Starring Children of War

Children Have the Right to Protection in Times of War

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.”
Herbert Hoover
June 27, 1944

Lessonplan Children of War

Task: Create a Storyboard on Children of War

  1. Have students write a series of interview questions for one of the diary writers. A partner can respond to the questions from the perceived perspective of the author.
  2. Encourage students to research the history of each conflict featured here to learn more about who was involved and locate each diary writer’s home on a map of the world. Instruct students to use the Internet to identify landmarks near the child author’s home. If a street map and address are available, have them find the street and house or apartment. They should describe how the neighborhood would have appeared at the time the diary was written.

Related Links
  UNICEF: Children in War
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust
The Anne Frank House
Anne Frank Online

Glyn Chambers - Belfast - 17 years old

Two Communities

We live in this street, they live in that street,
yet both communities live in Belfast.
We follow this religion, they follow that religion,
yet both communities believe in God.
We vote for these parties, they vote for those parties,
yet both communities recognize each other’s mandate.
We feel bound to one country, they feel bound to another country,
yet both communities are bound to Northern Ireland.
We think they are troublemakers, they think we are troublemakers,
yet both communities have contributed to the Troubles.
We claim they get too much, they claim we get too much,
yet both communities wish to create a prosperous, equal society with opportunities for all.
Two communities, but what are the differences?

Janine Phillips - Poland - 10 years old - August 23, 1939

“Papa says that war is inevitable. I asked Papa why Hitler wants to attack us and Papa said because he’s a greedy bully. ... Grandpa remembers many wars and he says that a war not only kills people but it also kills people’s souls.”

Zlata’s Diary
Excerpts from Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo
(Zlata Filipovic. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.)

Monday, March 15, 1993

“There are no trees to blossom and no birds, because the war has destroyed them as well. There is no sound of birds twittering in springtime. There aren’t even any pigeons—the symbol of Sarajevo. No noisy children, no games. Even the children no longer seem like children. They’ve had their childhood taken from them, and without that they can’t be children. It’s as if Sarajevo is slowly dying, disappearing. Life is disappearing. So how can I feel spring, when spring is something that awakens life, and here there is no life, here everything seems to have died.”