The Peace Studio presents a beautiful new picture book about the power of courage and compassion to bring about a peaceful future for all human beings, written by Peace Studio co-founders Todd Shuster and Maya Soetoro-Ng and illustrated by Tatiana Gardel.

The First Day of Peace tells the story of a brave girl whose plea for compassion brings neighboring communities together in a time of environmental peril. For years, the mountain people and valley people have lived in conflict, unwilling to share the little they have. When rising temperatures lead to unprecedented snowmelt and rainfall, however, the valley people are threatened by dangerous flooding. A girl among the mountain people sees their distress, and she convinces her community to help their neighbors in the valley. In doing so, they make a profoundly more collaborative, more secure life together possible.

As Maya Soetoro-Ng conveys in the book’s afterword, adults and children alike can come together to avert crisis and build a culture of love and peace. THE FIRST DAY OF PEACE will encourage children to think about these critical issues and how they can practice kindness and generosity in their own lives.

All proceeds received by the authors will be donated to The Peace Studio.

Pre-order the Book Now

Available August 8, 2023

About the Authors

Todd Shuster is an author, literary agent, and film producer based in New York City. As a literary agent, he has represented the New York Times-bestselling Grace by Cody Keenan and the Pulitzer Prize-winning His Name is George Floyd by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, among other acclaimed titles. The First Day of Peace is his picture book debut.

Maya Soetoro-Ng is a peace educator at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawai’i. As a consultant to the Obama Foundation, she also helps to develop Asia-Pacific leadership and global girls’ education programs. Inspired by her two delightful daughters, Soetoro-Ng is the author of the New York Times bestselling picture book Ladder to the Moon and of the forthcoming young adult novel Yellowwood. She is a cofounder of the nonprofits Ceeds of Peace, the Institute for Climate and Peace, and The Peace Studio.


Tatiana Gardel is a Brazilian-born illustrator whose work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators in New York and American Illustration. Her art is inspired by her culture, by her love for nature, and by mythology and childhood memories. She is a cofounder of #LatinxPitch and lives in New York City with her family.


“A beautiful and inspiring parable of kindness, sharing, and the power every child has to make the world a better place. A must-read for children everywhere.”

—Grace Byers, actress, children’s advocate, and author of the #1 New York Times best-selling picture book I Am Enough

“Peace is an abstract idea often hard for young children to grasp, but through the story of the mountain and valley people, children can see what peace looks like as the characters reconcile and discover joy and meaning in connection. While conflict is a familiar part of kids’ lives and natural to their thinking, they need stories like this one to show them how to move beyond conflict to peaceful resolution. If we can help children connect this story to their own experiences, it will help them bring peace-building practices into their own lives.”

—Nancy Carlsson-Paige, author of Taking Back Childhood and child policy advocate at Defending the Early Years

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