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Humane Educator’s Toolbox: The Forgiveness Garden

Written by Marsha Rakestraw | 3 Comments | Published on June 7, 2013 | Filed under Humane Connection
The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Humane Education website at http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2013/06/07/humane-educators-toolbox-forgiveness-garden/

Book cover: Forgiveness GardenUnfortunately we humans often operate under the “eye for an eye” philosophy of conflict. Someone hurts us; we hurt them back. And on a worldwide level, that translates to millions of lives lost and incalculable harm to all.

The book The Forgiveness Garden, by Lauren Thompson (2012, grades K-4), provides a vital opportunity to explore the power of courage and what can happen when we choose to forgive.

In the story, two villages, living on opposite sides of a river, have been engaged in a long-standing feud. When a young man from one village injures a young woman from the other village, hatred and calls for revenge grow. But when the young woman is given her chance for retribution, she instead chooses to build a forgiveness garden, to help bridge the divide between the two peoples and begin the journey of healing and forgiveness.

The illustrations are beautiful collages, which start out in starker, brighter colors and ease into gentle shades of blues, greens, and purples, reflecting the shifts in the villagers’ feelings.

The book is inspired by the original Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon, after the Lebanese civil war that ended in 1990.

Check out more picture books about war and peace here, and for more children’s books on humane issues, see our Resource Center.

~ Marsha

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