Halifax students produce books to help promote peaceful schools

Three Grade 8 students from Halifax have written and illustrated books to help elementary school children learn to resolve conflicts at school.

The books feature talking animals, fairies in fancy boots and an enchantress who ends up saving the day.

The books are Animal School, The Enchantress from Canada and The Fairy Ring, written by Amelia Penney-Crocker and illustrated by her two best friends, Ruby Jangaard and Marin DeWolfe.

They have been launched by Peaceful Schools International, a charitable organization housed and supported by Saint Mary's University. The organization offers peace-education workshops in many schools around the world.

Bringing peace education to schools

"Saint Mary's University and Peaceful Schools International have determined that there was a need for children's peace-education books to be written by actual children," said Bridget Brownlow, SMU's conflict resolution adviser and president of Peaceful Schools International.

Brownlow said the books will teach children how to intervene when a difficult situation, like bullying, is happening.

Robert Short/CBC

"The books deal with assumption, rumours, sharing, compassion, empathy, respectful listening, which are all of the tools and skills that we look for in an effective conflict management," she said.

The stories are in the process of being printed and distributed to elementary schools across the HRM and to more than 100 classrooms throughout Northern Ireland.

Getting along with others

Robert Short/CBC

"I really hope that somewhere in the world there is a younger me who will read this book and be able to figure things out. I hope they help people," said Penney-Crocker, an aspiring writer who goes to Oxford School.

The books are designed for children ages four to 11 and were edited by the Saint Mary's University Students' Association.

"Learning how to get along well with others is one of the most important skills that we can ever hope to attain as human beings," said Brownlow.

"I don't think you have to look very far to look at the state of the world and realize how desperately we do need to teach peace."