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Children's Nonfiction Violence

Why Do We Fight?

Conflict, War, and Peace

by (author) Niki Walker

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
Violence, Military & Wars, Prejudice & Racism, Politics & Government
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14


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.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association Red Maple (Non-Fiction) Award
  • Long-listed, Canadian Children's Literature Roundtable's Information Book Award
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens
  • Commended, IRA Notable Book for a Global Society
  • Long-listed, Cybils Awards, Elementary/Middle-Grade Nonfiction category
  • Commended, One of New York Public Library's "10 Nonfiction Titles You May Have Missed: Fall 2013 (YA)"
  • Commended, Bank Street College of Education's list of Best Children's Books of 2013 (for ages 9-12)
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets Top 10 Junior Non-Fiction List
  • Short-listed, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award, Juvenile Non-fiction category

Editorial Reviews

truly remarkable .. very sophisticated yet accessible

Tikkun Daily

"Walker is a talented writer who offers great wisdom in a compact edition."

Green Teacher Magazine

"An engaging and accessible overview to peace and conflict studies. ... It would be a welcome addition to school libraries, middle school classrooms, and home collections."

International Journal on World Peace

"Recently, we here at Annie Wright Schools discovered Niki Walker's fantastic Why Do We Fight?. Our fifth grade teachers were so impressed by the selection that they immediately ordered 20 copies to serve as class texts for their unit on Peace and Conflict. Since we use the Primary Years Program through International Baccalaureate, we love any text that starts with concepts and then encourages students to search out real-world instances of those conflicts through research and observation. Why Do We Fight? is perfect for this."

Annie Wright Schools, Tacoma, WA

Walker offers clear, concise explanations of power and resource inequities, cultural divisions, the global role of the United Nations, bias, prejudice, and more...[she] gives readers the tools to understand anda analyze the kinds of clashes, wars, and disagreements that they regularly hear about in the news.

Publishers Weekly

an important source for children expressing an early interest in politics and social justice.

ForeWord Reviews

"Author Niki Walker gives readers conceptual straight talk about the nature of domestic and international unrest ... everyone needs some guidance on how to make sense of it all. Why Do We Fight? helps kids take those first steps."

Spectrum Culture

"A useful tool for the classroom teacher, Why Do We Fight? will not only provide a springboard for lively group discussions, but it will also help middle school students to examine conflicts from several perspectives."

CM Magazine

brilliantly takes the complicated subject of war and breaks it down in an unbiased, sensible, easy to understand manner ... I have yet to see any other book like this.

What They Don't Teach You in School You'll Learn Here

an excellent resource for social studies classes ... share Why Do We Fight with students to offer them hope that conflicts do not have to mean war for their generation.

The Nonfiction Detectives

a witty, easy to read, no nonsense book about the definitions, philosophies and roots of conflict.

Walker does an excellent job of breaking down the basics of conflict...[this] will have a longer shelf life than other informational texts as it won't go out of date quickly. Teachers could build seminars and lessons around each chapters, and interested students will find much to think about.

School Library Journal

...provides a much needs social studies gap filler... [while] encouraging the reader to think independently; it isn't what you think, but HOW you think. The writing is clear and appropriate for the audience; in one section, she uses the analogy of high school to explain the social, economic, and political interaction of countries.

Ingram Content

"Valuable for its nonjudgmental tone, this is also a rich resource for conflict-related terms."

School Library Monthly

"With the popularity of dystopian novels and almost daily news stories of conflict somewhere in the world, Why Do We Fight? is a timely book for any library."


[An] exemplary study of the reasons disagreements arise and how they can be addressed.

Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Other titles by Niki Walker