A new book project has a lofty goal: to change the world.
But first it needs to raise the funds to go to print.
War: A Children’s Book is an illustrated children’s book written by my friend Zachary Gallant in collaboration with artist Jenna Frome.
No, it’s not a satirical post-apocalyptic book about a Dick Cheney presidency. It’s what Zach eloquently described to me as a peacemaking tool seeking to mitigate conflict.
The duo wants the book to explain to children the root causes of conflict. They want to teach kids “to stop the next wars before they start, with the next generation of voters and politicians and soldiers.” While Zach’s been mulling over the idea for a while, we’re clearly living in a time of endless war and conflict.
So much so, Zach wrote, they’ve already released the text for free. “In response to the escalating violence in France, from Charlie Hebdo to the mosque bombings to the market hostage situations, which is altogether exemplary of the cycle of violence this book aims to illuminate and halt, we’ve released the text of the book for free.”
Neither Zach nor Frome want to profit off the book. It’s an entirely volunteer operation. A labor of love, too, according to Zach.
If they reach their goal, their plan is to distribute the books for free to public libraries, schools, and peace building NGOs.
After learning about Zach’s fundraiser, I told him I’d love to write about it. But I needed an LGBT angle. We’re a queer paper; we focus on queer news, after all.
So how is an illustrated children’s book about mitigating the causes of violence relevant cause for the LGBT community?
“The narrative of good versus evil, us versus them, this is how wars are portrayed so they’ll gain the support of the public. This process of ‘othering’ is no different than the process by which the LGBTQ community is categorized as subhuman by their detractors, the same as racial violence and ethnic hate,” he wrote via Facebook. “The pages in the book that portray this process in the popularization of war serve to develop a child’s critical thinking against such simplicity and ‘othering’. It teaches that there are no true eternal enemies, there are no innately bad people, and certainly no such thing as an entirely evil religion or country or ethnicity or race or sexual orientation.”
They have 29 days to raise a little more than the remaining $15,000 necessary to print the project. For a project with positive, if not revolutionary long-term consequences, a couple of books seem worth it.