Category Archives: Toys and Games

Don’t Buy War Toys/Gifting that promotes life, learning and peace!

Dear Holiday Shoppers – War Is Not A Game

The Granny Peace Brigade continued its annual “Don’t Buy War Toys” campaign in one of the best known shopping areas in the USA: Herald Square…the home of Macy’s among others. In the blustery cold wind, our songs were a bit muted, but even then we were joined by a Raging Grannie from Rochester, who just happened to be walking by, and could not resist a protest song!  As usual, many thumbs ups and thank-yous and just one or two who disagreed.As we wish our friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Channuka, Happy Kwanza, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy etc.,  consider giving gifts that promote life, learning, and peace!

– Marty Rajandran with Barbara H., Bev, Edith, Eva-Lee, Joan,  Nydia, Regina, Tibby
for the Granny Peace Brigade

More photos on Facebook

GRANNIES target TARGET: Don’t buy war toys!


The Granny Peace Brigade, together with the NY Metro Raging Grannies targeted TARGET, Brooklyn on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 with the annual campaign “Think Before You Buy” encouraging shoppers to consider purchasing gifts that prepare children to be compassionate, responsible adults instead of gifts that glorify violence and foster aggression.

The sound of music was in the air with the cleverly re-worded Christmas carols, reflecting the messages of peace, justice, ending poverty, no guns among others. The well crafted handout was seen to be carefully read by the passers by; the idea to avoid purchasing toy guns, for example was well received, in view of the horrific police murders of both children and adults holding toy weapons around  the country this year.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the creativity of the Grannies in re-working the traditional carols and well known songs with words appropriate to the themes of stopping war, promoting peace and justice…..the true spirit of this holiday.

For those who missed this action, an example of just one of the songs, this one by GPB/RG Corinne Willinger:
Don’t Buy War Toys (Tune: Frere Jacques)
“Don’t buy war toys, don’t buy war toys
For girls or boys, For girls or boys
Let the children learn
Let the children yearn to,
Live in Peace, Live in Peace

“With wishes to all for a peaceful holiday season”

– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny peace Brigade



In the midst of NYC’s recent holiday shopping frenzy the Granny Peace Brigade and Raging Grannies got together at FAO Schwarz on Fifth Ave. Ever since 2009 we’ve hit the streets each December to remind holiday shoppers that “War Is Not A Game.” We also give people tips on how to select gifts for children in our “Smart Toys For Smart Kids” flyer.

(Click on photos for larger images.)



Earlier in December we’d been to Toys”R”Us in Times Square, and Target at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. We wound up our tour on December 19, assembling on the plaza outside FAO Schwarz. Some of us stayed outside singing and giving out flyers while others went inside to spread our message quietly.

What happened outside? It was deja vu all over again.


We belted out a number or two, passersby got interested, a security guard asked us to leave, we refused, saying our message was really important, and the security guard called the cops. When the police arrived, Alice, Nancy and Nydia explained our message to an officer, and the officer in turn explained to us that the very public-seeming plaza in front of the store was actually privately owned. If we refused to leave we could be arrested for trespassing. We didn’t want to go that far – this time. We did want as many people as possible to witness the interaction with the officer, in the hope they would think about the increasing privatization of public space. Under these circumstances a long conversation with that officer would be a good thing.


Grannies are virtuosos at delicately extending these conversations. If they are soft spoken so bystanders have to lean in to hear, that’s just fine. They get the timing right too, knowing when to call it quits and have the singers amble off to the public sidewalk for a bit more serenading.

– Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Meanwhile, what happened inside the store?




Yes, we were inside, and the reaction was very positive. People passing by stopped to talk with us, including a guy in camouflage who was in the National Guard and a group of teenagers who wanted to know more about the Grannies and why we were there.


All discussions were respectful. We also spoke to the manager who may have agreed with us but wasn’t committing to anything. She said the store was now owned by Toys’R’Us and they make all stock decisions and she gave us the name and email of the decision-maker. Security was clearly sent to keep an eye on us, subtly, and we were not thrown out of the store.

Happy new year and hope to see you soon.
– Fran Korotzer
Photos: Bud Korotzer

P.S. the Granny Peace Brigade  sends a huge thank you to Bud Korotzer for giving us so many wonderful photos.

2013_12_19budBud,  your support means so much to us.

War Is Not Entertainment


photo-1(Click on photos for larger images.)

