PEACEBUNNY ISLAND: The Extraordinary Journey of a Boy and His Comfort Rabbits, and How They’re Teaching Us about Hope and Kindness
GENRE: Memoir / Inspirational
PUBLISHER: Tyndale Momentum
RELEASE DATE: March 16, 2021
The incredible true story of a boy who is changing the world through kindness . . . one bunny at a time.
Meet Caleb Smith: a young man who, at age 8, decided to follow his dream to train endangered and rescued rabbits to become therapy animals. Today, 16-year-old Caleb is an entrepreneur who owns and operates a private 22-acre Mississippi River sanctuary called Peacebunny Island. The deal is simple: he saves the rabbits, and they help save us. Driven by an unbreakable desire to spread kindness and compassion, Caleb’s adventures include:
- Founding a program of therapy rabbits who visit with veterans, senior citizens, families with special needs, and much more
- Embarking on a quest along the Mississippi River to develop the site that would become Peacebunny Island
- Overcoming challenges and obstacles along the way, while never giving up
- Becoming an advocate for animal rescue, comfort animal training, and endangered species preservation
- Inspiring hope and possibility in the next generation of young people.
Readers who love animal stories like We Bought a Zoo, Watership Down, and Marley & Me will treasure Peacebunny Island—an unforgettable journey of determination and faith destined to touch hearts around the world.
“I have always found it curious that humans see all shades of color and all the beautiful differences in rabbits like Caramel, and yet we treat them all with affectionate cuddles and care. Why can’t we do the same with each other”
I don’t normally review non-fiction here on the blog, but I was so intrigued by the premise of this particular book that I had to read it. Even so, I didn’t expect it to captivate me as much as it did. I sat down, intending to just read the first chapter or so, to get a feel for the book… and didn’t stop until I’d finished the whole thing. Caleb Smith’s writing voice is engaging and winsome, and you will be amazed at the wisdom & insight he shows beyond his years. His emotional awareness – of his own feelings and those of other people, too – and his intuitive spirit, combined with his deep thinking mind, make him at times seem older than he actually was during this process, and I had to keep rechecking the blurb to remind myself that he was only 8 when it began! Still, amid the business savvy and compassion, there is a youthful enthusiasm exuding from him that reminds us that yes, he is a kid (and then a teenager) – just a very special one.
“Amazing things happen when you choose to open your heart.” Smith proves this true many times over as he recounts his journey from pet owner to young entrepreneur. Along the way, he charmingly introduces us to his bunny crew and stories of how they’ve brought joy and comfort to hurting & lonely people in times of great crisis, including the pandemic we’ve all been living through the past year. Whatchamacallit, Tator Tot, Paxton Peacebunny, Star, Creampuff, and many other of Smith’s comfort bunnies will hop their way right into your heart. I felt great affection for each of them as I met them on the pages of Peacebunny Island, and they made me think about my own childhood pet bunny – so originally named ‘Bugsy’ lol. (That’s us in the picture!)
Bottom Line: Peacebunny Island is exactly the kind of story we need right now. Kindness, compassion, wisdom, service, faith and love grace every page, along with a healthy dose of wit and adorable bunny personalities. Caleb Smith’s memoir will touch your heart – and lighten it too – and remind you that goodness still exists on this planet. It also shines a spotlight on the truth that a world full of hurting people need us to step up and do our part to touch their lives with the love of Jesus. An admirable young man with a fascinating story! Highly recommend!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / fabulous read!
Caleb Smith is the 16-year-old visionary behind Peacebunny Island, an animal sanctuary where he trains rescued rare breed rabbits to become comfort animals. His business includes a fostering program that has involved nearly 500 families; the Peacebunny Unit that brings therapy rabbits to visit seniors at assisted living homes and hospices; and a responder program to help people who are dealing with loneliness, trauma and grief, including at crisis situations and in juvenile justice facilities.
Among the rescued bunnies there are 12 rare heritage breed rabbits including the American Chinchilla.
Caleb is also founder of STEM Bunnies programs under the umbrella educational nonprofit called the Peacebunny Foundation that gets kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while playing with rabbits. He lives in Minneapolis with his mom and dad and a colony of rabbits.
What about you? What makes you want to read Peacebunny Island by Caleb Smith?