by Debbie Monterrey

It’s a peaceful message from Missouri.

At the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival next weekend in Washington, D.C., the book selected to represent the state of Missouri is Painting for Peace in Ferguson, by Carol Swartout Klein.

The book features brilliant and colorful images of the artwork that was painted on hundreds of boarded up windows in Ferguson and South Grand in South St. Louis City last November. The artwork ranged from childlike to professional, with messages of peace and calls for social change.


Also attending the book festival will be Jessica Hentoff and the St. Louis Arches of Circus Harmony. The Arches, already the subject of a documentary, are featured in a new book, Watch Out for Flying Kids!, by award-winning author Cynthia Levinson.

According to Hentoff, “The book follows nine teenage troupers in two circuses. When they get together, they confront racism in the Midwest and tribalism in the Middle East, as they learn to overcome assumptions, animosity, and obstacles, that are physical, personal and political.”

Circus Harmony has been involved with the Galilee Circus, a Jewish/Arab youth circus from Israel. The partnership, dubbed Peace Through Pyramids, is a ringing endorsement for social circus and how it can create social change. The first trip to Israel in 2007 was documented in the film, Circus Kids.

The St. Louis Arches will be performing on Saturday September 5 at 10 AM at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center followed by a book signing.