Book Review – Peace In My World by Syeda Mleeha Shah

Syeda Mleeha Shah is a gifted artist and writer residing in Virginia, whose mission is to use her talents to spread peace in the world. In her letter to me, she included the following poem, which is also on her website:

Let’s take a journey to the beautiful world of peace!

Let’s all stand beneath the big blue sky.

Let’s all share the land so green.

Let’s all join hands together.

Let’s reach out to those in need.

Syeda says that writing this children’s book Peace In My World, illustrated by Jason Hutton, is another way she is able to engage and join readers of all ages to explore the meaning of peace. The title of her book focuses on peace and cultural diversity, but the story within is also about appreciating our natural world. Syeda’s book is dedicated to displaced children living in refugee camps throughout the world waiting and hoping for peace and for making the world beautiful by being a part of it.

I very much enjoyed reading this large-font, colorfully illustrated, 25-page book aloud to my family. While reading through the book a few times, I was also thinking about the young children I’ve read with at elementary schools and Sunday schools over the years. Other than the use of the word “empathy”*, which needs to be explained to many adults, the book is a fun and engaging introduction for young readers to grasp the concept of peace, especially when read aloud by a teacher or parent. Because the book does not include phonetic helps to pronounce the names of the five countries representing each letter of P-E-A-C-E, the five languages or the five words for “peace” in each language, having an adult reader to share the book with is most helpful, at least the first time through; this is where the free audio version comes in handy….

Along with the book an audio download code is included by Tate Publishing on the back page, so you can go online and get the audio version of Peace In My World for free. This book can also be purchased as an eBook for half the price of the hardcopy book. Either way, the eBook can be read on your computer, PDA, cell phone or a stand-alone reader such as Sony Reader. Note: The download will be available soon.

For Nancy Isanders’ interview Meet Author and Artist Syeda Mleeha Shah!, click here.

To read her blog and check out her links, click here. To view Syeda’s art portfolio, including art for children, click here.

*Empathy is being able to understand another person’s circumstances, point of view, thoughts, and feelings. When you experience empathy, you are capable of understanding someone else’s experiences.

Weathered Bench

My Photo Weathered Bench and Poem Benches, Tresco by Chrissie Gittins

Benches, Tresco

They’re placed at considerate intervals,
curved hurricane pine,
some weathered and scored,

some lichened and worn,
some with holes,
where the trunk swallowed a branch.

From a bench I saw a blackbird with an orange beak,
the promise of protea in fat downy buds,
the chequerboard bark of an endless palm.

From a bench I saw wagtails surrounding a horse,
the stripes of shelduck tipped up in a lake,
the oblique flight of pheasants.

From a bench I saw Atlantic waves
drawing breath, raising their shoulders
and spewing their seething froth right back to the shore.

From a bench I saw an insect in flight,
the blades of its wings whirred away from the island,
it carried me back to rumbling ground.

Posted with permission by Chrissie Gittins, from I Don’t Want an Avocado for an Uncle (Rabbit Hole, 2006)