Author: Maya Angelou
Illustrator: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Publisher: Schwartz and Wade Books
Audience: Ages 6-9
Summary: This poem by Maya Angelou begins as an African American family trudges through the cold snow wondering if God is indeed still there. As the family continues on their journey they see the lights of Christmas and begin to witness scenes that bring peace, joy, and hope to mind. The family meets others in the community along the way: a glassmaker, trumpet player, and people of different races and religions who are out on the crisp, cold night. The community gathers together at the Town Hall to light candles and go out to sing of the peace that Christmas brings.
Literary elements at work in the story: The plot in this poem is a key literary element. One family begins a journey in the snow and they meet others all along the way. With each stanza and illustration, the reader witnesses more members of the diverse community coming together to celebrate the peace of Christmas. What began as a journey for one family unit comes full circle and ends as the entire community comes together as one.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: The artwork that accompanies this poem does an incredible job of illustrating a diverse community that is made of people from all walks of life. Sometimes when Christmas comes around, people can be found celebrating with “those who are like them.” This poem and the artwork show how a whole community crosses racial and cultural barriers to be one people celebrating the peace, hope, and joy that Christmas brings.
Scripture: Romans 14:19, Ephesians 4:2-6, James 3:18
Theology: We are called to act in those ways which lead to peace. We are called to bear with one another in love and continue to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace. When we strive to be peacemakers, a harvest of righteousness will be produced.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What changes from the beginning of the poem to the end in the artwork?
- What is the world encouraged to come away from in this poem?
- Why do you think the poet refers to Christmas as the “glad season?”
- How can hope make things in the world seem brighter?
- What do you think it means when the poet refers to hate as “crouching in dark corridors?”
- How can we “hear” and “see” peace at Christmas?
- How does the illustration of all the people gathered around the table with lit candles make you feel?
- What is the promise of peace?
Review prepared by Marcia Rauch, MACE, Entering Cohort Fall 2006
Amazing Peace by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.