This deeply disturbing and oh so powerful  photo of a veteran holding a sign  on his lap that says “war is not entertainment” was taped to this disgusting ad that is on almost every corner these days promoting the Imax GI Joe RETALIATION movie.


Ann and I saw it on the SE corner of 86 and Broadway and were deeply moved by the image and the gut wrenching example of the horror of war and militarism — what a creative action and how profound!


How tragic! Yet it also reveals something  transformative. It demonstrates how each one of us can do powerful actions on our own not always in connection with an organizational affiliation. Someone had written “AMEN” on the picture as well. When I returned several hours later and after a rain episode to leave a Granny Peace Brigade card next to the photo inviting the gentleman to contact us, the photo was barely visible as the rain had washed it out. I am glad we have these pictures to honor this person. Maybe one of us will see him on the street – I would like to say thank you to him – and I’m so sorry. Peace be with you.

– Jenny Heinz: text and photos
for the Granny Peace Brigade

When Is It Okay For Kids To Play With Guns?


Once a year
U pick a toy
One that’s good
For a little boy
So what do they think of your little son?
He oughta get a blaster gun?

When is it okay for kids to play with guns? Is it ever okay for kids to play with guns? And what do kids mean when they play with guns? Let’s look at the stories children tell as they point toy guns at each other. Two generations ago some of us grannies, with siblings and friends whiled away escaped-from-school afternoons playing cowboys and Indians. And a generation later when our kids were kids “World War Three” was played on the sidewalks of New York. The narratives came from stories adults were telling in newspapers, books, movies, songs, TV programs and advertising. These stories all served to steep one generation in racism and another in cold war paranoia. Guns were props. Some so were lovely gun belts you could find at the outdoorempire guide to gun belts. Shooting people was okay. The enemy changed with the times.

Today’s stories have morphed but children still play with guns and the message remains; shooting people is okay. Just ask the folks at the Toy Industry Association. Every year they hold a gala event where they give awards to the toy they think is best in several categories; toys for boys, for girls, for toddlers, science toys and more.

This year there were seven nominees in the best “Boy Toy” category, with several promoting violence, and the worst of the lot being the Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster (Ages: 8 years & up). According to Hazbro, the manufacturer, “Massive capacity and supreme speed combine to make this blaster the ultimate upgrade to any arsenal. Load up and dominate with the ultra-high-capacity Hail-Fire blaster!…It holds up to 8 clips, and delivers a semi-auto barrage of darts as fast as you can pull the trigger.”

Hey kids — It’s story time.

OK, we know the Blaster shoots foam darts that can’t hurt anyone, but is it a good idea to inculcate kids with the idea that shooting people doesn’t do any lasting damage? And the rapid fire, multi-shot blaster is sooo much more exciting than cap guns ever were!

Somebody had to tell people in the toy industry that promoting toys like the Strike Elite Hail-Fire Blaster just wouldn’t do, so on February 9, the night of the Toy Industry Association awards ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, members of the Granny Peace Brigade were outside the Plaza greeting people as they arrived for the ceremony. We bestowed our message on the attendees with signs, songs and Valentine’s Day cards, and two days later we took those same signs, songs and Valentine’s Day cards to the Javits Center where the annual American International Toy Fair was underway. At the Plaza and again at the Javits Center many of the toy traders thanked us for our presence and for our message. One attendee from Europe told us about the “disgusting and terrible” toys on display at a toy fair he attended in Hong Kong. On his return to Europe he sent us these pictures he had taken at the Hong Kong toy fair. We have a global problem.



You can help. A good start would be contacting people at the Toy Industry Association. They need to dial way back on the promotion of toys that glorify violence and war. Our kids deserve different stories. The Toy Industry Association folks know perfectly well that for every communication they receive there are at least 1,000 silent people who agree.

Toy Industry Association Senior Team
President Carter Keithley – E-mail:
Mailing Address:
Headquarters / 1115 Broadway / Suite 400 / New York, NY 10010
General contact E-mail:

We have work to do.

In peace always,

– Eva-Lee Baird
– Joan Plune –
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Shame On Toy Industry – Hasbro Nabs Boy Toy of the Year Award For “Ultimate Full Auto Clip System Blaster!”


(Click on photos for larger images.)

Grannies wish toy execs a Happy Valentine’s day at fancy Toy of the Year Awards’ Dinner..

