Hardcover: 978-1-942146-19-3
Paperback: 978-1-942146-12-4
eBook: 978-1-942146-13-1

Raising Peacemakers

Raising Peacemakers by Esther Sokolov Fine tells a twenty-two year story of kids growing up with peacemaking as their foundation. At Downtown Alternative School (DAS), a small public elementary school in Toronto, child-to-child conflicts were understood as opportunities. Children and adults worked hard to create a warm inclusive community where differing viewpoints and disagreements could be handled fairly and safely.

While the book includes documentation and transcripts, it’s a narrative rather than an academic text. It’s the author’s story and many stories. It’s a trail of re-thinking, negotiating and re-negotiating, solving and re-solving (occasionally resolving) teaching and learning dilemmas. It’s a tale of one school’s brave and optimistic effort to create and sustain healthy, safe, equitable, and academically relevant conditions for and with people whose lives were and are at stake in public education. It’s about children and adults growing together as they discover more about what it means (and what it takes) to become responsible citizens who care about each other, about their community, and about the world.

Between their many inevitable conflicts, encouraged by adults, DAS children established their own rituals. They would double-cross their arms and clasp fingers in a group handshake to mark the conclusion of “a peacemaking.” They would wipe away tears, giggle, move on to other things, or resume their play. They were learning to express themselves, listen, and include. The adults learned to hold back, hover, and accept what for the children constituted resolution, even when they (the adults) did not always fully get it.

The DAS community was dedicated to the serious work, and to the joy, of respectful relationships and power sharing. This book invites you to step back more than twenty years to learn about how this began and what keeps it alive to this day.

Purchase Raising Peacemakers

Available in hardcover, paperback and ebook.

Raising Peacemakers shows that an authentic approach to managing child-to-child conflicts, learned in kindergarten, stayed with young children as they grew into adolescence and adulthood.

Carole Edelsky

Esther Fine’s stories let readers learn how “doing peace” made and sustained lasting, positive changes in students’ lives.

Patrick Willard Shannon

A stellar book for parents, teachers and all who care about the next generation.

Amazon Customer

Amazon

Entertainingly written, “Raising Peacemakers” should be read by anyone who deals with disagreements, whether between children, between adults or between entire nations.

Amazon Customer

Amazon

GARN PRESS AUTHOR

ESTHER SOKOLOV FINE

Esther Sokolov Fine is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she has taught since 1991. Before coming to York, she was an elementary teacher with the Toronto Board of Education. There, she taught in downtown public housing communities and alternative programs, including four years at the Downtown Alternative School (DAS). The book Children as Peacemakers (1995), which she co-authored with teachers Ann Lacey and Joan Baer, presents a history of the Downtown Alternative School and tells about the early years of peacemaking.

Reflecting on her own early life, Esther writes: “The best part of school was when librarian Mrs. Barnes and some of our homeroom teachers read aloud from wonderful books. The worst part was the long walk home from school, crossing the vacant lot by myself on a narrow path that led to Lilac Street.”

Since 1993 Esther has been engaged in video research with the same group of students, teachers and parents. In this research (largely funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada—SSHRC) she and filmmaker Roberta King have watched these children grow up and filmed and interviewed many of them, their families, and their teachers across this 20+ year period. Details and edited film from this work can be seen at www.childrenaspeacemakers.ca. A feature documentary, Life at School: the DAS Tapes, was launched in 2001.

Esther teaches pre-service and graduate courses in creative writing, literacy, adolescent and children’s literature, critical pedagogy, and models (alternative models) of education. She was born in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan where, in 1968, she won a Hopwood Award for fiction. Esther completed her doctoral studies in 1990 at the University of Toronto (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) and her MFA in creative writing in 2003 at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Esther has lived in Toronto since the 1960s. She has an adult daughter, Keira, who possesses outstanding social skills and makes her mother proud and grateful every day.

Esther Sokolov Fine

Esther Sokolov Fine

Garn Press Author

Esther Sokolov Fine is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she has taught since 1991. Esther teaches pre-service and graduate courses in creative writing, literacy, adolescent and children’s literature, critical pedagogy, and models (alternative models) of education.

Esther Sokolov Fine Videos

Esther Sokolov Fine is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she has taught since 1991. Esther teaches pre-service and graduate courses in creative writing, literacy, adolescent and children’s literature, critical pedagogy, and models (alternative models) of education.

Esther Sokolov Fine Photos

Esther Sokolov Fine is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she has taught since 1991. Esther teaches pre-service and graduate courses in creative writing, literacy, adolescent and children’s literature, critical pedagogy, and models (alternative models) of education.

Esther Sokolov Fine News

Esther Sokolov Fine is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, in Toronto, Canada, where she has taught since 1991. Esther teaches pre-service and graduate courses in creative writing, literacy, adolescent and children’s literature, critical pedagogy, and models (alternative models) of education.

Raising Peacemakers – Book, Tote Bag and Coffee Mug

Raising Peacemakers by Garn Press Author Esther Sokolov Fine - Book, Tote Bag and Coffee Mug About Raising Peacemakers Raising Peacemakers by Esther Sokolov Fine tells a twenty-two year story of kids growing up with peacemaking as their foundation. At...

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Raising Peacemakers: Peacemaking as a Tool for Change

Raising Peacemakers: Peacemaking as a Tool for Change (eBook on Sale $4.95 in the month of February) At Garn Press we consider Esther Sokolov Fine’s book Raising Peacemakers an antidote to the Common Core and high stakes tests. It is a book for every teacher who is...

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