"STELL DIR VOR, ES IST KRIEG..." CHILDREN'S BOOKS IN GERMAN ABOUT WAR
With war being in the news and on our minds right now, your child might have seen images or overheard conversations. And have questions. It is one of those very difficult topics. How do you talk about war with children? Is it better to avoid even mentioning it?
As with other hard subjects, experts say that you should not push talking about it, but if your child asks or seems worried, you should not smooth over it either, answer truthfully but not go into detaills. And if your child is in primary school age, maybe ask one or two questions to see if they are concerned but not voicing it. If you are worried yourself, your child will also sense that. (if you are looking for more advice, here are some helpful articles: Fritz and Fraenzi (swiss parenting magazine) or a more personal take in Der Spiegel by Markus Deggerich, and with a psychologist on NDR Radio
And as always, with difficult topics, age-adequate books are a great way to help you and your child tackle these conversations - and go at your and your child's path and stop when you realize that is too much.
As always, but more than ever, age recommendation are approximations, each child is different.
ICH MACH DICH PLATT!
Not really a book about war itself, but about any form of violence: in everyday life and in stories, physical as well as verbal violence. This book is unique. Swedish author Stalfelt shows violence in situations kids can relate to, she shows escalation of conflicts, but discusses how you can de-escalate as well. It is - as the cover picture shows - pretty graphic with comic style elements and doesn't sooth over the topic, but Stalfelt knows where to draw the line. Good at mixing the heavy with some light or grotesque, she does make clear: violence is no fun and we should all be against it.
5 years and up
Louise Spibury, Hanna Kai
WIE IST ES, WENN ES KRIEG GIBT?
Another non-fiction book: this one is about war and terrorism that explores the reasons for global conflict. It offers a perfect balance of facts, that are presented in an age-adequate manner ending on an encouraging note on how we can all create understanding and a better world. A perfect book to start conversations with children, encouraging them to talk to their parents or other adults if they harbor any fear. The soft illustrations perfectly match the sensitive tone of the book.
6 years and up
You'll find a very different take on the topic in this picture book. Six men set out in the world to find peace and prosper. They each succeed in doing so, but after a while fear somebody will steal their fortunates and hire six guards..
A cyclical tale about greed, lust for power, misunderstandings and the futility of war, told in simple language and with simple black and white illustrations.
It was originally published 50 years ago - the author and illustrator is famous for his Elmar series.
5 years and up
Baptiste and Miranda Paul / Esteli Meza
If you don't want to talk about war explicitly, this beautiful picture book about peace is a great fit. A book that is meant as a hug in our difficult times - and shows that peace starts in small, tiny deeds: a smile, a friendly hello or a hug. But peace is not easy or a given. The colorful illustrations are a joy to look at.
4 years and up
Heinz Janisch / Aljoscha Blau
DIE SCHLACHT VON KARLAWATSCH
A little bit of blueberry ice drops on a dog. A red dog, and the owner is red. too. Soon there is screaming, it escalates, a conflict and then a war arises. Blue against red, the warlords are fueling it - and nobody knows why this war started, what it is all about and who is friend and fiend. Literally. And since they all are hungry, they decide to all eat together and celebrate peace.
A picture book about the futileness and absurdity of war - and a celebration of humanity. It is a modern tale, abstract, but still not a lala land, in amazing illustrations.
5 years and up
WELTPOLITIK. EINFACH VERSTEHEN
A broader take on politics in general is this book: it explains how political systems work, but also the history of politics around the world, and thus includes war and the topic Can war ever be justified?
The book offers a great overview, asks questions and makes links between the global picture and the effect on our lives - it is also easy to read, informative and has appealing illustrations.
8 years and up
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