and her grandmother during the 1996-2001 reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the secret schools which were created to allow girls to attend school. When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, they did not allow girls to attend school or university, women could not work outside the home, leave home without a male relative as chaperone, and must be completely covered by a burqa. The main characters in this realistic fiction are Nasreen and her grandmother who live in Herat, Afghanistan. When Nasreen’s father is taken away by soldiers and her mother leaves to search for him, Nasreen becomes silent. Although girls are not allowed to attend school, Nasreen’s grandmother takes her to a secret school to learn and find her voice. The author shows how the girls must discreetly enter the school and read the Koran only when Taliban soldiers demand to enter the school. The school and a friend helps Nasreen to find her voice, smile again, and learn.



Adult Resources

Asquith, C. (2009). Sisters in war: A story of love, family, and survival in the new Iraq. New York: Random House.


The author is an American journalist who describes different perspectives on the U.S. efforts to bring women’s rights to Iraq during the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It focuses on the perspectives from two young Iraqi women, a U.S. army reservist and an American aid worker during 2003-2009. The two young Iraqi women thought the U.S. occupation would lead to more freedom for women, but discovered Saddam Hussein’s oppression was replaced by violence, looting, and loss of basic services (police surveillance, water, and electricity). Women were raped, but there was no police protection, hospital treatment, or judicial system to bring the perpetrators to justice. Iraqi women wanted stronger inheritance, divorce, and child custody laws to favor women, an end to honor killings, and to ensure there was a quota of women represented in government. They also wanted better education for girls, more women trained in business skills, and better health care. Iraqi women also had to fight against conservative factions who wanted Iraq to become an Islamic country with Islam becoming the official religion and the mosque and state as one, which would have further eroded women’s rights. The American aid worker witnessed first hand the lack of understanding between U.S. representatives and Iraqi women. A few U.S. women who worked for Iraqi women’s rights were killed, raising questions about the congruence between Western views of women’s rights and Iraqi women’s views. Other Iraqi women who worked for the U.S. as reporters and translators, served as lawmakers, activists or were businesswomen who refused to veil were also killed. The U.S. pushed for a national election, but the aid worker’s view was that a better strategy was to work on stabilizing economic and daily life and secure the borders before the election. The Iraqi people still needed to decide if the government was going to be based on Islamic or secular law and remain united or divided into three regions based on Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish identity. The people did not want Saddam Hussein’s oppression, but experienced “American democracy” as chaotic, so chose an Islamic theocracy. By the end of the text, the aid worker seems to believe the only way for women’s lives in Iraq to improve was to establish women’s rights within Islamic law and to produce a version of feminism compatible with Islam.


Barron, A. E. & Winkelman, R. (2001). A teacher’s guide to the Holocaust: An online resource. Social Education, 65, 140-142.

The article describes A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust available online It overviews the different components of the teacher’s guide, including a timeline, people, the arts, student activities, and teacher resources. Teachers can take advantage of the web site’s introduction of the Holocaust through text, original source documents, graphics, photographs, art, movies, and music.


Iritani, F. & Iritani, J. (1999). Ten visits: Accounts of visits to all the Japanese American relocation centers. Valencia, CA: Bertelsmann Industry Services.

The authors visited ten relocation centers in California, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah in which 112,000 Japanese Americans were unconstitutionally incarcerated and deprived of their civil rights during World War II. The purpose of the visits was to discover the location of each camp and the conditions in which Japanese Americans were forced to endure for as much as three years. Maps and photographs embellish the description of each relocation camp. Readers can develop some understanding of the United States Government’s unjust treatment of Japanese Americans during this period which may move some to become activists for fair treatment for all people.


