Saturday, September 18, 2010

21st September International Day of Peace Taro Yashima (1908 - 1994) Hans Wilhelm (1945) Hazel Edwards (1945)

International Day of Peace is a day when many events could be organised to draw attention to peace or more specifically the lack of conflict, both globally and locally. Many websites state the aims of this day, outline its history and make suggestions as to things that could be done.

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima is a particularly good book to read on this day. The theme of exclusion highlighted by this story allows teachers to discuss with children how pretending something is not happening, or keeping quiet about something is not 'keeping the peace', but rather a form of bullying. Taro Yashima's life is an extremely interesting one and when you read about why he changed his name rather than be identified by the militaristic Japanese Government as a dissident you also better understand the themes of his books and why he moved to the USA. If your library does not have a copy of this book, view it on Youtube here.

Hans Wilhelm is also an immigrant American writer. He was born in Germany, lived in Africa and then moved to the USA. He has been particularly successful as he has sold millions of books. He writes stories which also require readers to empathise with children who are being bullied, excluded or who are struggling with inner turmoils. His series about Tyrone, a dinosaur bully are really stories about life in the school playground. His lovable white dog, Noodles is learning about himself and his place in the world and his classic I'll Always Love You is how many children grieve the death of their beloved pet.

Lastly, Hazel Edwards is an Australian author who writes across a large age-range, but is best known in my library for her series about a cake-eating hippo.

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