Saturday, February 12, 5 PM.  One by one, about 30 grannies and their friends snuck furtively into the Time-Warner Building at the corner of  Broadway and 60th Street . They had come to serenade and to hand out Valentine’s cards to executives attending the $350 a plate Toy Association’s Toy of The Year Award’s dinner.


The plan had been to meet on the corner outside, but it was much too windy and cold, so as if it had been pre-arranged (which it wasn’t), they all knew to go inside. They aroused no suspicion, this bunch of old ladies, and as they talked they decided that they would be much more comfortable singing inside and that was the place to distribute the valentine’s cards pleading with the toy industry to make toys of peace and to flaunt their banners saying WAR IS NOT A GAME and ALL WAR TOYS MUST GO.


They brought with them Hasbro’s Nerf Stampede Blaster, a gun Hasbro promises will make vigilantes of your children, and which was nominated for (and won) the BOY TOY OF THE YEAR AWARD Award.


For 45 minutes the grannies belted out their ballads targeting militaristic toys, particularly those made by Hasbro. Our very own Bev was assigned to schmooze with the guards and the police as Mercy led us all in song.  Mercy you can hear on the third floor of the Time-Warner Building.


After 45 minutes a combination of security and NYPD got it together to get us out of the building and for a while we sang outside.


The high point of the night was when a man, who seemed to be employed by Time-Warner and had been watching us intently as we did our thing, came outside and told us that he had listened to what we were saying and we were right.  The granny holding the Stampede Blaster informed him that it had been nominated for the Boy Toy of The Year award.  As he walked off, he told us that he had bought that gun for his son, and said “I DON’T WANT MY SON PLAYING WITH GUNS NOW AFTER LOOKING AT THIS.”

– Joan Pleune
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos 1, 2, 4 & 5: Bud Korotzer
Photo 3: Joan Pleune

Peace Toys, Not War Toys


Why did Lillian P at the age of 94 step into a car at the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us? And her companions Barbara W, Teddy and Carol — what could have been on their minds as they slipped in beside Lillian? On the Ferris wheel in another car was Molly (she’s 92) with Bev, Tibby and Nydia. Nearby Jenny, Ann, Edith and Barbara H rode in a completely non-nonagenarian car.




As the the wheel began to turn the twelve riders unfurled their banners and sang John Lennon’s “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”


The Raging Grannies in the lobby joined the riders in song — all of us there to encourage shoppers to choose toys that can help children become productive, compassionate adults.

The Toys R Us employees handled the folks on the Ferris wheel with courtesy and restraint. They asked the peace riders to put their banners away and allowed them complete their turn on the Ferris wheel. The riders put the banners away while their cars were down near the Ferris wheel entrance and unfurled them again when the cars were up on high.

There were a lot of thumbs up signs and two young men who were working in the store taking photographs began singing with us. But there were some negative responses. One man called out “Buy your kid a gun.” When asked to say it again for the camera he refused. A woman said “They are terrorizing the kids,” but we didn’t see any kids who looked remotely terrorized — just curious. I am heartsick that someone could attach the word terrorize to this action. Twelve people held signs saying “War is Not a Game” and No More War Toys.” Another dozen or so joined in quietly singing, “Give peace a chance.”

SONY DSCAfter a bit of amicable discussion with the security people we left the store and gathered outside to sing and distribute greeting cards asking shoppers to “Think before you buy.”




SONY DSCSeason’s Greetings from the Granny Peace Brigade

In peace always,

– Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade
All Photos by Masahiro Hosoda



Toys should be fun for children and foster the development of life skills, including problem solving. There are many toys that can satisfy our children and grandchildren’s desire for excitement and adventure other than war toys that provoke fighting and winning by means of violence. We are in favor of fantasy and delight and against the militarization of our young people. For this reason the GPB began a campaign against war toys last year. The Toy Industry Association Fair, held in New York this February provided us with additional opportunity to address this concern.

Photo: Phyllis Cunningham

The currently marketed G.I. Joe, manufactured by Hasbro is the archetype of war toys.

gi_joeHasbro was nominated for awards in two different categories at the Toy Industry Association awards banquet on Saturday evening at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers in NYC. The Granny Peace Brigade previously had written to Brian Goldner, CEO of Hasbro, requesting a meeting to discuss our concerns about G.I. Joe and war toys but had not received a reply. We, along with supporters including members of the Raging Grannies, went to Pier 60 to send a message: RETIRE G.I. JOE!

