Kids listen to a sober tale

MILL CREEK — Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker came to a Snohomish County school Monday to read from her latest children’s book “Why War Is Never a Good Idea.”

Walker spoke to a packed assembly of more than 500 students at Cedar Wood Elementary School, where teachers dressed in purple and students’ artwork depicting scenes from Walker’s poems hung on the walls.

The novelist best known for writing “The Color Purple,” talked about growing up with her sharecropper parents in Georgia and her black Labrador, Marley, and she read from her new book that talks about the destructiveness of war. On Monday night, she was to speak in Seattle.

Before reading at Cedar Wood Elementary, Walker asked children to raise their hands if they were aware of the war being fought in Iraq.

Nearly every student’s hand was raised.

“In every country where there is war, there are children, just like you,” Walker said. “This is something we need to think about, even when we are as young as you are.”

The book’s illustrations spanned the globe, showing mostly rural scenes from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

One illustration showed frogs on a lily pad, about to be flattened by a camouflaged truck tire.

“Though war knows every language, it never knows what to say to frogs,” she said, reading from her book. “They do not see war.”

David Jones, the principal of Cedar Wood Elementary, said learning about an author’s motivation is an important requirement of state standards for reading.

Hearing the author speak about what influenced her writing and what she hopes to accomplish with it is powerful, he said.

“It helps kids really analyze and think clearly about what they have read,” Jones said.

Dianne Lundberg, teacher-librarian at the school, helped coordinate the talk with the University Book Store in Mill Creek as it promotes Walker’s new book.

“It is a profound book,” Lundberg said.

Before the assembly, Lundberg gave children a slide show presentation on Walker’s life, telling them about an injury as a child that left Walker blind in one eye.

After the assembly, a handful of students lined up next to Walker and asked questions about writing and her dog.

Arie Martinet, a fourth-grade student who visited the library after the assembly, said she enjoyed the talk.

“It was really inspiring,” Martinet said. “War is never a good idea. We’re all human and we can get along nicely so why should there be war?”

Reporter David Chircop: 425-339-3429 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Jason Cummings in an interview with The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington on Monday, May 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County prosecutors declined 3,000 felony cases in 2022. Why?

A pandemic backlog and inexperienced cops begin to explain the trend, even as police raise the alarm about rising crime.

Most Read