Koofi, F. (2012). The favored daughter: One woman’s fight to lead Afghanistan into the future. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


The author describes her experiences of being an unwanted child at first, but grew up to be a political leader in Afghanistan when the country endured many political changes. At first Afghanistan changed from a kingdom to a presidency, then the Soviets took over the country until the mujahideen drove out the Soviets. The mujahideen started a civil war as they fought for power within the country, but most were overpowered by the Taliban who brought their own form of oppressive rule to the country until they were run out of power by the U.S. and British invasion. The author highlights girls’ and women’s traditional, marginal position within the Afghan culture as well as the dangers that existed when power changed hands. When the Taliban were in control, girls could not attend school, women could not dress in western style clothing, work outside their home, or travel without a male relative. Fortunately, the author was able to complete a high school education and was accepted at medical school, although she never completed her degree. The text describes the personal tragedies that accompany war and political changes including the murder of the author’s father and brother by the mujahideen and her husband’s imprisonment and torture by the Taliban. The author also enjoyed the experiences of teaching English to a variety of students, marrying someone she loved and giving birth to two daughters, managing an orphanage, helping to survey the medical and nutritional needs of people living in remote areas of Afghanistan, working as a children’s protection officer for UNICEF, and realizing her calling was to become a leader of the Afghan people. The author describes her vision for a better Afghanistan: reducing poverty and unhealthy living conditions, providing equal rights for Afghan girls and women, eliminating self-serving government officials, offering education for all people, and building a safe and secure society.


Lemmon, G. T. (2011). The dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five sisters, one remarkable family, and the woman who risked everything to keep them safe. New York: Harper Collins.


The text is focused on the life of Kamila Sidiqi, a young Afghan woman who struggled to find a way to take care of her family during the Taliban rule of Afghanistan during 1996-2001. Kamila lived with her parents, an older and younger brother, and four younger sisters in Khair Khana, a northern suburb of Kabul. Kamila earned a teaching degree during the civil war between the Mujahideen commanders who fought for control of Kabul following the conflict with the Soviets who invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Kamila’s dreams of teaching ended when the Taliban took over Kabul in 1996. They brutally enforced rules that prevented girls and women from leaving home to attend school or work. If women left their home, they must be accompanied by a male relative, and they must wear the chadri in public. When Karmila’s older brother and father fled Kabul for their safety, Kamila devised a plan to sew and sell women’s clothing in order to earn money for the family’s survival. At first her younger sisters helped her, then as their orders increased and other young women asked to work with them to earn money, Kamila set up a tailoring school to teach women sewing, beading, and embroidery. The school allowed Kamila to fill larger orders for women’s clothing and allowed young women to learn tailoring skills at no cost until they were judged to be skilled enough to be employed by the school and earn an income. Kamila’s success at her tailoring school/business led to an invitation to join the United Nation’s Community Forum, which offered classes for girls and jobs programs for women. Kamila continued to train women in microfinance or how to use small loans to produce a product, then sell it through her work in various global organizations and non profits. However, she also continued to focus on developing her own businesses which allowed her to train people to start their own businesses.


Mazzeo, T. J. (2016). Irena’s children. New York: Gallery Books.


The text describes the life of Irena Sendler, a young, Polish social worker who helped Jewish people in Warsaw during the German occupation of Poland in World War II. Sendler especially focuses on saving children from the harsh life of the Warsaw ghetto and finding safe places for them to live in other parts of the city. She collaborates with students, friends, and others to save more than 2,500 children and additional adults who would likely have lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis. Because of her position as a social worker, Sendler uses a health-care pass to travel in and out of the ghetto taking food and medicine secretly to Jews and covertly taking out babies and children whose lives were in danger. Sendler was remarkable in keeping records of the children’s names and addresses of safe houses on small, thin slips of paper and hiding the records so they won’t be found. Even when Sendler is arrested, taken to prison, interrogated and tortured, she does not reveal the names and locations of the hidden children. After broken bones in her legs and feet and numerous wounds and scars, Sendler is scheduled for execution. Fortunately, her collaborators are successful in bribing a Gestapo official to allow her to escape and avoid her execution. Following the war, Sendler returns to her job in the Warsaw welfare office and helps to rebuild the city. It was only during the 1990s that Sendler’s work in saving children during the Holocaust became widely known in Poland.


Peterson, R. L. & Skiba, R. (2001). Creating school climates that prevent school violence. The Social Studies, 92, 167-175.


