War & Conflict in Children's Literature: Onjali Q Raúf, Wafa' Tarnowska & Wendy Meddour
Date/Time: Sunday 5 February 2023 14:30-15:30
Session No: 276
War and conflict are among the most complex and sensitive of subjects to introduce to children, and there has long been debate between parents, educators and librarians on how – and even whether – to do so. Could it have negative repercussions, especially when violence, gore, loss and death might be depicted, and when the children may themselves have been directly affected by conflict? Or does discussing war and conflict offer a golden opportunity to share inspirational stories on overcoming personal battles, empathising with challenging narratives, and learning how to process struggle and loss healthily?
Listen to this brilliant panel discussion featuring three acclaimed children’s writers Onjali Q Raúf, Wafa’ Tarnowska and Wendy Meddour as they discuss how children’s literature can actually help younger generations understand different types of conflict, and how to deal with its impact.
Onjali Q Raúf MBE is a multi-award-winning children’s author and women’s and refugee human rights activist. She is the founder and CEO of Making Herstory, which works to end the abuse, enslavement and trafficking of women and girls in the UK. Raúf is the author of Sunday Times bestseller, The Boy at the Back of the Class, The Star Outside My Window, The Night Bus Hero, The Great Food Bank Heist and The Lion Above the Door. Her latest work, Hope on the Horizon, is a non-fiction children’s guide to empathy, kindness and creating a better world.
Wafa’ Tarnowska is an award-winning children’s author, translator and storyteller. Her book Arabian Nights won the American Folklore Society Aesop Accolade, the Moonbeam Gold Medal and was a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children. Her anthology Amazing Women of the Middle East includes biographies of 25 Middle Eastern women who are trailblazers in their fields. Her book Nour’s Secret Library narrates the true story of a community underground library that was active during the height of the Syrian Civil War.
Dr Wendy Meddour is an internationally successful children’s author and the Director of Creative Writing at Exeter University. After gaining her PhD, she spent 8 years teaching English Literature at Oxford University, before publishing her debut children’s book. Meddour has gone on to publish over 25 children’s books including Lubna and Pebble, Tibble and Grandpa, Howard the Average Gecko and The Friendship Bench. Her stories are known for addressing difficult topics in a thoughtful, heart-warming and uplifting manner.