Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For MLK Day

Peaceful Heroes

Peaceful Heroes
By Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Sean Addy
Arthur A. Levine Books, 56 pages
$17.99, ages 8 and up

Change through nonviolence is one of the most important values we celebrate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Peaceful Heroes, a lovely and inspiring new book by Jonah Winters, pays tribute to King and other men and women who risked their lives to make the world a better place without using violence.

The book begins with Jesus of Nazareth, who Winters calls "the perfect model for peaceful heroes of our time."

Winters explains that Christians believe Jesus was the son of God, Muslims believe he was one of many prophets, Hindus believe he was a saint and a great teacher and Jews believe he was simply a man.

But he writes, "whoever Jesus really was, his story as told in the Christian Bible provides one of the greatest examples ever of how to be a human being."

Next up is Mahatma Gandhi, then the Rev. King. Sojourner Truth's remarkable story is told, as that of Clara Barton, the "angel of the battlefield" during the Civil War who was saving lives while others around her were taking them.

Winters also writes of lesser known peaceful heroes, including: Corrie ten Boom, who hid Jews from the Nazis; Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who hid 1,268 Tutsis during a killing spree in Rwanda and William Feehan, a 71-year-old fire commissioner who had earned the right to stay at his desk but rushed right in with much younger firefighters and died in the towers on Sept. 11.

Winters' profiles, written in accessible and engaging language, read like good stories.

Evocative oil and acrylic paintings and collage artwork by Sean Addy and book design by Marijka Kostiw combine to make this a beautiful package.

-Rebecca Young

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