The authors review several programs which are promising strategies to improve school climate and reduce school violence, including parent and community involvement approaches, character education programs, violence-prevention and conflict-resolution curricula, peer mediation programs, and bullying prevention. They summarize the research which shows the effectiveness of parent and community involvement, some conflict resolution programs, peer mediation, and bullying prevention programs. However, they claim all five approaches are promising and could be enhanced by implementing more than one simultaneously.


Riverbend. (2005). Baghdad burning: Girl blog from Iraq. New York: First Feminist Press.


The author is a young Muslim woman living with her parents and younger brother in Baghdad. She is a college graduate in computer science and worked as a programmer/network administrator before the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. The blog printed in the text extends from August, 2003 through September 2004, and the author was 24 years old when she began writing it. The author’s intent seems to be portraying the daily hardships and the traumatic loss of life due to the American invasion and occupation on ordinary Iraqis. She also regularly criticizes President Bush and other U.S. leaders who decided to attack Iraq in 2003 without evidence of the weapons of mass destruction given as the reason for the attack as well as Iraqi leaders who served as “puppets” of the U.S. Yet another purpose of the blog is to correct misconceptions of Iraqi people and culture, including the prevalence of higher educational institutions, educational professional accomplishments by many people, the creation of sophisticated communication and transportation systems, respect for diverse cultures, religions, and nationalities allowing families to be composed of both Sunni and Shi’a (such as the author’s family), women’s equality and women’s rights contained within the teachings of Islam, and the absence of Al-Qaeda before the U.S. occupation. Readers are invited to empathize with the author’s frustrations and anger at the limited and uncertain electricity, limited water, little air conditioning during intense summer heat, significant loss of jobs and educational opportunities due to unsafe conditions, gasoline shortages in a country known for its oil production, and new restrictions on women’s dress and activities outside their homes when they had previously enjoyed significant political and economic equality. The author describes the outrage directed at U.S. bombings of people’s homes and the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison at the hands of U.S. troops, which seemed to eliminate any sympathy for U.S. forces. In contrast, the author gives little attention to Saddam Hussein’s capture.


Riverbend. (2006). Baghdad burning II: More girl blog from Iraq. New York: First Feminist Press.


The text is a continuation of the blog the author wrote in Baghdad burning: Girl blog from Iraq and extends from October, 2004 through March, 2006. The author maintains her focus on describing the realities of the U.S. occupation for Iraqi people and her criticism of U.S. strategies such as use of “precision attacks” and “smart weapons.” Loud explosions; destroyed buildings, homes, and streets; blocked roads and check points; missed days at work and school because of unsafe conditions; abductions; home searches; religious intolerance; loss of water, electricity, and telephone service; shortages of cooking and heating fuels and gasoline are part of the daily realities for Iraqi people. Riverbend soundly criticizes President Bush and other U.S. leaders, hopes he will not be re-elected in 2004, and claims the U.S. reputation for “freedom and justice” is tarnished because of its presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. She describes the “red states” who voted for Bush as the color of the blood of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed during the war and occupation. The author depicts the upheaval and heartache when people must leave their homes due to bombings, lose family members, or become separated from family. The Iraqi troops and leaders are criticized as much as U.S. forces because of their collusion. Women’s rights continue to be eroded as they are pressured to cover nearly all of their bodies when in public, including their hair, all voting cards are given a male label, the lack of clarity and concern about women’s rights in the new constitution, the inclusion of Islam as the official Iraqi religion in the new constitution, and the concern that Iraqi will become a fundamentalist Islamic state like Iran or Saudi Arabia.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2001). Teaching about the Holocaust: A resource book for educators. Washington DC: Author.


The text provides information for individual and group visits to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC as well as teaching resources for educators interested in introducing students to the Holocaust. The guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust are especially valuable. The authors suggest beginning with students as early as grade seven who have the ability to empathize with individual experiences and understand the complexity of the historical context. Teachers are encouraged to address the various factors which contributed to the Holocaust, the choices individuals, groups, and nations made during this catastrophe, distinguish between various sources of information and different perspectives, show the complex experiences among Jews and Germans, and use thought-provoking learning activities. Reading or watching first-hand accounts followed by reflective writing assignments and in-class discussions are especially recommended. The teaching guide provides suggestions for integrating the study of the Holocaust within the curriculum, a summary and timeline of important events of the Holocaust, and an annotated bibliography of books and videos useful for teaching about the Holocaust.


