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Penumbra Press

Kids' Activities

Jane Lind presents ...

Passing the Peace

A Counting Book for Children

Written and illustrated by Diane Brookes

Theme: Canada's Story, Ages 5 to 8

Passing the Peace

This unique counting book is rooted in the North as place. Its simplicity can be deceiving because, in fact, something different happens on each page and there are several levels of meaning.

The cover illustration is a key to finding out what happens in the pictures throughout the book. A white dove with a red heart in its beak approaches a circle of ten parka-clad figures. The page illustrating number one shows the same ten figures, but now one of them has a red heart on the parka front and stands against a yellow background. Printed on the other half of the spread is the number one in four languages: English; French; Inuinnaqtun, the dialect of the Central Inuit; and Inuktitut, the dialect of the Eastern Inuit written in syllabics. For number two, two figures have a red heart, and the two join hands, and so on throughout the book.

The author-illustrator has used cut-out felt pieces to make the illustrations and then photographed them. This technique--especially appropriate because some of the Inuit artists use felt in their wall hangings--results in simple pictures in bright colours. As the numbers build, the figures join hands and gain a heart on the front of the parka, and the yellow area grows behind them.

The book is ideal for use with young children because it provides a basis for discussion of characteristics of our country and can elicit children's ideas about the levels of meaning in the various components of the book: the title, the dove, the gradual joining of hands, the four different languages, and the complete circle with all the figures holding hands in the end.

Resources and Materials

Map of Canada
Stapler with staples
Drawing materials
Pieces of felt
White glue
Posters or photos of Inuit wall hangings
(for example, Arts Manitoba magazine, Fall 1984 (Vol. 3 No. 4l) contains an illustrated article about Jessie Oonark's art)


1. What does "peace" mean?

2. What does the title mean?

3. What is the dove doing?

4. Why are the numbers written in these four languages?

5. Where do the people live who speak Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun? (Use a map to locate the Arctic)

6. What other languages might the writer have included?

7. Why do we speak many different languages in our country?

8. How do you think the artist made the pictures?


1. Make a number wall hanging for the classroom. Use a large piece of plain fabric for the background and have the children cut out the images in felt. For example, cut out a large felt tree and let the children cut out ten red apples that can be put on and off the tree for counting activities.

2. Make counting books. Staple together sheets of paper. Let the children cut shapes of coloured paper or felt to create their own pictures on the left side of each spread and write the numbers in their own languages and in numerals on the right side of the spread. Suggest images of the Canadian landscape as the theme for the books. For example, a landscape with Canada geese in the sky, one for each number, or a woodland scene with deer or the tundra with caribou.

3. For a language lesson, make enlarged parka figures like those in the book in brightly coloured pieces of felt for a colour wall chart. Write the names each of the colours on a pieces of paper that the children can match to the correct colour. They can also make their own colour charts and write the names of the colours.

from the
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind

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