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Smart Tools for life brings peace education to ages 3 to 8, through unique, engaging, memorable, child-centered children's books and children's music, designed to support a culture of peace.

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The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace - 2017

The delightful Barnyard Buddies engage everyone as they show how to use peaceful conflict resolution and dialogue for problem-solving! This rhyming, richly illustrated children's book, for ages 3 to 8, conveys important social skills and anger management tools. With a wonderful Parent and Educator Guide, and a complete Mentor Program Guide included, this is a comprehensive smart tool! Plus, kids love it!

The Barnyard Buddies are angry because King is taking all the space under the shelter. After they stop and breathe, and get guidance from a wise owl, they can hear how King is hurt and lonely and solve the problem. 

Children develop skills for anger management, empathy, and compassion -- Keys to success in life. They relate to the loveable characters, whose emotions are charmingly revealed by artist Jorry Keith. The heartfelt way Julie Penshorn presents this topic, the sensitive illustrations, and the music that supports the learning, make this book a necessity in homes, classrooms, and libraries.

S -- STOP and Breathe

T -- Tell how you feel.

O -- Open your mind (brainstorm).

P -- Plan a deal.

When people can safely speak from their hearts, they can most often find solutions that work for all. If they can't, they need to go back to step O and brainstorm more ideas. The book includes a parent and teacher guide and questions for discussion.  Music notation for the “STOP for Peace” song also is included, to reinforce the learning. Designed for schools, homes, preschools, daycares, and churches. Kids love it! Share "The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace," and make a real difference!  What a way to change the world, one child at a time! Order at and then please review! Your review is one way to change the world with your opinion! At Amazon, you can sign up for Amazonsmile. Then choose Growing Communities for Peace as the nonprofit you wish to support with your purchases. That's a simple way to show you care about peace and it costs you nothing!

"The message is relevant and the author puts it across beautifully with the help of animal characters. The illustrations are charming and they not only give the animal's personality but also breathe life into them and the scenes. It is a good story for reading aloud and story-telling sessions in classrooms because of the message it conveys. It teaches readers how to express their feelings and communicate properly. The story is good for bedtime story-telling and children will love all the animals. Books with a message and concept like this one are good for children to help them understand the concept and message clearly via a story and interesting characters, as in this one. This is definitely a must-have in all children’s libraries and homes as it helps them to resolve problems in a peaceful manner."
Review - Readers Favorite

"The biggest part of this book was the lesson contained therein. “STOP” is an acronym for the steps the animals took to control their anger or stress. “S” stands for “Stop and breathe”, the first step. “T” is “Tell how you feel”. “O” stands for “Open your mind”, and “P” means “Plan a deal”. In the book, Mrs. McCloud briefly explains each step while helping the animals. At the end of the book is a “Parent and Teacher Guide” that elaborates the whole concept and is a great teaching tool. After the guide, the book includes the musical notation for a version children can sing."
Review - Online Book Club



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Hardcover-perfect bound softcover

Written by Julie D. Penshorn, MBC, Content edited by Rebecca Janke, M.Ed., Illustrated by Jorry Keith
Published by Growing Communities for Peace: Smart Tools for Life. 651-257-9825. Smart Tools for Life is an ongoing project of the non-profit organization, Growing Communities for Peace (501 c3).


The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace Book REVIEWS

". . . a fitting addition to Julie Penshorn’s impressive career as a published author, talented musician, dedicated peace educator, accomplished horse trainer, and teacher. In this well written and beautifully illustrated book, she combines her passions by featuring horses and other animals, along with a musical composition, in a brief but powerful conflict resolution message for young children. The first in a series of books with similar themes, it teaches simple, easily understood peacemaking skills while holding the attention of children and providing them with tools that they can carry into adulthood. It is a fun way to start children on the peacemaking path. I highly recommend it for families, teachers, and anyone else who wants to have a more peaceful world."  Burt Berlowe, Journalist

“. . . a rare and important message for our children. My daughter loved the pictures! The characters are relatable, cute, and present a simple and practical way of addressing conflict. If everyone practiced the STOP method, the world would be a more peaceful place.”
Kristin Markstrom, parent, BSN, RN, PHN

“This is a welcome publication. . . this book is a heartening sign that all is not lost and there is yet hope for us, our children, our nation, and our world.” Gary B. Wilhelm, MD, parent, Colonel [Retired] Army of the United States

“This book gives wonderful strategies for conflict resolution for young children! I love the song that’s included. Kids will remember this process forever when they sing the song repeatedly. Bravo!” Nancy Bowley, Music teacher

“I love this! A conflict resolution process that is easy, fun and engaging. I can’t wait to read the next Barnyard Buddies books to my daughter! Along with the valuable teacher/parent guide, this book taps into the ways children learn best.” Rebecca Kelton, parent, RN

Smart Tools for Life Children's Music

I STOP for Peace music
Physical CDs - UPC-798577051821
Electronic – UPC- 191061745648


"I STOP for Peace" companion CD to "The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace", also by Julie Penshorn, further builds the skills, and carries them deep into the unconscious mind so they are never forgotten. Each step has its own lively, engaging, fun song. Genres range from folk, and country, to bluegrass and even jazz.

A turn-key conflict resolution process! When it comes to learning important skills, and placing that learning deep into the unconscious, there is nothing better than sing-along, memorable music! This album is contagious! When you share this upbeat, folksy, country and bluegrass music, you are giving a smart tool for life to the children who listen. Each step of the S.T.O.P. process (see book) has its own song. This music complements "The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace" children's book, and is designed to hold children’s interest and help them dialogue about conflict in a non-threatening way. The book and music together form a complete educational system, and the parent or teacher can simply turn it on (repeatedly for best memorization), read the book to the children and remind the children to use the process!