Wahab, S. (2012). In my father’s country: An Afghan woman defies her fate. New York: Crown Publishers.


The text describes the author’s experiences of growing up in Afghanistan to a progressive Pashtun family who believed girls should have the same opportunities as boys. However, her father was taken by the KGB during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and her family became refugees in Pakistan when Afghanistan became too dangerous. In 1991 at the age of 16, Saima, her siblings and cousins emigrated to the United States to live with her uncle. Here she learned English, completed high school and college, obtained jobs at a language agency then an import-export company. Saima also eventually moved into a home shared by her brother and sister and brought her mother to live with them from Pakistan. A major theme of the book is the author’s resistance to traditional roles for Pashtun women, but her love for the country and people of Afghanistan. When she had the opportunity to return to Afghanistan as a Pashtun interpreter for the U.S. Armed Forces, she took the position despite her mother’s strong objections. Her goal was to find the reasons for her father’s devotion to Afghanistan yet maintain the independence and rights she had as an American citizen. She traveled to Afghanistan in 2004 and became the only college-educated female Pashtu speaker in the country. Her role was not only to translate for the military, but also teach the U.S. forces about Pashtun culture. Saima also held a research manager’s position in which she helped the U.S. forces learn about the Pashtun culture, the people’s thinking, needs and wants, and build support for the U.S. forces and their efforts to rebuild Afghanistan after years of war. By the close of the book, Saima believed she had made some progress in bridging the two cultures she loved.


Yousafzai, M. & Lamb, C. (2013). I am Malala: The girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. New York: Little, Brown and Company.


The text is the author’s narrative about her experiences in growing up as part of the Pashtun culture in the Swat Valley in Pakistan during the 1990s and the first decade of 2000. Malala loved the Swat Valley with its physical beauty, fruit trees, and music and dancing festivals, although the small town in which she lived was becoming more polluted and crowded. Even though girls were not valued or educated in Pakistan, Malala’s parents believed girls as well as boys should be educated, and Malala’s father, but not her mother was educated. Malala’s father established a school which Malala attended as well as other girls and boys. The author describes how life changed as the country’s leadership changed, from Benazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister in the Islamic world, to General Pervez Musharraf, a military leader, to the struggle between the Taliban and governmental leaders for control of Pakistan. Malala described the destructive effects of the Taliban on education, culture, and women’s lives as well as the official government’s apparent lack of concern about the daily lives of the people in the Swat valley as they struggled to survive an earthquake, floods, and the Taliban. Malala and her father both spoke out about the importance of girls’ education, and the Taliban threatened their lives. On October 9, 2012 Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban as she traveled home from school by bus. She was first taken to a hospital in Peshawar, then to a hospital in Birmingham in the U.K. in order to receive better medical care. With excellent treatment by doctors and other medical personnel and support by several countries, Malala recovered to continue to speak out about the importance of education for everyone, including children whose families lived in poverty. She publicly claimed that education was a basic right given by Islam and written about in the Quran despite the 57 million Pakistani children not attending primary school with the majority of those being girls. Almost 50 million adults in Pakistan were illiterate, and two-thirds of these were women, including Malala’s own mother. Malala believed that education, not violence, was the way to change the world for the better.


Zangana, H. (2009). Dreaming of Baghdad. New York: The Feminist Press.


