“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” This line from the familiar song by Vince Gill sums up what a lot of people are hoping for after this tumultuous year. What better way to promote peace than by starting with the children? Here—find a dozen amazing books with a message of compassion, kindness and peace that can help plant a seed in even the youngest heart.

1. Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen and Kristina Swarner

An encouraging picture book with vibrant illustrations that inspires children to grow into grateful, caring, and giving people.  Recommended for ages 3 and up.

good people everywhere

2. The Laughing River: A Folktale for Peace by Elizabeth H. Vega and Ashley Smith

This joyful African folk tale is story that spreads the simple yet important message of peace.  Recommended for ages 4 and up.

the laughing river 2

3. Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox and Stephanie Graegin

A beautiful rhyming book that teaches that peace can be as simple and easy as being kind to one another and noticing the beauty in everyday things. “Peace is gratitude for simple things, Light through a leaf, a dragonfly’s wings.” Recommended for grades PreK-3.

peace is an offering

4. The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story by Sandra Moore and Kazumi Wilds

This heartwarming picture book tells the story of an almost 400-year-old bonsai tree that survived the Hiroshima bombing that was donated to the US as a gesture of friendship. Recommended for grades K-2.

peace tree hiroshima

5. What Does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Radunsky

Explore the concept of peace as a full sensory experience as kids from around the world share what peace feels, looks, tastes, smells and sounds like to them.  Recommended for grades K-2.

what does peace feel like

6. Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter

The inspiring true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, whose passion, vision and determination profoundly improved her country’s health and economy through the simple act of planting trees. Recommended for grades K-4.


7. Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed

A moving story of two girls who learn to share and become friends in an Afghan refugee camp.  Recommended for grades 2-5.

4 feet 2 sandals

8. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter

Set in war-torn Iraq, this deeply touching story teaches how one person can make a difference in her community, against huge odds, and inspire others to help. Recommended for grades 2-4.

librarian of basra


9. Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin

A beautiful book, intricately illustrated with tiny, precisely rendered details of life across the globe with powerful quotations from famous peacemakers. One could look at this book for hours. Recommended for grades 3-5.



10. The Big Book for Peace by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs

Multiple authors contribute to this anthology of peace including various works of art such as fables, poems, biographies, illustrations, etc. The quintessential collection of ponderings on peace for children and the adults in their life. All ages.

big book of peace


11. Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World by Jane Breskin Zalben

One page profiles of 16 influential world peacemakers including Ghandi, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, and Elie Wiesel. Recommended for grades 4-8.

paths to peace


12. One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists by Janet Wilson

Powerful accounts of young people who have been refugees from war, injured by land mines, or learned about the consequences of violence through other means Recommended for grades 4-8.

one peace