Battles, protests, standoffs, strikes. We hear about them all the time. On the surface, a battle and a protest don't seem to have much in common, but they're really just two ways of handling a dispute. One uses violence, the other uses signs and picket lines. But both start as a disagreement between two groups of people. Both are conflicts.
Since it's impossible for people to agree on everything all the time, conflicts naturally pop up every day, all over the world. Sometimes they turn into full-blown wars, which can be a lot trickier to understand than the conflicts that pop up in everyday life, but every conflict has some things in common.
Using real world examples, Why Do We Fight?teaches kids to recognize the structures, factors, and complex histories that go into creating conflicts, whether personal or global -- as well as the similarities between both. They'll be given tools to seek out information, enabling them to make informed opinions while learning to respect that others may form different ones.
From culture clashes and trade disputes to disagreements about how to govern, Why Do We Fight?insists that the key to fulfilling humankind's wish for "world peace" lies in how we choose to deal with conflict and provides a genuine cause for optimism in the face of an at-times frightening world.
Grades 5-8. Aside from a quick recap of historical conflicts in Afghanistan, Walker steers clear of specifics and presents general overviews of world problems and the methods for resolving global and civil strife. Neither picture is a neat one—innumerable combinations of social, economic, and political factors spark and fuel wars, and (particularly in the modern era) peace is less a quantifiable state than a fragile, incremental process. Yet even unreflective readers will come away understanding, as one of the sidebar quotes (attributed here to Spinoza) puts it, that “no matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides.” Aside from occasional maps or charts there are no illustrations, but frequent sidebars and insertions in different sizes or weights of type enhance readability. Walker only occasionally links her analysis to readers’ conflicts and lays out no itemized blueprints or activities for waging peace. Still, she does make a strong case for the importance of open communication, and that’s a good start.