The text, originally written in Arabic and translated to English, is the author’s memories of her childhood visiting a Kurdish village in the late 1950s, as a radical activist in Iraq in the 1970s, her incarceration and torture as a political prisoner, and life as an exile in London in the 1980s. The author claims that the book “may be the first published book written by an Iraqi woman to address the experience of imprisonment and struggle against the Baath regime, which lasted from 1968 to 2003" (p. 3). Her choice to be a political activist rather than become a doctor or pharmacist led to devastating consequences for herself and her family. She and other activists rebelled against Iraq’s oppressive regime, which was replaced with President Bush’s oppressive occupation. The author wants readers to understand the pain and humiliation of torture and the cost of fighting for a better Iraq. She points out the ironies that her torturers sometimes died through torture and her own political group, the Iraqi Communist Party, sometimes executes comrades suspected of betraying their group.


Social Action Resources Dealing With Violence

Anti-Defamation League. (1999). Discussing hate & violence with your children [On-line].

This brief article provides guidelines for adult family members to discuss acts of hate and violence with children. It encourages adults to clarify their own feelings, listen to their children’s questions and feelings, share developmentally appropriate information, review the facts, describe their own perceptions and feelings, and put the event into perspective.


Bickmore, K. (2002). Conflicts global and local: An elementary approach. Social Education, 66, 235-238.

The author offers a description of an integrated curriculum unit on conflict she observed an experienced teacher teaching in a fourth- and fifth-grade classroom. The teacher focused on three questions: (1) What is conflict? (2) What causes conflict? (3) How can we handle conflict? The students addressed conflict in their personal lives and in world events. They read children’s literature, drew pictures, and dramatized examples of conflict.


Garbarino, J. (1993). Let's talk about living in a world with violence: An activity book for school-age children. Chicago: Erikson Institute.

This workbook guides children in thinking and writing about what violence is, how it feels, where it can happen, and what kids can do about violence. The author offers such strategies as talking with others, monitoring what they watch on television and at the movies, reading about what other kids do, writing their own book, poems, or songs about what kids can do about violence, working together with their friends, and helping other kids feel safe.


Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, R. T. (1995). Reducing school violence through conflict resolution. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

The authors offer reasons for the increase in violence among young people and common elements of programs designed to prevent violence. They also briefly describe four programs used in teaching students conflict resolution: Teaching Students to Be Peacemakers, Children's Creative Response to Conflict, Resolving Conflict Creatively, and Community Boards of San Francisco Conflict Managers. The most valuable aspects of the book are the description of ways educators can resolve conflicts with their colleagues through selecting appropriate strategies for managing conflicts, helpful guidelines for teaching students how to negotiate conflicts, and suggestions for mediating conflicts among students.


Kreidler, W. J. (1984). Creative conflict resolution: More than 200 activities for keeping peace in the classroom K-6. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.

The purpose of the book is to help teachers and their students: (1) increase their understanding of conflict, its resolution, and develop peacemaking skills; (2) examine their behavior and attitudes to assess how they contribute to classroom conflict and its resolution; and (3) establish a sense of classroom community that will help children respond creatively, constructively, and nonviolently to conflict. The book suggests ways to develop cooperation, improve communication, help children respect and appreciate people's differences, understand prejudice, assist children in expressing anger and frustration in nonaggressive, constructive ways, and support children in learning the skills of responding creatively to conflict. The author speaks from his experiences using the suggested activities in his own classroom.


Kreidler, W. J. (1990). Elementary perspectives 1: Teaching concepts of peace and conflict. Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility.

This book is a resource guide for elementary teachers with activities designed to help students define peace according to their own values, to examine their definitions from many angles, and to learn the concrete skills involved in living according to those definitions. The activities reflect the pedagogy based on cooperative problem solving, conflict resolution, listening to other points of view, community building, decision making, and critical thinking. After beginning with children's experiences, help children expand concepts beyond their own experience to make connections at the local, national, and international levels. Finally, encourage children to take appropriate responsible actions based on their beliefs. The chapters include what is peace, peace and community building, peace and conflict, peace and diversity, peace and enemies, and visions of peace. The appendix contains a valuable guideline for discussing controversial issues with children, a list of children's books dealing with peace, and other resources for teachers.


Kreidler, W. J. (1994). Teaching conflict resolution through children's literature. New York: Scholastic.

