By Marilee Peters. Annick Press, 2016. 136 pages. $19.95/hardcover; $12.95/paperback. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” —Nelson Mandela
Making It Right is a very practical book on everyday peacemaking for children and teens. It wouldn’t hurt adults to read it, too. Canadian author Marilee Peters tells real-life stories of injury, damage, and anger becoming stories of listening, reparation, cooperation, and friendship. Along the way, she shows the steps of restorative justice with easy-to-understand examples from diverse cultures around the world, including a community of chimpanzees.
She tells us the major shortcomings of many criminal justice systems and offers a grassroots problem-solving method that can help people avoid juvenile detention and jail while learning how to take responsibility for working things out. The role of mediator is clearly shown as instrumental in reaching agreements that settle conflicts. The net effect is empowering the victims, the perpetrators, the bystanders, and the community.
Making It Right is on our recommended reading list for teachers of every grade level and for students in fourth to ninth grades. Parents will find it helpful as it offers alternatives to punishment and works toward developing empathy and responsibility. Facilitators in the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and other similar projects will find stories their participants can relate to.