________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 5. . . .October 24, 2008


One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists.

Janet Wilson.
Victoria, BC: Orca Books, 2008.
48 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-55143-892-4.

Subject Headings:
Peace-Juvenile literature.
Pacifists-Juvenile literature.
Children and peace-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Elizabeth Walker.

**** /4

Reviewed from f&g's.



Faris Calle was stricken with grief when her friend Jorge died. She was angry too, angry about the civil war that had plagued Colombia, South America, for six generations. During this dark time, the United Nations sent Graca Machel to investigate the impact of armed conflict on children. When she asked them to express their feelings about war, a spark in Faris ignited what soon became a blaze. Twenty-six children organized an election to encourage the nation to listen to their plea for peace to give youth a vote for the right to life, family and freedom from abuse.


internal artIn One Peace, Janet Wilson brings to light the power young people can have to effect change in society. Drawing upon inspirational children from around the world, Wilson structures her book around individuals such as Faris Calle of Colombia, Zlata Filipovic of Bosnia and Canada's own Craig Kielburger and their work. While the title suggests that all her subjects are "activists," this is not necessarily so. Wilson also highlights children who take simple but powerful steps, such as writing letters, as well. Her own beautiful portraits of the young activists give the book a touching dimension that is unique among nonfiction texts. Wilson's writing style is factual and direct, yet still manages to be poignant. The research that has gone into the book is commendable. In addition to her main examples, she also includes photographs, fascinating facts (such as the origin of the famous peace symbol), poetry from children in war-torn countries, and comprehensive end notes. Without being condescending, Wilson has managed to convey to her readers the importance of peace, compassion and determination. She also avoids the pitfall of explicitly emphasizing how truly fortunate children in Canada are; her profiles and facts do that on their own.

     Wilson includes enough information to give young readers the important facts, but she still leaves them wanting more. One Peace is an excellent starting point for research. Its one defect is the lack of a map to help readers locate the countries and children in the text. One Peace is an outstanding addition to any teacher's or librarian's bookshelf and will no doubt be popular for its beautiful design and inspirational message.

Highly Recommended

Elizabeth Walker is a student in UBC's Master of Arts in Children's Literature program.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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