A Parable About Bullies and the Peaceable Kingdom
Soren is a street pigeon, or rock dove – the dove of peace of the world’s art and literature.
Soren’s simple morality tale – with 18 paintings and drawings by Amy Gagnon of Maine – sheds light on humanity’s most stubborn challenges: bullying and revenge; reconciliation and peace. The parable’s surprise ending could deepen a reader’s appreciation of the word grace.
Soren’s Story, as a parable, seeks to increase awareness of bullying in its many forms; and it offers a lens for viewing our lives, society and history.
At times, they looked into each other’s faces and said, “Peace,” meaning, “Whatever has happened that made us enemies, may we take courage to speak to each other of such things, and listen, and find a better way to be.”
Soren is a rock dove—a city pigeon. He is befriended by two kind girls. Bullies, two boys who attack park pigeons as bad and dirty, strike down Soren’s wise friend Bright Wings, making enemies of the girls. Soren tells how the four children struggle to face each other, following the values of the peaceable kingdom and the dove of peace: forgiveness, love, truth, and fairness. For children ages 9-12 (with resources for older readers).
Try a sample of Soren’s Story:
Teacher’s Guide and Discussion Questions:
Al Niese, Author
Al Niese and his wife, Bronda, live in Brunswick. Their two children and their families also live in Maine. A former board chair of Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP), Al served Episcopal churches in Maine after leading urban and suburban churches in New Jersey. His interests include community mental health, the United Nations, comparative religion, sailing, antique reed organs—and tippler pigeons.
Amy Gagnon, Illustrator
Amy Gagnon lives in rural Maine, where she lives in a Victorian era farmhouse. Her work combines her interests in art and nature as well as history and storytelling. She creates pieces ranging from small illustrations to wall-size murals. She also enjoys gardening and playing traditional fiddle music.