Peace, Baby!

Written by Linda Ashman; Illustrated by Joanne Lew Vriethoff
Chronicle, 2013. 978-1452106137


“Lilting rhymes counsel children faced with potentially powder-keg situations at home and at school to take a deep breath, find a better way, and spread peace to those around them. Depicting a large multiethnic cast of characters engaging in all sorts of activities, the charming pastel-hued illustrations add detail and resonance to the uplifting message. —School Library Journal

“Mother Teresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” The practice of peace begins with those closest to us — family members and friends at school or in the playroom. Peace, Baby! is a creative, down-to-earth children’s picture book filled to the brim with examples of how children can do this in everyday life.” —Spirituality and Practice

“Excellent advice in a sweet and easy-to-swallow package.” —Kirkus

“So many children’s books about strong emotions come off as mini-lectures about proper behavior. This one has a stirring call for people to not react with violence or anger, but instead with peace and understanding. . . . The rhyme helps make the book fun. A strong addition to library collections. Peace out! —Tasha Saecker, Waking Brain Cells

About this Story

Sasha, bouncing on the bed,
conks you on your sleepy head.
You could hit her, or instead
try peace, baby.

Lola grabs your favorite bear.
Jacob’s sitting in your chair.
You could fight, but why not share?
Say: Peace, baby.

This book started with a title, a refrain, and an image of preschoolers repeating the phrase—and not much else. I wanted to encourage peaceful resolutions to preschool conflicts without sounding overly preachy about it. I tried to come up with scenarios that young kids could relate to, and that they might even find a bit funny (Jackson, at that age, got a big kick out of naughty behavior). And I wanted the book to show diversity, as though it were set in a preschool in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or some other urban area.

Luckily for me, my very smart agent, Jennifer Mattson, sent the manuscript to editor Kelli Chipponeri at Chronicle Books, who just so happened to be encouraging her niece to use the phrase. Kismet! And Kelli signed up Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, whose charming illustrations brought just the right mix of tenderness and humor.

Kids (and adults) will always have conflicts and intense emotions, and I don’t have any illusions that a phrase has the power to stop them. Still, I hope that by reading the book and discussing their emotions, young children will become more aware of their reactions and consider ways to resolve issues amicably, and maybe–who knows?–grow up to be more peaceful adults.

Illustrations copyright 2013 by Joanne Lew Vriethoff. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.