Promoting Peace and Resilience in Times of Conflict

SLS UK PHSE

Subject: PSHE and SMSC

Subject: PSHE and SMSC

Age Group: KS1 & KS2

Synopsis: Coverage about Ukraine is everywhere for children to hear and pick up; TV and news programmes, parents and carers discussing at the school gate. If adults are worried, we can be sure the children are too. Here, Abby Bunton from Hampshire SLS suggests the best ways to use books to develop your children’s resilience.  

Abby Bunton in a library

Abby Bunton
Hampshire SLS

Librarian’s view:

How do we discuss with children what is happening in Ukraine? During times of political conflict and violence it is important to remember to discuss one’s worries out loud with others. A good way to approach these topics with children is through a book.

Books help us empathise, heal, build resilience and most importantly they spark discussion. But when choosing books to discuss with children about current conflicts and images of war seen in the media, we want to be looking for stories of hope and those that depict the prospect of peace rather than wars of the past which will only add to the children’s fear.

As librarians, we encourage all adults to read the books before sharing them with children. Parents, carers, and teachers will know the children they are caring for, their maturity levels and what they can and cannot cope with. Some titles depict the violence of war, while others promote unity and freedom, but all titles can be useful in discussing the current conflict and help young people work through their worries.


The following books are specifically selected for their ambiguity, as they do not depict any past or current conflicts or wars.

Resources Highlighted

No!
by David McPhail

No! by David McPhail is a story of hope with superb illustrations.

The Day the War Came
by Nicola Davies

The Day the War Came by Nicola Davies is a poem, with pictures, about the journey of a child refugee.

We are Together
by Britta Teckentrup

We are Together by Britta Teckentrup celebrating the power of love and friendship.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book
by Jon Agee

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee ideal for young children with plenty of ideas to discuss about entrenched positions taken depending upon which side of the wall you happen to be.

Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles
by Steve Antony

Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles by Steve Antony shows the futility of war and the need for someone to say “Enough is enough!”.

A Child’s Garden
by Michael Foreman

A Child’s Garden by Michael Foreman is a moving story about a child creating a garden of hope in the ruin and rubble.

We are All Born Free
created by Amnesty International

We are All Born Free created by Amnesty International (published by Frances Lincoln) celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed after World War Two on 10 December 1948.

Every Child a Song
by Nicola Davies

Every Child a Song by Nicola Davies introduces young children to their rights – as laid out by the United Nations Rights of the Child.

A Peaceful World
by Alice Harman and David Broadbent

A Peaceful World by Alice Harman and David Broadbent an exploration of why peace is important and how to keep the peace.

Reliable news coverage for children

CBBC Newsround – War in Ukraine Coverage – https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround#more-stories-2

Sky Kids FYI – Episode 160   I CAN’T SEE THIS LINK CHECK WITH AUTHOR

https://www.sky.com/watch/title/series/99387495-8564-4bce-8e5f-9457bb3f931a/fyi/episodes/season-1/episode-160

First News -Ukraine Special Report Free Access

Helpful links to encourage adults to listen and answer children’s questions about war:

https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/blogs/2022/how-to-talk-to-children-about-war
https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/2022/02/25/we-should-not-hide-from-children-what-is-happening-in-ukraine/