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Peaceful Reads: Picture Books About Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution strategies are essential life skills for your students to develop. Picture books offer a unique and engaging way to introduce children to conflict and resolution, providing them with tools to manage disagreements constructively. This blog post will explore the benefits of using picture books to teach conflict resolution.

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The Importance of Teaching Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is an important life skill that all children need to know. It can be difficult for young students to resolve conflicts peacefully; it can be much easier with the right picture books. Sharing these books with your students encourages discussion on conflict resolutions that work and can be incorporated into their everyday lives.

  • Enhances Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions is key to resolving conflicts. Picture books help children identify and express their feelings.
  • Improves Communication Skills: Learning to communicate clearly and listen to others is essential for resolving conflicts. Picture books provide examples of effective communication.
  • Fosters Empathy and Understanding: Recognizing different perspectives is crucial in conflict resolution. Through stories, children can see the world from someone else’s point of view.
  • Builds Problem-Solving Skills: Resolving conflicts often requires creative problem-solving. Picture books can inspire children to think of innovative solutions.
Two young children, a boy in a blue jacket and a girl in a pink shirt and purple hat, are depicted in picture books about conflict resolution, standing face-to-face with arms crossed in an outdoor

Benefits of Learning Conflict Resolution Strategies

  • Gives your students ways to resolve disagreements independently.
  • Enables your students to prevent disputes from escalating.
  • Gives you more time for teaching and less time managing social issues and disruptions.
  • Improves self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Gives your students life-long skills.

Why Read Picture Books About Conflict Resolution?

Using picture books about conflict resolution lets your students read about different types of conflict and solutions for resolution.

  • Relatable Stories: Picture books feature characters and situations that children can relate to, making the abstract concept of conflict resolution more concrete.
  • Visual and Verbal Cues: The combination of text and illustrations helps convey complex ideas like emotions and social interactions in an accessible way.
  • Promotes Engagement: Picture books capture children’s attention, making them more receptive to learning about difficult topics such as conflict.

They also illustrate:

  • conflict between people is normal; we don’t always agree.
  • how ignoring a conflict can escalate it.
  • how both sides of the conflict are thinking and feeling.
  • the consequences of actions and words.
  • how some conflicts are easily solved others are not.
  • strategies for effective conflict resolution.
Five children of diverse backgrounds sitting together, reading picture books about conflict resolution in a library.

How to Use Picture Books to Teach Conflict Resolution

  • Select Appropriate Books: Choose picture books that depict conflicts and resolutions in a way that is appropriate for the children’s age and development level. Look for stories that present various types of conflicts and multiple ways of resolving them. Scroll down for examples.
  • Discussion and Reflection: After reading, discuss the conflict in the story, focusing on the characters’ feelings, actions, and resolution. Encourage children to reflect on how they might handle similar situations.
  • Creative Expression: Encourage children to draw or write about conflicts they’ve experienced, how they solved them, or how they might solve them differently now.

Questions to Use with Picture Books about Conflict Resolution

  • Why did [character] and [character] disagree/have conflict?
  • What can they do or say to sort out their differences?
  • What advice would you give [character]?
  • Why did [character] start an argument with [character]? What would have been a better way to deal with the situation?
  • What could they have done to stop their conflict from getting out of control?
  • Would the strategies used by [character] be useful to you? How/Why?
  • What was the conflict in the story?
  • How did the characters feel when they encountered the conflict?
  • What steps did the characters take to resolve the conflict?
  • Can you think of a different way to resolve the conflict in the story?
  • Can other people be affected by a conflict between others? How/Why?
  • List effective conflict resolution strategies to deal with disputes and disagreements.
  • Why is it important to resolve conflicts?
  • How do you feel when you’re in a conflict with someone?
  • What role does compromise play in conflict resolution?
  • How can we make sure everyone feels heard during a conflict?
  • Why is it important to understand the other person’s perspective?
  • Can you think of a time you resolved a conflict? How did you do it?
  • How do apologies help in resolving conflicts?
  • How can we ensure a fair resolution for everyone involved?

Picture Books about Conflict Resolution

In this list, you will find characters who show both the positive and negative sides of conflicts. They get angry and frustrated, cool off before reacting, listen to different perspectives, take responsibility for their actions, and work cooperatively to find solutions.

The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World by Katie Smith Milway

Deo flees his home and ends up alone in the Lukole refugee camp in Tanzania. Tensions run high among the kids until a coach organises a football game with a ball made from banana leaves.

The Banana-Leaf Ball promotes discussions on resilience, the power of play, unity, overcoming adversity, and finding common ground. 

A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems

This is the first of two picture books about conflict resolution by Mo Willems. Piggie finds a ball only for a ‘big guy’ (a whale) to take it. Gerald confronts the whale despite his apprehension due to its size. The whale thought the ball was unclaimed and happily shared it.

A Big Guy Took My Ball promotes discussions on sharing, misunderstandings, assumptions, apprehension, courage in the face of fear, and communication in preventing conflicts.

Cheese Belongs to You! by Alexis Deacon

Rat Law is simple: if you find some cheese, it belongs to you unless a bigger rat wants it. When chaos ensues, the rats soon learn cooperation and sharing are more beneficial than continuous competition.

