Producers of news around the world are inviting their youngest readers and viewers to submit art that wishes peace and love for the children of Ukraine. The drawings are appearing on their platforms and in social media, simply with the common hashtag #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine.
Global Youth & News Media is organizing the project, inspired by the work of Kleine Kinderzeintung in Austria and News-O-Matic in the United States, the first news media for children to gather such art. The goal is to provide a modest but widespread framework for children to soothe their anxieties through drawing as they deal with the unavoidable news of this invasion.
News media are welcome to join these other organizations that have already committed to this effort: Teaching Kids News (Canada), Lasten Uutiset (Finland), Journal des Enfants (France), Junior Lens (India), Mi Super Diario (Honduras, Mexico, Bolivia), Aftenposten Junior (Norway), The Week Junior (UK, USA), Kid Scoop (USA) and the Museo de los Ninõs/Clarín (Argentina).
√More about the partners. √ A sampling of their results.
√ A link for distributing the picture collections on WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. √ A photo story from News Decoder
HOW EDITORS COVERED THE INVASION FOR CHILDREN
SUPPORTING ON-SITE TRAUMA HELP
We strongly encourage support for the (miraculously) ongoing in-depth art therapy within Ukraine by the Voices of Children Foundation. Acting mostly in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, that team has helped children traumatized by armed conflict since 2015.
• DONATION PAGE • A Twitter feed provides the best updates. At right, a picture of a 10-year-old with her work from a 16 March post
• THE FOUNDATION SITE
(also in Spanish, German, Ukrainian)
PHASE 2: THE REFUGEE EDITION
In a new phase of this project, refugee children who have arrived at a safe haven are drawing their own art for peace in Ukraine.
Global Youth & News Media did a pilot version of the activity in France with refugee children housed near Mauléon-Licharre and children with a French family near Ozenx-Montestrucq (picture gallery below).
"We were worried about the impact of asking refugee children to draw even positive pictures, however mothers in both groups endorsed the idea as a welcome respite for their children," said Aralynn McMane, director. (More in the FAQs section below)
Materials included a variety of drawing tools plus a sampler of the art from around the world and sheets with borders donated by artists Muriel Hanny and Anton Pavlenko, who had been a refugee himself from Ukraine as a child, plus a cartoon storyboard for older children.
DO IT YOURSELF ! Here's a step-by-step guide for doing this with children near you.
From there you can find translations in Deutsch, Eesti, Español, Français, Italia, Nederlands, Polski, Português, Українською, Русском.
DOWNLOAD THE DRAWING PACKET
Many thanks to those who kindly checked the Google translations and helped in other ways: Laetecia, Tarmu, Wendy, Raymonde, Rosarita, Fifi, Magda, Cris, Oksana, Anna, Joseph, Grzegorz, Van.
Children staying at a refugee residence near Mauléon-Licharre, France, and with French children in a family near Ozenx-Montestrucq tested our #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine kit.
It was fun to spend time drawing together and also to be part of a global project!
Many thanks to Ariana, Davyd, Yuvenaliy, Myroslav, Ariana, Maxence, Clarisse, Lesia and Valea and especially to Oksana and the French hosts and volunteers.
HOW YOU CAN DO IT, TOO
Click on the circle at left then swipe through the gallery, clicking on each circle to see the full images and caption.s
...to see latest developments and what our partners are doing, plus a sampling of the art from children from around the world.
Also, here is the mobile-friendly link for distributing their full collections via WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.
And here's what's on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
Editor Vicki Whiting:
"Children always deserve and need to be heard. This is a great way for children to express themselves as well as connect with children globally to discover, firsthand, the desire for peace that connects all people worldwide."
Kid Scoop also calls for donations to The Universal Reading Foundation [Fundjaca Powszechnego Czytania], a Polish nonprofit that is raising money to distribute Ukrainian language books to Ukrainian children refugees taking shelter in Poland.
