We live in a confusing world. I can only imagine what it must be like to be a child these days with the proliferation of digital media and the constant information stream. It is hard to turn it off and focus on the right in front of us. Not only that, but there is so much hatred in the world right now and I don’t think it is possible to shield our children from it. But we do have the power to acknowledge the hate that is out there and to promote a world of kindness. To promote going high when they go low. To promote loving everyone. I’ve taken a look at books about kindness in the past, but when I was given the opportunity to check out two new books from the Peace Dragon series, I jumped at it.
Author Linda Ragsdale encourages everyone to view the world through the eyes of peace. Her Peace Dragon project started after she survived a terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. The Peace Dragon’s mission is to set peace and love as the natural response in any situation. Her books Words and Not Opposites help show children how words can empower and encourage us, and create change in our lives and the world around us.
Alphabetter is a follow-up to Words. In this comically illustrated book, children are encouraged to create words of their own to make other laugh and spread joy. The book is set up like a dictionary of sorts of these made-up words. Each page has two parts: the top part of each page has a few made up words and the pairing that made them followed by a bottom portion that has one made up word and a little definition. This allows the book to have two completely different tones. The top part is almost silly and playful – my 6 year old and I had fun attempting to even say some of the combos. The bottom half is the truly meaningful part of the page encouraging the peace process. Words like Choolo (Choose + Love) and Diffether (Different + Together) with their definitions are the meat of this book while the other words promote a sort of whimsy. A fun activity to this book might be to encourage kids to come up with their own word pairings.
I also appreciated the fact that there is a true glossary of words at the beginning of the book. That way, if any of the words from the word combinations were not as well known, an inquisitive child could go and easily search out the meaning.
How I Did It is a tremendous book of determination and ingenuity. The illustrations are incredibly playful and it is also a comical look at the alphabet. In this book, “I” has an idea and tries to figure out how to make it a reality. Faced with the rest of the alphabet thinking that “I” should just leave things the way they are and stay in line, “I” believes that he can be more and wants to try. Even when he falls, he tries to look on the bright side and make an error work for him. What makes it even better, is that at the end, when “I” is about to go off on a solo journey, he looks up and sees “U” and knows that “U” can do it too.
My daughters had a fun time reading this book together. After they read it, they also went through the alphabet on the front and back covers trying to determine all of the careers of the letters and talked about all of the things that they might like to do themselves.
It is important to bring a sense of positivity in a world so often filled with tests and judgement and stress. I really appreciate Ragsdale’s work at bringing this sense to children in a playful manner. Both of these books provide excellent opportunities to open up conversations with your children about the world around them, their fears, and their dreams. What more could you ask for?
I did receive copies of these from the publisher in return for my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.