Interests in Spirituality

Encountering the Divine

Spiritual Blog

Children's Books: War

Posted by Jennifer Mata on September 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM

I've been meaning to get working on a project I have had in mind, for sometime now: writing children's books on spiritual topics. I have a list of topics, and a preliminary draft mostly in my head, of what I want the books to be about, but I still need to develop a character, of course a young child, and then delve into writing the grabbing and thought provoking stories.

I bumped into this article in the New York Times today, about a new picture book entitled ‘Year of the Jungle,’ by Suzanne Collins, the same author as the trilogy Hunger Games, and thought it could be interesting and perhaps enlightening for my own project. The story is about a little girl who's father goes off to war, her struggles to understand and cope with his absence, and hold down the fort, sort to speak, until he returns.

I really like this quote from Danielle Trussoni's article reviewing the book: "At the end of the year, Sue’s father returns, “tired and thin,” his skin “the color of pancake syrup.” He “stares into space. He is here but not here.” “Some things have changed,” Sue reflects, “but some things will always be the same.” In other words, bad things happen, but life goes on."

Trussoni ends the article by stating "Maybe some frank discussions about war, ones that involve more than stories about courageous dragons, will help children better understand what military service entails. “Year of the Jungle” brings up big questions. Parents will need to provide the answers." Which is great food for thought: How do we talk about war with children? How do we help them understand why, as citizens, we let war occur? Are there other options aside from war to resolve out international problems? It would be very interesting, and I'm guessing also enlightening, to have these conversations with children.

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