Hasbro Has Got To Know – G.I. Joe Must Go YouTube video

Initially, at the entrance to Pier 60, we held banners, sang, and distributed flyers to let the arriving attendees know we are troubled by the manufacture and distribution of war toys. In time, we marched through the Pier 60 garage in an attempt to get closer to the entrance of the banquet hall. This provided attendees greater exposure to our message as they disembarked from taxis and limousines to enter the gala! We were happy to be in, out of the wind and cold.

Photo: Phyllis Cunningham

Were we asked to leave? You bet! Several times and by several different people. “This is private property!” Who owns the property? “The owners” of course. Members discussed our right to be there and the rest of us kept on singing, “Hasbro’s got to know G.I. Joe must go.” (download songs sheets from the Granny Peace Brigade “Songs” page.

Eventually the police showed up but we continued to sing and negotiate our space. Finally, when most of the attendees had already arrived, we slowly moved to the entrance of Pier 60…singing and chanting along the way. We continued to display our banners and sing while standing on the sidewalk adjacent to the pier entrance. A gentleman, who we were told was a supervisor of the area, commanded us to move across the street as “…this sidewalk becomes private property after sundown…from sundown to sunup it is private property.” We were to understand that it is only public during daylight. You can imagine how we related to that. The police asked us to move so that they could leave. We complied and moved across the street with our banners unfurled.

The following Monday, we went to the Toy Fair at the Jacob Javits Center to again get our message out.

Photos: Phyllis Cunningham

With banners and singing, members distributed flyers to attendees and passers-by. We had an opportunity to talk with attendees about war toys and how they may affect children: desensitization to fighting, violence, war and killing. There were many interesting conversations and much positive feedback concerning our toy campaign. We also heard, “I love G.I. Joe!” on occasion.

Please write to Brian Goldner and tell him to retire G.I. Joe.
Brian Goldner, President and CEO
Hasbro, Inc.
1027 Newport Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02862

– Phyllis Cunningham
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Toy Fair Request – Retire G.I. Joe


On February 13th the Toy Industry Association revealed their 2010 toy picks at their 10th annual “Toy of the Year Awards” ceremony. Because kids don’t get loving care from these folks, we decided to take our message to them at the Chelsea Piers. Not one single taxi, limo or stretch limo could pass without reading RETIRE GI JOE – ALL WAR TOYS MUST GO

Granny, but it’s cold outside. Read our blue lips, G.I. Joe Must Go!

Champion banner handlers: Molly, Joe, Paula and Nydia with Pat

The Granny Peace Brigade and Raging Grannies come from near and far, Manhattan, Coney Island, and Queens to send their message to Hasbro and other toy manufacturers.  Edith, Caroline, Mercy, Betty, Lillian and Corinne and Molly!  wayyy over on the right!

Betty comes out into the cold with Caroline to sing to Hasbro, “No More War Toys.”

That’s Shirley Littman from Chelsea for Peace and the Raging Grannies! Talking to Joan P. and Carol and bringing us Raging Grannies song sheets so we can serenade the Toy Awards people. Shirley queries why we aren’t going inside to the entrance of the gala.

Inside, through the parking garage we go!

Ever Onward – We march toward the restaurant to bring the message ‘War is Not a Game’ closer to the toy fair guests.

Is that the guy from the restaurant? Telling us we have to go? But we’re not done yet!

Continue reading Toy Fair Request – Retire G.I. Joe




Our children and grandchildren are special and their playthings should be special too – stuff that helps them blossom into smart, happy, positive kids. That’s why we pick out gifts with loving care.

On February 13th the Toy Industry Association will reveal the 2010 toy picks at their 10th annual “Toy of the Year Awards” Ceremony. We’re not sure kids will get loving care from these folks.

Hasbro, the maker of the G.I. Joe line of dolls and a multitude of murderous accessories is nominated for awards in two toy categories.

This will all happen at the Chelsea Piers (Pier 60) and we’ve got to be there as the attendees file into the awards ceremony. We’ll tell Hasbro and the rest that it’s time to…


Please join us:
5:15 PM
Saturday, February 13
Chelsea Pier 60
West side of 11th Avenue at 20th Street

We’ll have banners, songs, flyers. Bring your very welcome self and take a stand for “Smart Toys not War Toys.”

– Eva-Lee Baird, Caroline Chinlund, Edith Cresmer, Phyllis Cunningham, Barbara Harris, Joan Pleune, and Fran Sears
for the Granny Peace Brigade