Editor Katrin Fischer:
"Talking to kids about war is hard, but some children say it's better to know what's going on in the world, rather than ignore the facts. But I think it’s also our job to lessen a child’s anxiety. Art can help relieve anxiety symptoms by distracting you from ruminating thoughts. Drawing, handcraft and other activities may also help to express painful or difficult feelings children have trouble putting into words."
One school took it further: Students sold their doves with the proceeds going to a Ukraine emergency fund.
THIS Variation(in German) of the assignment asks children do their artwork on a dove they create from white paper plates and decorate.
Editor Russ Khan:
"Young people continuously amaze me with their perception and their ability to express themselves. I'm so grateful to help give them this outlet*, particularly in difficult times. Some of their artwork is especially poignant... and painful. Even their simple stick figures can convey a depth of emotion."
*NOTE: News-O-Matic regularly receives drawings from readers thanks to a special app.
This drawing is by Angelyz.
JOURNAL DES ENFANTS (JDE)
Editorial Manager Caroline Gaertner:
"Explaining news as difficult, and doing so about the war in Ukraine to young readers is both a challenge and a duty. We are fortunate that they guide us and enlighten us through their questions. Listening to them and giving them a voice is an important aspect of the children's press, and Le Journal des Enfants is pleased to be able to join this initiative. Expressing emotions through art is something we should all be invited to do!"
TEACHING KIDS NEWS (TKN)
Co-founder Joyce Grant:
"The war may seem far away to kids in North America.They may feel that nothing they can do will matter. This project gives them a chance to express what they're feeling, express their support and be part of a global community of kids who are doing the same. As a kids-news website, we have a platform we can use to help spread the word about this important project and we're happy to be part of it."
One of the first to answer TKN's call to action, which urged posting on Twitter with the #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine hashtag, was April Kendall's class in the province of Alberta, where students decided to use hearts for their drawings.
Editor Aneesh Laiwala:
"Russia's attack on Ukraine has had a devastating impact on the lives of the Ukrainians, especially the innocent children. Children do not fully comprehend why all this is happening. Through this noble initiative, we at Junior Lens, through our young readers would want to send a message of support and hope to the children of Ukraine and hope that peace returns at the earliest."
The young readers of Junior Lens also sent pictures of themselves to reinforce their solidarity. At right is the invitation and the editor's son, Riaan, showing how it's done. (Image used with parental permission)
Or download the full edition [19MB]
THE WEEK JUNIOR
Editorial Director Anna Bassi:
"Readers of The Week Junior in both the USA and UK have been quick to ask what they can do to help the children of Ukraine, and both editions featured examples of activities that will allow them to show support at a time when it's very easy (for all of us) to feel helpless in the face of this atrocity.
"Whether they choose to donate their pocket money to a charity, write to an elected representative to demand stronger action and more aid, or express their solidarity by creating a poster it's important they know that a small act can make a big difference. We've created a peace poster template that children can download use for a drawing." The USA edition will also participate.
Lasten uutiset (HelsinGIn Sanomat)
Editor Fanny Fröman:
"After seeing amazing drawings from other countries and the heart-shaped drawing page from The Week Junior, we wanted to be a part of this initiative. It provides children with a good way to express their feelings about what is happening in Ukraine right now."
The accompanying text reads (in part):
Let’s draw for peace:
Children’s News around the world are now collecting drawings that wish for peace for the Ukrainian children. Make your own drawing inside this heart.
Send us your drawing by email and attach your name and age. We will publish drawings in our paper and social media. You can take a look at other children’s drawings with the hashtag #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine. Drawing is a good way to express your feelings. If the situation in Ukraine feels too scary, you should talk about it with a parent, teacher or some other adult. [Graphic inspired by The Week Junior]
MUSEO DE LOS NIÑOS
Director Silvia Albert:
"We are very proud to participate with children's illustrations pleading for peace in the world. Thank you for this excellent opportunity to be all together around these strong and admirable feelings."
