Faces of Friends:
Children of Today Meet Children of the Holocaust
Goal: to generate spontaneous short writings after musing on the face of a child who perished in the Holocaust. We’re looking for the soulful and thoughtful response that will be a powerful connection between present day children and departed children. Some of the writings produced will be used in a book entitled Faces of Friends: Children of Today Meet Children of the Holocaust.
In the book, color reproductions of my portraits of children who died in the Holocaust will be paired with students’ short writing in response to the corresponding face. The guiding mission of the book is to teach about Memorial – how we all can make memorials and how good we feel when we do – and Eternity – about how, once we make a friend, we are changed and our friend lives within us forever, and about Friendship – how helping and connecting with others helps and enriches us. It has become clear to me that young people’s written responses to the faces would be the most apt, direct, and compelling narrative on each page in the book, and will thus be most accessible to young readers, especially reluctant readers (due to obstacles from grief – those who might benefit from this form of therapy most).
I will provide printed reproductions of the portraits. After presenting the Holocaust and the experiences of victims, teachers will distribute the portraits and instruct students to begin by looking at the faces and perhaps making some preliminary notes about characteristics they perceive.
Here are some ideas to spur students’ imaginations:
Then the students should write for a set period of time. The writing format is wide open; any form of writing students produce is acceptable. The writings might take the form of prose or poetry: a letter, a question, a prayer, a speculation, a fantasy, a rap lyric. For example, if a student is struggling with a personal problem and he finds his subject sympathetic-looking, he might discuss his own problem. Absolutely anything that arises out of getting to know the person in the picture is what we’re looking for.
After the exercise, I would need, in addition to the resulting writings, the student’s name (if preferred, first name only) and a permission for the writing to be used in a book that (hopefully) will be published. (I will, obviously, only ultimately be able to use a few.) Any writings that emerge from this exercise that are deeply felt, which students would prefer to remain private, may remain so and thus teachers should not send them. Please email the writings to me through the contact link on my website, or write for a mailing address.
Please read the Book Proposal for Faces of Friends to learn the intention of the book.
Thank you and enjoy!