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Smith College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Czech Republic: Arts and Social Change

Abstract

I wrote and created With Wings and Words, a children’s picture book based off of interview material gathered about the 1989 Velvet Revolution, in order to demonstrate the inherent multiplicity of truth around historical events and break down the construction of a “national” truth by placing personal narratives and interpretations in conversation with each other. These narratives, while present and available in the Czech Republic, are important to display and discuss in order to avoid the oversimplification of events or erasure of the emotional complexities they cause. After consulting with various relevant Czech children’s books, I completed interviews and used this material to create two fictional narratives about the 1989 Revolution, one occurring in Prague and the other occurring in Vyškov. These stories were illustrated and formatted into a reversible children’s book. With the final product, children and readers of all ages will be able to explore the personal truths of two very different protagonists and get to consider for themselves the way that history and truth interact. This book will serve as an introduction into the hierarchy of truth that is established between individual and societal truths and will allow readers to consider the ambiguity in truth and how the creation of a national narrative may limit the truths that are easily available for consumption. As children are especially impressionable to national or “traditional” historical truths, book such as With Wings and Words can allow them to begin to have agency in their own understanding of the world and demonstrate that everyone has a right to tell their story.

Disciplines

Book and Paper | Creative Writing | Eastern European Studies | European Languages and Societies | Graphic Design | International and Intercultural Communication | Politics and Social Change

 

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