Hello, Dear Enemy!

Picture Books for Peace and Humanity

War, violence, unbreachable barriers and limits will continue to exist as long as national struggles for power, ideologies and fanaticism threaten our living together. News reports are dominated by images of violence, destruction, poverty, suffering, and death. Refugees from crisis- and war-torn regions who join our communities are often burdened by experiences of trauma. Children are confronted with war, enmity, exclusion and traumatic escape in many ways: Some as those suffering directly from such experiences, and others as those not directly affected but wanting to ask about them. Picture books that take up these themes in literary and artistic ways cannot answer all questions, but they can provoke thought and inspire discussion.

This exhibition presents an international selection of striking and original picture books that achieve these ends. Featured works include several children’s book classics, but the majority on display were published in the last twenty years. Often in quiet and gentle ways, they speak of everyday life in regions of war, of oppression, persecution and traumatic escape, as well as of forbidding borders, threats and injuries. They reveal background motives for war and violence, such as xenophobia, prejudice and the abuse of power. Still, many of these books conclude by pointing out paths to a better future, when dividing walls are toppled, enmities overcome and wars have given way to peace. Openness, curiosity and empathy – the message of many of the books – form important foundations for cultures and peoples living together in peaceful, humane ways.

Content of the exhibition:
65 picture books, 44 exhibition posters (A2-format) with illustrations and quotations from the books, 1 introductory text, 1 poster "The Animals' Conference". Includes a richly illustrated, coloured catalogue with annotations and bibliographic data.

Two exhibition boxes available for travelling

Picture books in diverse languages. Posters available in German, English and Ukrainian. Catalogue available in German. Further translations upon request.

Visit our blog to find guest contributions to the exhibition.

Here you can find a list with all exhibition dates up to now: Hello, Dear Enemy!

Mario Ramos, from: "Le petit soldat qui cherchait la guerre", École des Loisirs: Paris, 1998.

Exhibition in the International Youth Library, Munich, the School "Am Sand" in Luxembourg, at the book fair in Saporishja, Ukraine, and in the town hall gallery Landshut, Germany, as well as at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA (Photo by Karl Rabe).