ARTS & CULTURE

'Painting For Peace' Picture Book Helps Children Cope With Recent Events In Ferguson

02/20/2015 08:12 am ET | Updated Feb 20, 2015

It's trying, if not impossible, for grown adults to make sense of the devastating recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and related happenings around the country. If we can hardly understand how such shameful actions could occur, and can barely express ourselves regarding the national tragedy, how are children even supposed to begin?

A new children's book, titled "Painting for Peace in Ferguson," is out to try. The colorful storybook, written by Ferguson-born author Carol Swartout Klein, tells the true story of the hundreds of artists and citizens who came together in the face of violence and darkness to create beautiful images of hope and peace.

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Over 300 people participated in the Paint for Peace St. Louis effort, using the simple and powerful tool of paint to transform the plywood windows on boarded up businesses onto vibrant canvases and messages of love. The book features over 140 artworks spread throughout several miles in Ferguson, Dellwood and South Grand in St. Louis City, each spreading a positive that both children and adults need to heal.

Klein returned to her childhood home just after the riots around Thanksgiving weekend to see how she could help. She was moved by the number of individuals who spent their holiday weekend giving back to the community, spreading images of hope and healing in the worst of times. "The real essence of the book is empowerment," Klein explains in a statement, "and that if we all do what we can to make our community a better place, amazing things, like hundreds of pieces of art springing up in a matter of days — which changed the outlook and spirit of an entire town — can be the result."

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