The author builds on the peaceable classroom model described in his previous books. The chapters deal with: what's conflict, the conflict escalator, solving conflicts, solving problems, understanding other perspectives, conflict and feelings, appreciating diversity, caring, respect, and community. The chapters offer ideas for activities for introducing the chapter theme with children, extension activities, classroom applications, three children's literature selections illustrating the theme, strategies for using the literature, pictures for class discussions, charts which summarize main points, and activity sheets for children's use to reinforce key ideas.


Levin, D. E. (1994). Teaching young children in violent times: Building a peaceable classroom. Cambridge, MA: Educators for Social Responsibility.

The author stresses the necessity of addressing violence in young children's lives (preschool through grade three). The first part of the book focuses on key elements of peaceable classrooms, describes why each is important, and considers specific implications for practice. The second part provides resources and practical ideas to create a peaceable classroom. The first section: (1) describes the violent world of children and explores the effects on children; (2) examines the developmental characteristics of young children's thinking about peace and violence; (3) discusses the importance of children experiencing directly living in a peaceable classroom community; (4) describes the significance of dialogues between teachers and children; (5) examines the "win-win" approach to conflict resolution; (6) explains the significance of dealing with diversity as part of learning about peace and conflict; and (7) explores how the peaceable classroom can help counteract the negative effects of media and toys on children's development, learning, and play.



Social Action Projects To Address Violence

1. Get your school involved in a peer mediation program. Contact the Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., Room 412B, Winnebago County Courthouse, 415 Jackson Street, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901, 236-4711. Kristy Bradish is the director. The Conflict Resolution Center provides training for the teachers, for staff coordinators to plan student training, to coordinate student training, to provide student training assistance for each grade level, and to lead role playing practice before students begin mediating.


2. Become involved in the International Peace Lantern Exchange Project. This project links up American children with children in 25 other countries. The vehicle is a four-sided lantern shade which becomes part of a floating lantern. They will send you a sample shade as a prototype. Your students will fill out three of the panels with their art work; the fourth panel will include their names, addresses, ages, and personal messages of peace. For more information contact Jim and Peggy Baumgaertner, International Peace Lantern Exchange Project, Box 2876, LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54602.


3. Plant a tree for peace as a symbol of peace and cooperation and as a gift back to the natural world and to future generations.


4. Protest the sale of war toys outside toy stores during the holidays or write the major producers of violent toys to express your refusal to purchase such toys and to encourage them to produce more wholesome toys.


5. Hold a nonviolent toy fair. Invite local vendors to display and demonstrate nonviolent toys and computer games. The fair raises awareness in the community about the need to teach children peaceful ways to manage conflict and use appropriate, educational toys. For more information on planning a nonviolent toy fair, contact Andrea Clinkenbeard, Iowa City, Iowa 319-353-5290.


6. Develop a peaceable classroom as described by Kreidler or Levin and encourage other teachers at your school to become involved in such efforts.


7. Analyze cartoons or movies for the amount of violence included. Count the number of times characters hurt each other and the number of peacemaking actions. Write the television station or the editor of the local newspaper to state your conclusions. Ask for more movies and cartoons with peacemakers in them.


8. Make connections with organizations committed to preventing violence:

a. Conflict Resolution, Community Board Programs, 1540 Market Street, #490, San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-552-1250.

b. Conflict Resolution Education Network at

c. National Association for Mediation in Education (NAME). 205 Hampshire House, Box 33635, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, 413-545-2462.

d. Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, New York City Public Schools and Educators for Social Responsibility, 163 Third Avenue, #103, New York, NY 10003, 212-387-0225.

e. Peace Education Foundation, Inc., 2627 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33137-3854, 305-576-5075. 


9. In order to address the harmful consequences of the U.S. attack on Iraq, get your classroom or school involved with the Church World Service project “Gift of the Heart” health kits. The kits help meet day-to-day hygiene needs of Iraqi children. For directions on preparing the health kits, packaging, and shipping them to Church World Service for delivery in Iraq, see the organization’s web site




Austin, P. & Bryant, J.A. (1996-2013). Children caught in war. Retrieved from


            American Library Association annotated bibliography of children’s books about war.



Social problems/social action

Annotated bibliography list