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Peace and Conflict Resolution

       Hilarious, sad, or just plain sincere, these stories offer important messages about peace and amiable conflict resolution. Stories range from two goats fighting over a rickety bridge, to a historically based tale of a brave little girl from Hiroshima, Japan, Sadako Sasaki. (K-12)

Study Guide & Bibliography

Depending on the grade level of the students, Megumi will tell two, three, or four of the following stories. Megumi will stop at critical points of the story, tell the audience the options the main character has, then interact with the student audience to judge which option leads to more conflict or peace.

A Drop of Honey (Centra/S.E. Asia)
Ching Ching Chong Chong (personal)
How the Farmer Tricked the Ogre (Cambodia/Thai)
Kappy Arm (Japan)
Kappa Spring (Japan)
Monkey and Rabbit (Africa)
Monkey Bridge (a Jataka story)
Monster Mansion (Japan)
North Wind and Sun (Aesop)
Ooka and the Wasted Wisdom (Japan)
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (*Available only for students who have read the book, grades 3 and older. Japan)
The Drum (India)
The Golden Deer (a Jataka story)
The Last Dango (Japan)
The Lion and the Mouse (Aesop)
The Little Red Hen (Nicaragua)
The Old Man Who Made Trees Blossom
Two Goats on a Bridge (Russia)

To introduce the concepts examples of peace and conflict resolution.
To give students concrete examples of peace, conflict, and conflict resolution.
To give students the opportunity to participate in storytelling through song, sound effects, and movement.

Peace means different things to different people. Peace means different things at different times. I like to tell stories about peace because I know that we all like good stories, and if there are messages in the stories that are difficult to digest right then, we can just enjoy the story. When we are ready to hear those difficult messages, we will remember the story and learn from them.

I’ve chosen simple and even funny stories for the younger set. They never preach, but entertain while teaching.

The heavy-duty story is Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Please have the students read the book before my performance. The main character, Sadako Sasaki, dies at the end, so for anyone very sensitive, or who has recently suffered some trauma recently, a perceptive and understanding teacher will need to be at hand. (I tell Sadako only if specifically requested.) Sadako helps us travel beyond them to reach a sense of peace.

When someone first suggested that I perform Sadako, I was mortified. Yet, the story is important; it is an antidote to bam-bam shoot ‘em up culture we live in. I leave in all those “negative” feelings, like fear, sadness, and acceptance of death.

Peace is very real in our everyday lives, with our friends, families, and co-workers. On a larger scope, peace is an issue within our communities, nation, with other nations. Perhaps the most important source of peace is within all of us. That’s where stories about self-esteem and inner peace come in.

I sincerely hope that students and teachers alike will take advantage of this opportunity to discuss both the simple and the deeper issues of peace and conflict-resolution.


For the Whole School — “Peace Week”:
Make the week prior to the assembly a “Peace Week,” and have the various classes engage in the following activities.

For Art — Design a peace poster (not a contest)
What the students will learn: To appreciate the different meanings of, and artistic ways in which we express peace. Charcoals, scraps of paper, tissues, crayons, paint. Have each student design a separate poster with the theme, “Peace.”

For History
Research Nobel Peace Prize Winners. Learn what they did to earn the Prizes. If the students are interested in giving prizes to teachers, yard monitors or students who promote peace, why not make a big show of it? Remember to not make it competitive! An individual class may try to come to a consensus (in itself a cooperative, and therefore a peace-building process). Recognize a student every week or month, or just during school-designated “Peace Week.”

For Language Arts (reading & writing)
How do other languages (besides English) say “Peace?” Although dictionaries and computers can help with this search, assign students to interview friends and family instead. Learn to write letters which are non-Roman alphabets, too. For example, the Japanese use two Chinese characters that mean “calm” and “harmony” to mean “peace.” Have parents come into the classroom to teach pronunciation and writing.

Collect what “peace” means to different people. Answers can be as simple as one-line sentences, creative as poetry, or extensive as whole essays. Interview students, teachers, friends, family, everybody!

For Political Science
For older students, have a debate on whether dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped hasten the end W.W.II or not. Did it save lives?

This website is devoted specifically to the story of Sadako Sasaki:

For Music
Learn songs about peace and have a concert for specific grade levels, or for the whole school! Check out Blood & Patterson’s book, Rise Up Singing and CD by People Kids Choir, Peace is the World Smiling.

For the Whole School:
Can the whole school cooperate and fold one thousand cranes? Involve the older, more experienced students to help the younger, less confident students, in itself a peace-building activity. See For Art for instructions.

For Art
Fold paper cranes! For instructions, see:

For Geography
Pinpoint the different areas of the world where Nobel Peace Prize winners lived and worked. Learn about how they changed the history of their country.

For History
Coordinate Peace Week with Martin Luther King Day (the third Monday in January) and learn about this man who taught and demonstrated non-violence.

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. modelled the methods of Mahatma Gandhi? How did he promote peace?

Coordinate Peace Week with Mother's Day in May and learn about Anna Jarvis, who worked to improve sanitaion, and Julia Ward, poet, pacifist, and women's suffragist.

Curious about the connection between Peace and Women's Activism? Learn about Jane Addams, winner of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize.

