Stone Soup

by Jon J Muth (Scholastic Press NY 2003)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other

highly recommended but and available - maybe a copy in your local library


John relates an old legendary Asian and European tale about three monks who were in search of answers to their questions. The monks came across a village of people who only worked hard for themselves. The monks agreed that the villagers did not know happiness. This incredible tale is for all ages to enjoy and share together and it contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  • nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  •    challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  •    peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     ..and element that supports the idea that peace is possible

So the monks decided to show the villagers how to make stone soup while teaching them all to work together for the good of everyone. As each villager contributed what they could to the soup it became more and more delicious and there was enough for everyone.

So how does the story end???

Everyone was happy.

There are many other essential peace-building elements inherent in this wonderful story.

"Thank you," said the villagers.

 "With the gifts you have given, we will always have plenty.

You have shown us that sharing makes us richer."

There is always opportunities to give and to share.

Critical questions to explore with children

  • Who were the three monks?
  • What were they doing before they came upon the village?
  • What were the villagers' first reactions to the monks?
  • What did the monks believe the villagers did not know?
  • How did monks encourage the villagers to share what they had?
  • What different ingredients went into the making of the soup?
  • How do you think the monks felt when they left the villagers?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • Do you think monks are happy or sad people?
  • Why do you think the villagers closed their doors and windows when the monks came to their village?
  • Did the monks force the villagers to make stone soup with them?
  • Why do you think the villagers told stories, sang songs and celebrated?
  • What did the monks teach the villagers?
  • Do you think the villagers would remain happy once the monks had left?
  • What other things could the monks have possibly taught the villagers?
  • How else could the story have ended with win-win?

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation October 2005

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