Friday, May 29, 2015

A book that campaigns for Peace

PEACE WARRIORS by Raymond Huber (Makaro Press)

We've had a lot of ANZAC books, WW1 stories and now we have a book about people who have resisted war, and thumbed their nose at their captors.  Author Raymond Huber has collected stories from around the world that show peaceful resistance can make change. First of all, Raymond defines what is a peace warrior. He says it "is a person who fights for peace and justice without using violence." He gives examples:

  • The small-town boy who stood up to Hitler.
  • A high school student who faced a racist mob.
  • Mothers who protest weekly against a brutal military dictatorship.
  • A whole town that used non-violence to save thousands.
  • The ship that sailed towards a nuclear test.
Each story gives a background to why the peace warrior did what they did. Then we're given a creative non-fiction account of the incident where the peace warrior resisted what was going on. We find out what happened after their resistance, and can read a timeline of events. After each story, the reader can look up the recommended reading list that follows.

In between stories Raymond raises questions such as:

  • Is war ever right?
  • Can war be prevented?
  • Would I fight to save my family?
  • Are we killer apes?
  • Can you be peaceful and angry?
  • Does people power always work?
  • Should peace protesters break the law.
At the back of the book are more discussion questions, and a glossary.  The questions are thought provoking and Raymond extends the reader with thoughts of his own and others. He also gives websites and books they can follow up on if the reader wants to know more. There's a website readers can look at: and the page on 'evidence' is worth looking at. It shows how peace can be considerably more effective than war. 

This resource should be in all Intermediate and High Schools. Teachers could counter-balance talks about the wars with a unit on how we could prevent wars, and look at ways people have done that in the past. Raymond has provided some excellent questions and stories for a starting point for lessons.

Raymond Huber is a writer, editor and teacher. His animal science-fiction novels 'Sting' and 'Wings' shortlisted for the NZ Post Book Awards. His picture book 'Flight of the Honey Bee' has sold internationally, and also shortlisted for NZ book awards.

extract from peace warriors
It is 1943 …
It’s early morning, and Sophie and Hans have finished
breakfast. On the floor are piles of White Rose leaflets,
almost 2,000 Hans reckons. They sit down and load
the forbidden leaflets into a large suitcase. Hans carries
the suitcase as they walk to Munich University in the
cool winter air. The plan is to leave the leaflets in the
corridors while the students are still in the classrooms.
Sophie and Hans know the building well, so it should
be quick and easy.
Recommended reading age: 10-14 years
RRP $25,  140 pages
50 % of royalties go to Oxfam
ISBN: 9780994117229

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