In her children’s book titled “A Little Peace of Me,” Madeleine Lippey ’14 seeks to raise awareness about global conflict and issues by following the dreams for peace of a Middle Eastern boy, a South African girl and an American boy.
“A Little Peace of Me” includes a foreword by Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.
Lippey self-published her book on October 12. Profits from book sales will benefit the Ubuntu Education Fund, a South African organization dedicated to providing health care and education for impoverished children, especially those suffering from HIV/AIDS or domestic abuse.
“A Little Peace of Me” reflects on global issues such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East from a children’s perspective, focusing on the theme of a common wish for peace.
“My message with this book is [that] while where you come from has a huge impact on you as a person and who you turn out to be, I don’t think that it really defines you. And I think that people who live in such different worlds under such different circumstances can really connect with each other and work for a better world, for a peaceful world,” said Lippey.
“My objective was to have it be the kind of story that you read when you’re younger, and then when you look back on it in 10 years, you really understand it. I really want it to be the beginning of [understanding global issues] for a kid or for an adult,” she continued.
In his foreword, Tutu wrote, “[‘A Little Peace of Me’] embodies the philosophy of ubuntu, which speaks to the very essence of what it means to be human. Ubuntu is rooted in the idea of human interconnectedness; you can’t be human all by yourself, and when you possess this quality—ubuntu—you are known for your generosity.”
Tutu is the patron of the Ubuntu Education Fund, with which Lippey has worked for the past four years in South Africa.
“On a whim, I wrote an e-mail to him through the head of the organization. I really was not expecting anything back at all, but his office responded that he would be glad to write something, as he loved the book,” said Lippey.
Lippey’s service work in South Africa and the Middle East shaped the book’s characters and story.
“I have been working with girls in South Africa who have HIV or who have been abused for the past two years now… I think that [the South African girl, Victorious] is really their character in my book; [Victorious] is based on seven girls, not just one of those girls but all of those girls—their message, and their story, and their streets and their places,” said Lippey.
Lippey was also motivated to write the book after attending a program with Seeds of Peace, an organization that aims to connect youth from conflict regions to promote a future of peace, according to the organization’s website. The international program that Lippey attended in Maine brought together teenagers from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and other regions in the Middle East for discussion.
Lippey’s experiences at Seeds of Peace are reflected in “A Little Peace of Me,” specifically in the character of the Middle Eastern boy. In the book, the boy wishes he could play with a toy rocket rather than be threatened by a real rocket.
“[At Seeds of Peace], there were Israelis and Palestinians in the room, and as the American, it was kind of my job to facilitate. So I would listen to them tell their stories and talk about the experiences of their lives every day. One told a story of how a rocket had exploded just 10 minutes from their house. I think that it was the personal reflections that really inspired me,” said Lippey.
Having a six-year-old brother inspired Lippey to write about global issues and peace in the format of a children’s book.
“I was reading a lot of kids’ stories to my little brother and when I got back from Seeds of Peace, I thought it would be really cool if littler kids could understand [global] issues in a way that was age-appropriate,” said Lippey.
“My brother loved it, which made me really happy. He was my first audience,” she said.
Lippey founded the Do Write Campaign in 2011, a non-profit foundation that aims to promote discussion and understanding between teenagers from around the world through art and writing, according to its website.
Lippey hopes to continue writing in the future. “I want to write an actual novel, not just a kid’s book. I think this was the start for me,” she said.
“A Little Peace of Me” has already been stocked at a Canadian bookstore, and she estimates that about 50 copies of the book have been sold so far. It is currently available on Amazon.