The Des Moines Branch of WILPF has a Jane Addams Peace Association Book Committee with five regular members as well as others who lend their support. The goal of this enthusiastic committee has been to plant seeds of social justice and peace activism using the books as a tool.
The committee meets to brainstorm new ways of presenting these beautiful books to children and to draw on each other’s experiences. Working in teams, part of the Committee has engaged elementary age children with ‘read and draw’, asking the children to draw a picture that best represents the book after hearing the WILPFer read it and show them the illustrations. As Meg Barnes Tvrdik, 2nd grade teacher, shared with us after a ‘read and draw’:
“As an educator of young children, I’m always trying to find new ways to teach about conflict resolution, diversity, and poverty. Many of these topics are very sensitive to children. The Jane Addams Peace Association Children Book Award winners are fine examples of educational tools. The books communicate serious topics in a way that is unthreatening to children.”
At the Middle School level, we have donated the books directly to an interested teacher whose curriculum included a section on civil rights. She found the books to be a wonderful addition to her lesson plan.
Jan Burns, a committee member, shared her experience with a new site:
“Having worked in the field of occupational therapy in psychiatry, I was very interested in working with Orchard Place School, a residential treatment center for troubled kids. My WILPF co-volunteer and I read the JAPA books to the 7th and 8th grade classes. We were so pleased by the discussion with the students. I particularly remember that one of the poems in Peaceful Pieces, "Poems and Quilts about Peace”, gave some of the students an opportunity to bring up issues that concerned them.
Evelyn Glazebrook, Chairperson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WILPF Des Moines, Jane Addams Peace Association Book Committee