For Language Arts (reading & writing)
Perform the following Reader’s Theatre with Peace themes.
References: Aaron Shepard, Stories on Stage, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1993.
The Legend of Lightning Larry
By Aaron Shepard
GENRE: Tall tale
CULTURE: U.S. (Western frontier)
THEME: Aggressive nonviolence
TIME: 8 min.

The Millionaire Miser: A Buddhist Fable
Retold by Aaron Shepard
GENRE: Fable
CULTURE: Buddhism, India
THEME: Generosity
READING LEVEL: Grades 3 and up
TIME: 7 min. or

How Violence is Ended, by Aaron Shepard.
GENRE: Legend, fable
CULTURE: Buddhism, India
THEME: Nonviolence
READING LEVEL: Grades 6 and up
TIME: 10 min. (for Grades 6 and up)

Death's Dominion, By Piers Anthony
From On a Pale Horse
GENRE: Fantasy
CULTURE: Contemporary (Central America)
GRADES: 8 and up
TIME: 10 min.

Aesop, The Dog and The Bone.

Aesop, Lion and Mouse.

E. Brody, J. Goldspinner, K. Green, R. Leventhal and J. Porcino, eds., Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories of Peace, Justice & the Environment. Pennsylvania: New Society Publishers, 1992. (anthology of stories and activities)

Eleanor Coerr, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, New York: Dell Publishing Yearling Book, 1977.

Sharon Creeden, Fair is Fair: World Folktales of Justice, August House Publishers, 1994. (anthology)

Demi, Buddha, Henry Holt and Company, 1996.

Pleasant DeSpain, “Old Joe and the Carpenter,” Thirty-Three Multicultural Tales to Tell. August House, 1993.

Tatsuharu Kodama, Shin's Tricycle, Walker and Co., 1995.

Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Daniel San Souci, The Golden Deer, Charles Scribner's Sons: Macmillan Pub. Co., 1992.

Rafe Martin, illustrated by Fahimeh Amiri, The Monkey Bridge, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, 1997. (beautifully illustrated)

Margaret Read MacDonald, Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About. Linnet Books, 1992. (anthology)

Susan Milford, "A Drum," Tales Alive! Ten Multicultural Folktales with Activities, Williamson Publishing, 1995. (quiet stories and thoughtful activities)

Dennis Nolan, (a fable originally written down by Apion), Androcles and the Lion, Harcourt Brace, 1997.

Kimiko Sakai, Sachiko Means Happiness, Children's Book Press, 1990.

Katherine Scholes, Peace Begins With You, Sierra Club Book, 1989.

Douglas Wood, watercolor by Cheng-Khee Chee, Old Turtle, Pfeifer-Hamilton, 1992.

Rosalma Zubizarreta, illustrated by Fernando Olivera, The Woman Who Outshone the Sun: The Legend of Lucia Zenteno, Children's Book Press, 1991.

Nathan Aaesng, The Peace Seekers: The Nobel Peace Prize, Lerner Pub., Co.,1987.

Peter Blood & Annie Patterson, Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Songbook, Sing Out! Publications, 1992.

Ann Durell, Marilyn Sachs, and Lloyd Alexander, illustrated by Jon Agee, The Big Book For Peace, E.P. Dutton Children’s Books, 1990.

Michael Leapman, Witnesses to War: Eight True-Life Stories of Nazi Persecution, Viking, 1998.

Barbara Lewis, The Kid's Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference, Free Spirit, 1995.

Barbara A. Lewis, The Kid's Guide to Social Action: How To Solve the Social Problems You Choose - and Turn Creative Thinking Into Positive Action, Free Spirit, 1991.

Stephanie Sammartino McPherson, Peace and Bread: The Story of Jane Addams, Carolrhoda Books, 1993.

Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee, Passage to Freedom, Lee & Low Books, 1997.

Masamoto Nasu, translated by Elizabeth Baldwin, Steven Leeper and Kyoko Yoshida, Children of the Paper Crane: The Story of Sadako Sasaki and Her Struggle with the A-Bomb Disease, An East Gate Book, M.D. Sharper Inc.,1991.

Maurice Sendak, James P. Grant, I Dream of Peace: Images of War by Children of Former Yugoslavia, UNICEF, 1994.

Aaron Shepard, Stories on Stage, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1993.

The Conflict Resolution Library (14 in a series, with titles such as, “dealing with anger, dealing with bullys”), Powerkids Press, 1997-1999.

Yukio Tsuchiya, illustrated by Ted Lewin, translated by Tomoko Tsuchiya Dykes, The Faithful Elephants: a true story of animals, people, and war, Houghton Mifflin,1988.

CD’s and Audio Cassettes:
Little People Kids Choir, "Turn the World Around," Peace is the World Smiling, Music for Little People,1993.

Sally Rogers, Peace by Peace, Western Pub. Co., 1991.

Hidden Villa is a hands-on organization that teaches ecological concepts and diversity, in Los Altos Hills.

our developing world, free teachers’ lending library of hands-on realia and lessons, run by Vic and Barbie Ulmer, 13004 Paseo Presada, Saratoga, CA 95070 (408) 379-4431,

Peace Center is a group of concerned individuals. Has a regular newsletter of peace-related activities in the area. P.O. Box 1960, San Jose, CA 95109-1960, 408-297- 2299

Jo Clare Hartsig and Walter Wink, “Light in Montana: How one town said no to hate”

Sadako Film Project