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Children's Fiction General

The Garden of Peace

by (author) Navjot Kaur

illustrated by Nana Sakata

Saffron Press Publishing House Inc.
Initial publish date
May 2017
General, Prejudice & Racism, Diversity & Multicultural
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2017
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 9
  • Grade: 3 to 4


When five ugly and dried up seeds are found, Elders and little ones wonder if they will grow anything at all. Some throw the seeds aside, while others hold out hope. An allegory rooted in the social despair of a time not too contrary to our own. With a tyrant ruler and unfair social class system, discover how a nation-building event in Sikh history harvested citizens of change. This Own Voices narrative is a call to action for all who care about issues of social justice. Wondering how to become a citizen of change? At the back of the book, find five steps on how to grow your own garden of peace.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Navjot Kaur is the trailblazer behind Saffron Press - a socially conscious, small independent press, creating stories to inspire little citizens of change. She is a daughter of immigrants, sister to five siblings and cisgender Mum. Navjot has been advocating for greater equity and representation of the Sikh identity in children's literature for over a decade, through her books and professional facilitation sessions with school districts and undergraduate students. Throughout her years as a classroom teacher, Navjot strived to explore curriculum through an antibias antiracist lens, especially when amplifying issues of social justice with young persons. She continues that work, now as a publisher and author of three titles, with her first A Lion's Mane winning an Honor Books Award for Multicultural and International Awareness.

Navjot resides with gratitude on the traditional territory of the Mississauga of Scugog Island First Nation, (Whitby, Ontario) with a mighty leader in Equity and their gentle warrior of change.

Editorial Reviews

Exquisitely designed with a complex and rich story, THE GARDEN OF PEACE is a beautiful tale of culture and agents of change.

Based on events in Sikh history, this story teaches readers about human rights and the origin of traditions such as the Sikh turban in an allegorical style involving five seeds and the City of Happiness. It is a very complex story that definitely requires multiple reads and study of the author's note to truly begin to understand, but due to the sparseness of the text and gorgeous illustrations, it can still be shared with even the youngest of readers on a more superficial level. THE GARDEN OF PEACE will spark much discussion with children and students, and can be interpreted and applied to circumstances throughout our world beyond the historical basis of the story.

As a school librarian, I highly recommend this #ownvoices story for purchase in school libraries and classrooms, especially upper elementary grades and middle/high school. Picture books such as this one serve as teaching tools for all ages, and stories like this one bring cultures and religions to new audiences in an accessible format. MOM NOTE: My 11 YO well-read daughter read and absolutely loved this story and thinks her 5th grade teacher last year would have definitely read this book to her class.

And did I mention how absolutely beautiful this book is? I can't say it enough - I honestly want this book on my personal bookshelf for the sheer beauty of it. All books from this Canadian independent publisher are available on the publisher website:

Kate Olson, Goodreads/mindful.librarian

Kaur's text deftly parallels nature and human society, giving readers much to think about and expanding the curricular reach of The Garden of Peace. In addition, the story presents the origins of the Sikh religion and can spur further exploration and comparison of belief systems. The watercolor illustrations balance vignettes with two-page spreads, and among the spreads is a useful map of South Asia that shows the location of the Garden of Peace and the places where Sikhism originated. A lovely final surprise is the final end papers that illustrate the various "Citizens of Change": the free thinker, the storyteller, warriors of change, the poet, the melody maker, and the dream chaser. Through this picture and the text, children can identify the talents that will help them bring about change.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann, The Pirate Tree Social Justice and Children's Literature

Other titles by Navjot Kaur