Finalist in the 33rd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program in the following category: Best New Voice: Children's/Young Adult
"A rich coming-of-age tale that sheds light on an uncommon Civil War perspective." Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Manny Weaver, a Mennonite boy living near Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1861, has a habit of biting off more than he can chew. The Weavers are Unionists and pacifists who do not wish to secede from the Union nor to participate in the fighting. In the past, Manny’s father and uncle have avoided militia service by paying a small fine, but when Virginia secedes from the Union, the payment is no longer accepted. Manny loves his family and would do anything to protect Father and Uncle Davy from being forced to join the Confederate army. That’s when his trouble begins!
With his world crumbling into chaos, Manny is forced to deal with issues of honesty, justice, loyalty, and judgment. He must find answers to serious questions. Is it really better to "turn the other cheek," as his Mennonite faith tells him? What actions lead to peace? How does a boy grow into a man?
"Manny and his family, their Mennonite community, and how their values shaped their response to the Civil War in Virginia made for a compelling story. Fourteen-year-old Manny had three men for role models—his father, his uncle and his grandfather. While his grandfather was old enough to escape fighting, his father and uncle were tracked down and forced to fight.
Historical fiction is the way to make history come alive—The Peacemakers
takes us back to Harrisonburg, Virginia, during President Lincoln’s presidency and the recruitment of soldiers in the south to fight for the confederacy. Slavery, religious beliefs, voting rights and gender roles are among the issues that make this story ripe for young readers and a school classroom studying the evolution of America.”
CARRIE COOPER, Dean of University Libraries, William & Mary
] reads quickly, drawing the reader into the thickets of dilemmas that Mennonites faced during the worst days of the American Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Manny Weaver, fourteen, had to watch when both his uncle and father were taken away into the desperate Confederate war efforts. During the war in the Shenandoah Valley, for the peace-minded Mennonites, there were no easy answers of how to respond. They faced excruciating dilemmas of faith and conscience. Manny grew up quickly, growing into a young man in the vortex of war. …
is a book that youth will want to read, to learn from, and to enter into the story of faith and war-time challenges of a terrible war that ripped the country apart in the mid-19th century. I recommend this book for students and adults alike. It's great reading!”
ELWOOD E. YODER, History & Bible Teacher at Eastern Mennonite High School,
Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Editor, Shenandoah Mennonite Historian