War: A Children’s Book is an educational peacemaking tool, a labor of love by a broad global volunteer community of educators and parents and writers and artists and peacemakers.
It all started with a child’s question.
While the author, Zachary Gallant was on a Fulbright scholarship researching post-conflict redevelopment in the former Yugoslavia, his 6-year-old cousin asked his grandfather, “Why is there war?”
Now, this is a surprising question from a little kid, and, thinking quickly of a family member who was working in the field, his grandpa responded “Well, I don’t know, why don’t you ask your cousin Zach next time you see him?” When that question was passed on to Zach, he was stumped. We can talk about nationalism and jingoism and resource scarcity and the military industrial complex and negligent or malignant media, but what does all that mean to a child? The question stuck in Zach’s head as he worked and studied and lived in post-conflict and war zones over the following five years.
It was only once he had children of his own, though, that the words finally came together. Shortly before the birth of his first child, inspiration struck and Zach completed his answer in a one-night writing session; a 300-line poem explaining the causes and solutions to conflict.
Five year of contemplation and one day of writing.
And of course, the book wasn’t done just yet. In the year after Zach finished writing, the text was edited dozens of times by an international community from every related field, from soldiers to teachers. Veterans edited alongside those who grew up as children in warzones.
Artists tried their own vision on the text, and the wonderful Jenna Frome put in countless hours and created, among other things, the beautiful picture that graces this website.
With a brain trust including at least four PhDs and another few Bachelors and Masters degrees in literature and children’s literature, our editors included psychologists working in Latin American orphanages and elementary school teachers from US inner cities, lawyers and principals and university lecturers of conflict management and feminist theory, and most importantly: a lot of committed parents.
Since being picked up for publication in September 2015, the project has grown international and multilingual.