Friendly Book Collaborative

The Sparklers respond to the call! Friends Peace Library Collection

Sally Farneth April 29

All her life, Ratih, a Friends Peace Teams’ Peace Libraries Intern in Indonesia, loved to read. As a teenager, she lobbied her local government for space and funds to start a community library. She now receives $375/year to purchase books. Her full-time internship with Friends Peace Teams is under $100/mo working, so this is a lot of money!

I asked what guides book selection. She looked puzzled. We talked about having books at each reading level to support readers’ development. I asked, “How many books do your best readers read in a year?” “About 150,” she replied. So we conservatively estimated 100 books per year divided by three Fountas and Pinnell (F&P) reading levels per grade equals about 33 books per level. If two-thirds are native language books and one third are English language books, then we need about a dozen English story books per F&P level.We put out a call, “Can anyone identify such a collection around the themes of Regenerative Cultures of Peace and Justice?” Anyone familiar with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops will recognise the Keywords listed below as critical ingredients in AVP, extended for peace and justice workers. Beth Collea of QREC exclaimed, “I know just who—The Sparklers!”

Sally Farneth describes, “Sparklers love working together! We have worked together since the writing of Sparkling Still. While we have created lessons and book lists over the years, we were in need of a new project, and this one is perfect. I am a “bored” retired teacher with certifications in Early Intervention and English as a Second Language, as well as a Masters in Elementary Education. Now I’m putting my professional experience to good use.”

Anne Collins, Ratih Pepito, Maida McKenna, Kins Aparece, Sally Farneth, Nadine Hoover, Ninok Sasmito, Petrus and Nanik, and Tika. The Sparklers working with the Indonesia FPT Peace Library.

Sparkers Erika Mittag, Sally Farneth, Susan Hopkins, Anne Collins, and Lindsay Shore-Wright joined Friends Peace Teams’ Power of Goodness Clerk, Maida McKenna, and Indonesians, Ratih, Tika, Nanik, Petrus, and Ninok, to undertake this daunting yet enlivening task. Maida McKenna brought her life-long commitment to Literacy for Peace and Justice. New England Yearly Meeting continues to invest in developing stories to support literacy that reach for the Spirit in people, nature, and situations. Valerie Joy noted, “It’s exciting to introduce and stage key concepts and skills for very young children that then become embedded in their life-long learning.”

The Sparklers are underway — having a grand time developing the list — and Friends worldwide are looking forward to using it. If other Friends want to join the effort, you’re more than welcome!

Such a collection will help librarians and teachers in many countries see a physical collection of quality story books in developmental sequence. From such a concrete reference set, they may begin to assess books in their own native languages to support literacy in a whole new way. The storybooks also supplement stories for Power of Goodness and Literacy for Peace and Justice workin peace libraries and schools, and support an eight-week curriculum, Regenerative Cultures of Peace, used as an orientation for classrooms, programs, residential settings, and community groups.

Once we complete the list, we need to get the books. Digital books are available online, and some may be downloaded to print anywhere. Other books need to be donated or purchased. The Sparklers have begun gathering copies of the books from second-hand sources as they work on the list. Ratih began researching shipping options. Indonesia offers free shipping in-country for libraries, so she registered for that. If we get books to Indonesia, we can ship without cost. Ratih also found a distributor of storybooks available to librarians in Indonesia without shipping, if we purchase the books through them. Each country will be different, but we will gain experience as we go, and welcome any advice as we move forward, step-by-step.

Keywords for Creating Regenerative Culture of Peace and Justice (under development)

  1. Greeting & Friendship: Greeting, friendship, no enemy-making, get to know you, observe, respect, and love
  2. Cooperative Agreements: Needs, fairness, agreements, hospitality, self-control, no waste, sharing, polite, patient, and safety
  3. Affirmation: Diversity, affirmation, commonality and differences, speak up for yourself, ask for permission, no put downs or put ups. 
  4. Core-Self & Self-Care: Volunteer yourself, reflection, emotion, rights, energy (collect and store), self care, self-reliant
  5. Transforming Power: Renewable energy, integrity, power for good, creating, turning points, making decisions
  6. Communication: Listen, don’t interrupt, empathy, stopping, interact, integrate, speak truthfully
  7. Cooperation: Edges and margins, settle disputes (mediation), persistence, solutions (small & slow), care for others and nature, patterns
  8. Resilience
  9. Reconnection
  10. Equality
  11. Simplicity
  12. Transformation
  13. Feedback
  14. Speak Out

Sparkling Still

QuakerPress Publication