By Niki Walker. Owlkids Books 2013: $16.95.
Why Do We Fight? is a conversation between the author and young people about conflict. Niki Walker sets out to define how conflicts start, how they develop and could be resolved, in language and with examples familiar to students—how to cooperate, to play fairly and to divide a cake evenly with both friends and newcomers.
From the beginning she compares these disputes and ways of dealing with them to global conflicts, listing causes such as ethnicity and religions, land, access to water and food, and history, with Afghanistan as the model.
Young readers learn that concepts such as power, negotiation, prejudice, propaganda, and enmity apply to their own lives, and that democracies almost never go to war against each other. Her book is strikingly illustrated, with a reliable index, and would be a useful addition to any teachers’ college resource centre, faculty of education libraries or school libraries—if they still exist.
Reviewed by Penny Sanger, a peace educator in Ottawa.