Today is the publication day of a beautiful new book called ‘Peace and Me’ which is ‘ illustrated collection of inspirational ideas about peace is based on the lives of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates of the 20th and 21st centuries’. Beautiful in content and illustration, this book is essential reading and a must have for schools.
Amnesty International endorses this book because it shows how standing up for other people makes the world a better, more peaceful place.
A group of JAB Juniors had a good look at this lovely book and were lucky enough to be able to ask the illustrator, Mickaël El Fathi, some questions about it. They were delighted with his responses which you can read here.
Who is your favourite Nobel Peace Prize winner. Why do you think they really deserved to be acknowledged in this way?
I think my favourite is Fridtjof Nansen, because I love polar expedition stories and I like the fact that he finally got involved in something very different from adventure – finding a home for several million refugees. I think nowadays the great adventurers are not the ones who reach the Poles but all those people who leave their country hoping for a better future, with no idea what to expect and which country will host them. We would definitely need another Nansen to find them a home!
I think all the Nobel Peace Prize winners have something interesting to teach us. That's why they have to be acknowledged.
The book is beautifully illustrated, but why did you choose to draw the people instead of using photographs?
It's very easy now to find pictures of the people from this book (for most of them) but what illustration does, and what is interesting about it, is that it shows a personal point of view. For each of them, I wondered: How can I summarize in one illustration all the different aspects of their life? Their backgrounds, their work and all of their accomplishments?
Does the illustrator collect fabrics to inspire their artwork? They have used an amazing range in the book!
I indeed collect pictures of fabrics from all over the world. The fabrics enabled me to show in this book, aside from the Laureates’ achievements, the richness of their cultures. Sometimes, we have a culture’s symbols printed on our clothes and we don't even know where they come from – Iran or South Africa or elsewhere.
Collecting all those pictures of fabrics gives me a chance to learn more about the different cultures and understand the cultures of migrants.
How did you decide which prize winners to include? Did you leave out anyone you wish you could have included?
Choosing which Nobel Prize winners to include in the book wasn't the easiest part! Some Nobel Peace Prize Winners are now controversial because of their disappointing actions after winning the Peace Prize. We decided to focus on the ones who spent all their lives fighting for peace. The author, Ali Winter, did a great job researching the lives and work of all the winners and I think we can be proud of the ones who won the right to be in this book.
Who would you choose as the next Peace Prize winner? Please explain your choice.
I could vote for Vandana Shiva. I think she's been doing an amazing job, dealing with many important issues like women’s rights and agriculture. These are two issues that really need to be discussed and changed, in my point of view.
Happy publication day to this special book!
Peace and Me Ali Winter, illustrated by Mickaël El Fathi
Lantana Publishing ISBN: 978-1911373650