Commemorating History by Creating Butterflies

Posted In: Your Library, Youth and Families, Guest Contributors
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By Stephanie Jarvais

I recently spent ages planning a children's program entitled "Let’s Make Butterflies," and I was very excited to share it with my regular kids. You can imagine my disappointment when I got a Jury Duty Summons the day before my big program was scheduled! But fear not, luck was on my side that day, and I was not selected and I was able to attend the program I so carefully prepared (I am fortunate to have an understanding boss who was willing to fill in if necessary, so the kids wouldn't have missed out).

I never saw another butterfly coverWhat was this program about, and why was it so meaningful to me, you may ask? Since I first learned to read, I have always had an interest in World War II and the Holocaust, and the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly was particularly meaningful to me. This beautiful book is a collection of artwork and poems created by children who were living in the Terezin Concentration Camp located in Poland. In order to honor these children and all children who perished during World War II (the total is 1.5 million), the Houston Holocaust Museum is collecting butterflies made by children across the world to display in an upcoming exhibit.

I invited a 5th grade class from Maree G. Farring Elementary/Middle School to join in the event. A total of 26 students and 2 teachers attended my event. I was thrilled with the turnout for the event, and not only did each student make a butterfly for the museum to display but each also created a second butterfly for me to display at Brooklyn Branch. It was great to see the children so involved and interested in creating something for the museum while learning about the history covered in the book.

Check out this slideshow of photos from the program:

As a part of the program for the month of March, I made a display that highlights the poem and artwork from the book as well as provided other books about World War II. If you are interested in reading more on the subject, here is a small reading list:

Hi Stephanie The insect that I have fancied in my life time is the butterfly, they are so pretty with thier furious colors and shapes. I did read your butterfly display an I must say that I came away not understanding what was going on, but I did like the different decorated butterflies. Now that you have explained what is going on in your butterfly display, I now understand and is very pleased that some of our (Brooklyn's) 5th grade students are able to participate in the upcoming across the world exhibit. How nice this is. Keep up the good works.
Posted by: Joyce A. Hall at 3/28/2013 11:35 a.m.

Hello Ms. Hall, Thank you! I was very excited with the turnout for the event! Thank you! Stephanie
Posted by: Stephanie Jarvais at 4/1/2013 12:15 p.m.

This is a very beautiful program Stephanie! I am glad the students were able to become so involved and their artwork really display the passion you put into this program. The butterflies are beautiful.
Posted by: Children's Librarian at 4/18/2013 1:57 p.m.

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