Growing Communities for Peace


We moved to “Growing Communities for Peace” from Smart Tools for Life! Bookmark this page and subscribe to the blog to keep up to date.

Memorable and engaging books and music for young children that support personal peace and well-being and sink deeply — for life — into children’s hearts and minds.

Chosen as Human Relations Indie Peace Book of the Year

We assist in guiding children, our leaders of tomorrow, to imagine and create peaceful communities.  Like Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss and others, we show children important life and social skills in stories.

Now Available!

The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer

Amazing play from The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer!

This exciting adventure brings to light the real-life struggles of children. Readers of all ages are reminded of the importance of belonging for mental and physical health. The extensive Parent and Educator Guide provides several lesson plans.

In this story, a forlorn and hungry refugee dog wanders into the barnyard and common real-life concerns about newcomers are played out by barnyard animals. Portland Pig wonders how this dog will be fed, while others wonder if he’s dangerous. “Dogs bite!” says Ol’ Dot, one of the horses. Ultimately, the characters figure out a way to act compassionately!

Boy studying
Learn how the “I STOP for Peace Campaign” can benefit your child/ren. Submit a story!
The cover of The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace book
Find the books and music by clicking the picture
Children’s music disk cover
Upbeat, singable and transformational music!

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Share Smart Tools for Life with Others!

Develop the leaders of tomorrow by sharing these smart tools for life with your children, friends, and co-workers. Together we can co-create a culture we all want to live in.

Make a donation to Growing Communities for Peace, a nonprofit organization
STOP for Peace Coloring page
STOP for Peace coloring page
I STOp for Peace CD cover
Get a free music sample!

Benefits of Smart Tools for Life materials

Read aloud books and engaging music are an educational journey for all. We have a skilled team with 50 years experience in creating “smart tools” for children and guiding parents and educators so you know you are using effective strategies for:

  • peace building, peacemaking, and peacekeeping
  • peace education
  • conflict resolution and conflict transformation
  • developing peace literacy — guiding kids to see, be, and wage peace
  • helping kids learn and practice kindness and compassion 
  • moving beyond isolation as individuals, in classrooms, homes, and communities
  • enhancing critical thinking and building civic skills while holding on to kindness

Children love our books and music! Gaining their interest and participation is easy!

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Julie Penshorn, MBC & Rebecca Janke, M.Ed.

Our Work

Our work is rooted in 50 years of caring, including intensive study of peace education, both on the floor and in the trenches with children, and talking with and learning from teachers and parents in our educational programs. Our first-hand experiences, along with our extensive study of new discoveries from thought leaders the world over, have helped us to select key materials and concepts to provide here, that are both useable and doable, and answer many of the questions you may have about how to provide your children with smart tools for their lives.

Watch Julie Penshorn give an Interview about the books!

Our blog will assist you in guiding children to be

Independent, peaceful problem solving with adults and other children

Enhanced self-assurance and self-confidence

Increased appreciation of diversity

More development of the natural peacemaking tendencies inherent in childhood

More skills for speaking truth to power

An increased ability to handle and peacefully express their emotions

Better ability to dialogue when in disagreement or conflict

More awareness and skills for peacemaking, peacebuilding, and peacekeeping

Enhanced appreciation and love of the Earth

Development of each individual’s full potential

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