John Lennon, illustrated by Jean Jullien
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
In this illustrated version of Lennon’s 1971 anthem to peace, published in partnership with Amnesty International, (royalties from the sale of the book go to the charity) illustrator Jean Jullien uses a pigeon instead of the usual peace dove to carry its message around the globe, asking readers to imagine a world without possessions, without greed or hunger a world where everyone is part of a universal brotherhood, sharing and caring for all; without countries or religion, with nothing to kill or die for.
We first see this feathered ambassador of peace emerging from the underground train, bag slung around its neck and then he takes off on his mission over land and sea …
The pigeon’s focus as it wings its way around the earth distributing olive branches to its fellow feathered friends, is on fairness and sharing …
and culminates in an uplifting embrace for all the birds seen on his flight. (They too have become peace messengers.)
The artist’s boldly outlined images, digitally coloured and set against backgrounds of eggshell blue, white, purple or orange have a simple, heartfelt poignancy that make this beautiful book the perfect starting point for introducing Lennon’s message of tolerance, understanding, inclusiveness, unity and peace to today’s children. It’s certainly as relevant as when it was written over 45 years ago: indeed, we desperately need it now even more than ever.
Published on 21st September, International Day of Peace, let’s all pause and … Imagine.