Cheese Belongs to You! explores the struggle for resources, power dynamics, cooperation over competition and understanding rules and their implications.

The Christmas Truce by Carol Ann Duffy

In Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, British and German soldiers in World War I found common ground during a temporary cease-fire. During a temporary cease-fire, they shared songs, stories, and a football game in No Man’s Land.

The Christmas Truce invites discussions on conflict resolution, compromise, recognizing shared humanity amid strife, empathy, peace, and shifting perspectives.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

When Farmer Brown’s cows stumble upon a typewriter, they start typing letters demanding electric blankets. Things escalate quickly as the cows strike, and Duck is the mediator. But the peace doesn’t last long when the ducks have their own demands!

Click, Clack, Moo story promotes dialogue about fair negotiations, communication’s power, and the essence of compromise.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

A box of crayons have decided to quit their jobs. Each crayon leaves a letter for Duncan, their owner, explaining their grievances and requests for improved working conditions.

The Day the Crayons Quit explores communication, perspective-taking, feelings, having a voice, and understanding and responding to the needs and wants of others.

The Day No One Was Angry by Toon Tellegen

In twelve short stories, different animals deal with their unique expressions and experiences of anger. The Day No One Was Angry sparks conversations about understanding anger, empathy, acknowledging and expressing emotions, the impact of our actions on others, and conflict resolution.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

When Jeremy moves into the neighbourhood, he snubs the protagonist. The boy’s father suggests making an enemy pie, but it will only work if he spends the whole day with his enemy (Jeremy). They end up having so much fun the boy doesn’t need the pie.

Enemy Pie promotes discussions on making friends, overcoming prejudices, resolving conflicts, and reevaluating first impressions.

The Fragile World by Alexandra Mîrzac

A conflict, with a long-forgotten reason, exists between the Reds and the Blues in a china cabinet. An all-out war began after the Blues tried to paint the Reds blue. When everything is destroyed, the Reds and Blues realise they are stronger together.

The Fragile World promotes discussions on conflict resolution, tolerance, accepting differences, cooperation and war.

Henry and the Kite Dragon by Bruce Edward Hall

Henry Chu loves helping his friend, Grandfather Chin, create kites in the shapes of butterflies, caterpillars, and dragons. Their peaceful pastime is disturbed when kids from Little Italy throw rocks at their beautiful creations. 

Henry and the Kite Dragon delves into conflict resolution, friendship, family bonds and the love for art.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson

Hiawatha, chief of the Onondaga tribe, overcame many challenges to unite the five Iroquois nations. Translating messages of forgiveness, unity, and peace, he forgives the tribe that killed his family.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker explores peace and unity in resolving conflicts, historical events and their relevance today, and a deeper understanding of indigenous cultures.

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English

Best friends Kishi and Renée are waiting for each other to apologise. They sit on their front porches, but before long, they forget their fight and join in the fun.

Hot Day on Abbott Avenue inspires discussions on conflict resolution, forgiveness, and positive friendships. Friendship’s ups and downs underline that bonds can endure even after a quarrel..

How to Apologize by David LaRochelle

Saying sorry isn’t always easy. This book shows how and why it is important, particularly if the apology is sincere. It looks at different ways to apologize and shows how it is important for the person who receives the apology and the one giving it.

Read How to Apologize to promote discussions on sincerity, self-reflection, taking responsibility for our actions, forgiveness, and conflict resolution.

The Hueys in it Wasn't Me by Oliver Jeffers

Gillespie comes across an argument among a group of Hueys. They keep blaming each other until one Huey asks what they are arguing about. The problem is, no one can remember!

The Hueys in It Wasn’t Me sparks conversations about conflict management, individuality, peaceful resolution, and the value of individual ideas within a group that largely thinks alike.

Kiki Kicks by Jane Yolen

At school, Kiki often feels belittled by bullies who misuse their strength. During the karate lesson, she starts to see positive changes in herself.

Kiki Kicks encourages discussions about self-confidence, conflict, self-empowerment, changing perspectives, and dealing with bullies.

Lenny and Benny by Naama Benziman

Lenny lives by the forest’s edge, tending to his roses, sipping cocoa, and practicing for jumping competitions. However, when Benny moves in nearby and begins to outshine him, Lenny feels envy and rivalry. A modern reimagining of an ancient tale from the Jewish Talmud. 

Lenny and Benny sparks conversations about the impacts of jealousy and competition on relationships and the significance of reconciliation.

The Line in the Sand by Thao Lam

As a monster leaves a line in the sand, two friends stumble upon it, triggering a wave of confusion and suspicion. As they wonder why the line is there and whether they should cross it, they question each other’s intentions, leading to misconceptions and conflicts.

The Line in the Sand discusses misunderstandings, conflict resolution, communication, personal boundaries, empathy, understanding, and peaceful communication.

I Love My New Toy! by Mo Willems

This is the second of two picture books about conflict resolution by Mo Willems. Piggie gets a new toy and can’t wait to share it with her friend Gerald. When Gerald accidentally breaks the toy, it creates tension. With help from a squirrel, they realize their friendship is more important than any toy.

I Love My New Toy! sparks conversations about understanding, forgiveness, conflict resolution and valuing relationships over material things.