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"Dynamic and fun! A sing and learn adventure." D. Hintz, child care provider

"Delightful, participative children’s songs with a serious message! A landmark in conflict resolution education helping children and families develop peacemaking skills." Marcy Wirth, 2nd grade teacher




Songs for Peace music
Physical CDs - UPC-798577051722
Electronic – UPC- 191061664666

Engaging, fun, upbeat songs to build excitement around peacemaking, help children with personal mental wellness, and provide a safer, friendlier classroom! Includes very short dialogues with children to introduce the concepts. Partners well with: "I STOP for Peace" (music) and "The Barnyard Buddies STOP for Peace" (children's book).

Sing-along, memorable music focuses on a variety of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding skills, like self-care, care for the environment, and appreciation of diversity. Not just children's music, you will enjoy listening to the songs as well! Children enjoy clapping, moving, and singing along as they participate! Songs include: We’re Peacemakers, I Can Make Peace All Over the Land, Hurray! We’re Different (and Alike), I Smile at Myself, I’m Always the Right Age, Good Heart Journal, Stretch High and Round.

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Conflict Resolution Cubes available exclusively here!
Children learn to say “I-messages”
Created by Growing Communities for Peace

20 activities to support a conflict resolution breakthrough with children!

A game-pack of four foldable-assembly tagboard cubes allows children as young as three to learn how to take personal responsibility for sharing their feelings during conflict resolution training and guidance. Instead of a child learning an I-Message such as, "I feel angry when you knock my blocks over, "children learn to say, "I feel angry when the blocks I'm playing with get knocked over." Notice the word "you" is dropped and replaced with the description of behavior. This small change has huge results. The information goes to the higher cortex of the brain allowing children to engage in effective conflict resolution and find stunning child-centered solutions. Expressing their feelings in this new way increases emotional and social intelligence.

Adults working together with children as they use the cubes preserves them so they can provide years of learning. They are not laminated. The instructions for 20 activities are provided.

The conflict resolution cubes include a variety of feelings, including anger, hurt, worry, frustration and such feelings as happy, joyful and more. All involved can experience the power of taking conflict resolution to a whole new level with skills that will last a lifetime.

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Upcoming books - Release dates 2017 & 2018
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We’ll use your order as a vote and produce the most “voted” for book next!


I Can See Peace - Release date September, 2017

This book is a wonderful visual and inspirational journey for children. Children of all sorts of ethnic backgrounds appreciate the planet’s wonderful beauty, even when surrounded by poverty and/or conflict. They learn that peace is all around them and can be found in some unexpected places. Sometimes it can be difficult to see peace, but even when it is interrupted, “we have the power and the wisdom to see, there are tools to solve things peacefully,” and we can get back to peace. Parent and teacher guides and music notation for the “I Smile at Myself” song are included.

ISBN Hardcover 978-0-9988691-7-9
ISBN Soft cover 978-0-9988691-8-6
ISBN Electronic 978-0-9988691-9-3

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Pre-order - expected shipping in November 2017


The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Refugee

A starved, thirsty dog wanders into the barnyard. The Buddies protect and defend him and he offers what he can in return. Heartwarming tale of how the Barnyard Buddies readily show care and kindness toward the stranger, while farmer Jim has to be convinced. Learn about caring for those who are different from you and the value they provide. In characteristic Penshorn style, this engaging book has loose rhyming dialogue. Children remember the stories because they rhyme. Janke’s peace educator perspective guides the content. The parent/teacher guide provides additional dialogue about why the farmer was more suspicious of newcomers, and stimulates a discussion of feelings about those who seem different, while encouraging the development of tolerance, respect, and kindness toward those we don’t know.

ISBN Hardcover 978-0-9988691-4-8
ISBN Soft cover 978-0-9988691-5-5
ISBN Electronic 978-0-9988691-6-2

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Pre-order - expected shipping in January 2018

The Barnyard Buddies Dig up the Truth

An exciting story of what can happen when “fake” news and falsehoods are believed. Luckily, the Mrs. McCloud, the owl is shrewd enough to know the fox is lying and pursue the real truth. When she shares it with the Barnyard Buddies, the dog saves the day! A story about appreciating others, about learning that all animals, even sly foxes and noisy chickens have value! The parent/teacher guide provides ideas for additional learning for children on the topic of being a discerning news consumer and being able to detect untruths. It also creates a dialogue with children about the value of honesty.

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Pre-order - expected shipping in January 2018

Bio info -- About the Author, Content Editor and Illustrator

Author Julie Penshorn, MBC, makes peace come alive as a way of life for children through engaging, memorable stories and music. By using animals with very compelling feelings as the main characters, she bridges her history as a horse trainer and riding teacher with her unique creative talent for making peace education fun!

Julie Penshorn, MBC, left and Rebecca Janke, M.Ed. right

Content editor, Rebecca Janke, M.Ed., is a peace educator, international columnist, facilitator, community servant and leader, as well as a mentor to university students. She has over 40 years of bringing rich, unique, and practical ideas to families and educators in an entertaining and insightful manner. She is an expert at integrating peace into every aspect of a curriculum.


Illustrator, Jorry Keith is a storyboard artist, illustrator, and instructor. She runs several community-based art classes that guide children through the process of writing and drawing comics and books. She is committed to bringing more art-creating opportunities to children and has created the characters in the books as well as designed them.