What Does Peace Feel Like?
by Vladimir Radunsky 

Themes: Peace, STARWhat_Does_Peace_Feel_Like.jpg

Grade: pre-K – 8

Story Synopsis: This book explores all the different meanings – and possibilities of meaning – of the word “peace” by inviting readers to imagine experiencing peace through the five senses. Rich paintings accompany sensory responses from “children just like you from around the world.” Beginning and ending with translations of “peace” into nearly 200 different languages, Radunsky artfully conveys the notion that all people have the creative power to envision – and construct – a more peaceful world by working together.

Why We Love This Book: Defining their own vision of peace helps motivate students to work for peace. We love using this book to help students craft their own vision and understanding of peace. The descriptive snippets from children, along with Radunsky’s evocative illustrations, suggest that peace can mean lots of different things to different people. Readers are encouraged to think beyond a static definition of peace to consider the full realm of peaceful experience, including thoughts and feelings, actions, hopes and dreams. We have been doing our Peace Senses activity (Activity Guide) with students for years; this book wonderfully supplements and enriches that activity, and serves as a great introductory text for other activities and lessons about peace.

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Learning Goal/Objective:

Students will be able to:

  • Imagine and describe what peace feels, sounds, smells, tastes, and looks like.
  • Say the word “peace” in at least 3 languages.
  • Discuss the significance of the many different meanings of peace.

Estimated Time: 5-10 minutes (3-5 min. to read, 2-5 min. to debrief)

Before Reading:

  • Review listening procedures. (Listening Lesson)
  • Review Voice Levels: Voice Level 0 during reading; Voice Level 2 during call-and-response.
  • Ask students: “What do you think “peace” means? How would you describe “peace?”  Write students’ responses on chart paper.
  • Explain to students that the author of this book wanted to know what “peace” means to kids. He asked several students, whose families come from all over the world, to describe “peace.” Then he used some of their answers to write this book. So, as it says on the title page, this is a book about peace by “children just like you from around the world.”  

During Reading/Active Engagement:

  • Call-and-Response:
    • After reading the first page, read the words for “peace” in different languages in the illustration. Ask students to repeat each word.
  • Visualization:
    • After reading the second page (“Did you ever…”), ask students to close their eyes. Ask them to take 3 deep breaths (in through their nose, out through their mouth), and to try to imagine what peace smells like, looks like, sounds like, tastes like, or feels like. Ask a few students to share their answers.
  • As you read each page, highlight one or two descriptions by repeating them and asking students to focus on that image.
  • After reading each page, read out loud the names and ages of the students quoted on each page. Remind students that the examples in the book come from real kids.
  • Turn-and-Talk:
    • Choose one or two senses. After reading the page about that sense, ask students to turn to a partner and share for 30 seconds what their response would be to the question on that page.

After Reading:

            Discussion questions to reach Learning Goals:

  • Which descriptions stood out for you? Which did you think were particularly good descriptions of “peace?”
  • Were there any descriptions that surprised you? Which ones? Why?
  • In answering what peace tastes like, one student said “like sweet, definitely not sour,” but another student said “like sour, but a nice kind of sour.” Can these two things be true at the same time? How or why not?
    • Peace can mean lots of different things to different people. The feeling of peace is a very personal thing. What is common in each definition is that it’s a sensation of comfort, safety, and ease.
  • Turn to the second-to-last page (“Just imagine what…”). What do you think we, as a class/school/community/country, could build if we all carried this feeling of peace with us every day?
  • Using S.T.A.R. Power means choosing to ACT in a way that helps you and others experience peace. What are some peaceful ACTIONS you can do in school? At home? With friends?

Follow-up Activities:

  • Peace Senses (Activity Guide)
  • Peace Is…
    • Ask students to complete the sentence “Peace is…” Alternately, choose one (or more) of the senses, and ask students to write and illustrate their own answers. Compile students’ work into a Class Book or post on a bulletin board.
  • Extra Illustrations
    • Reread the book. Have students illustrate a description that is not already illustrated in the book.
  • Peace Languages
    • Look at the list of languages on the back page of the book. Let each student choose a language to research. Encourage students to research where the language is spoken, how to pronounce the word for “peace,” and to learn about the cultures of the people who speak the language. Students can create a Peace Language poster or give a presentation about their chosen language.
  • Peace Party
    • Host a party in the classroom/school/community. Ask students to create decorations that look like peace, music that sounds like peace, snacks that taste like peace, etc.
  • Writing Prompts: “I feel peaceful when…” “With peace, we could build…”
  • 3 Breaths, 10 Seconds (Activity Guide)


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