Abasto Children's Museum (Museo de los Niños) in Buenos Aires gives children the chance to explore three floors of whimsical “city”environments that feature interactive, educational exhibits. It includes a journalism section created by Clarín that offers a chance to be a sports announcer, a reporter and cartoonist.
Refugees in France
The first of the hundreds of images children sent to Kleine Kinderzeitung.
LEFT: Volksschule St. Katharein an der Laming
RIGHT: Klasse der VS Eisbach-Rein (Gemeinde Gratwein-Straßengel)
Many of the 7-year-olds in the CE1 class at École Angèle Vannier in Saint Malo France who answered the call of Journal des Enfants used the Ukrainian word for "peace" (мир) in their pictures.
The 15 March edition of Junior Lens features six pages of children's drawings, with more to come, says editor Aneesh Liawala.
(This big file takes time to appear.)
The entire class at Sainte Marie primary school used doves to highlight their drawings that wished peace to Ukrainian children. [Sud-Ouest, 10 March 2022, reprinted with permisison]
Room 22 at Knowetop Primary School in Motherwell noted in a Tweet that drawings "may be a small gesture but we have had some very meaningful conversation as a class & hope to continue to help in any way we can."
"We will keep going as long as it takes."
-- Dr. Aralynn McMane, Director, Global Youth & News Media
Please can you let me know the submission timeline for this?
Editors are setting their own deadlines for print editions or online display, but we strongly encourage collection of art as soon as possible as this is a quickly changing situation and put them all online in your branded Instagram (or some other social media) account with the #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine, then put all or a selection in the print edition. We explain lower how we showcase the work.
Is there any age limit for children’s participation?
“Children” generally means up to age 18.
Also, how should the art be published?
Each editor does the publishing as they wish with at the very least the #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine hashtag and, if they choose, also the logo, which serve as uniting elements that people can find over various platforms.
Also, because people have asked for a “landing page,” we will continue to showcase work here by linking to each editor's collection.
We are also encouraging editors to give Hopes & Dreams Drawing Kits to the nearest ainian embassy or consulate as a morale boost and for also for their own children.
But it's the online distribution that counts most now. And remember that pictures without words can be even more generally understood, and use that hashtag: #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine.
PHASE 2: A PAGE FOR REFUGEE CHILDREN TO DRAW THEIR HOPES AND DREAMS
How do you know a drawing page for refugee children won't further traumatize them?
Artist Hannah Rose Thomas, who worked with teams doing art therapy with Syrian refugees in Jordan, advised Global Youth & News Media on the directions to give refugee children for drawing their pictures.
“Art is a creative way to counteract the conspiracy of silence that so often prevails for
those who have who have experienced trauma,” she had told an interviewer in 2018.
Thomas called the #KidsDrawPeace4Ukraine project “powerful and important work” and agreed with our choice the words to encourage the direction of the children’s art: “My hopes and dreams.”
“I think that this is a wonderful idea, especially in light of the fact that a therapist is not present,” she said.
Washington Post reporters had Ukrainian refugee children at a Polish train station draw what had stood out for them in the previous weeks. How is this project different from that action?
We ask that our positive art drawing activity be done once a child is either in a refugee center or a home setting with the knowledge that someone is supporting them further by furnishing drawing supplies. The people who provide those drawing supplies have the satisfaction of having done something to help that is pretty easy and accessible even to the very young
The Washington Post story had text and pictures and film of children as they drew in a Polish train station. The results were fascinating, but we are uneasy with that approach as those children were not yet in a stable environment (refugee center or a home) and were pretty much ambushed, even if their parents surely were asked to gave permission. The task approached hard-core trauma art therapy, but with apparently no therapist present. When one little girl started crying, who was there to know – really – what to do next?
We think it is important to be extremely careful so are keeping our focus on what specialists call “positive art therapy,” which advocates exactly that, the positive hopes of peace for Ukraine. As art therapist Carolyn Melhomakulu has put it, “The research around positive psychology suggests that there is a lot of benefit in intentionally focusing on things like positive experiences, hope and gratitude.”
More questions? Just send them along using our contact form below.