Making Peace with Stories

Joseph Bruchac has written a number of extraordinary books for children and young adults that have brought the stories of Native American people to a wide audience of readers. Peacemaker will be released in January 2021 and, while the story takes place centuries ago, I feel like it is a perfect message for our times. I am so grateful to NetGalley and Dial Books for the opportunity to have read this extraordinary text ahead of its publication. The Peacemaker story belongs to the Iroquois Nation who speak of a time when the five longhouse nations were constantly at war, until a messenger came who united all of the people through peace and equality.

Peacemaker is not simply a retelling of these stories. Instead, it imagines how the coming of the Peacemaker might have impacted a specific individual. Okwaho already believes in peace. His family and a few others left their larger village because they no longer wanted to be at constant war with other communities. However, when his best friend is abducted on a fishing trip by members of a neighboring longhouse, Okwaho doesn’t know what to think anymore. His beliefs have been shaken.

In Peacemaker, the theme of peaceful coexistence with other communities is accompanied by a deep and enduring connection to the natural world. The stories that Bruchac shares in Peacemaker demonstrate a reverence for life in all its forms. The writing beautifully reflects the importance of showing care and respect for the environment that surrounds us.

The word that I feel best encapsulates the experience of reading Peacemaker is thoughtful. The pace of this book is not slow, but it encourages a level of reflection that requires taking one’s time. What is so powerful about Peacemaker is that one would give anything to make the reading experience last just a little bit longer. It is one of the most beautiful stories I have read all year and it communicates a message that I hope we are all ready to truly embrace in the years to come.

Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:

Diversity 9: I know I am connected to other people and can relate to them even when we are different or when we disagree.

Published by socialjusticeinchildrenslit

My name is Leah Cole and I was a teacher in Iowa for nine years. My passions for education, social justice, and children's literature led me to create this blog. Students are faced with issues of justice and fairness from the time they are very young. The Social Justice Standards developed by Teaching Tolerance help teachers to support the development of students who recognize and embrace their own identities while respecting and valuing those who are different. In this blog, I will attempt to identify and review books that support the social justice standards.

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