• The Consequences of War for Young People through Children’s Literature, Poetry and Art: for Teachers, Parents, Social Justice Activists, Teaching Artists, Counselors, and School Librarians


A workshop based on the “Art in Time of War” class Merna teaches at the University of WA, Tacoma. For inspiration she uses examples from the work previous students have created from undertaking the broad question “What Should We Tell the Children?” which leads into an inquiry into how to use children’s literature to teach young people about the consequences of war as they effect children and teens.

In this workshop Merna distributes the same lengthy bibliography of resources that she gives to her students and asks that participants read a variety of literature and poetry written by and about the children of war. The workshop includes creating visual arts and poetry projects as well as an exploration of the work of agencies and endeavors world-wide that use expressive arts with children and teens in the extremes of trauma and distress because of wars, oppression, forced migration and difficult situations in their home countries.

Pictured here are some children’s literature “postcards” of children’s books from the “Art in Time of War” class.

Some children’s literature “postcards” of children’s books from the “Art in Time of War” class.


Installation piece and poster protesting the inequity of rights to water between Israel, Gaza and the Occupied Territories and art pieces about the oppression of women in Afghanistan and immigrant and human rights abuses.

 • Poetry Writing Workshops for Adults, or Teens or Children, ages 8-12

 • Reading and Writing Socially Engaged Poetry for Adults and/or Teens
In times of deep concern about human rights and basic human needs lacking for many worldwide, read and write poetry that gives witness to oppression and injustice, that utilizes provocation, that calls for action and that speaks to a spirit of hope and a will toward activism and peacemaking.

• Bringing Words to Sorrow
Poetry and Creative Writing Workshops for Expression of Trauma and Grief—Memory, Connections and Walking Forward

• Participatory Storytelling Workshops for All Ages

• Storytelling Performances for All Ages
Jewish Folk Tales, Easter European Folktales, Multicultural Myths and Folktales, Love Stories with a Twist, and special holiday programs including a repertoire of elegant but spine-tingling Halloween stories from many cultures.