How a French magazine tries to explain the inexplicable to the youth of France
Understanding what happened in Paris on Friday, November 13 borders on impossible for adults. For children, it’s even more of a challenge. But the French youth magazine Astrapi is attempting to explain the inexplicable. In a two-page news supplement, the magazine answers questions about the terrorist attacks for its readership, children 7 to 11 years old.
Illustrated by Frédéric Benaglia, the supplement (viewable as a PDF) answers the seemingly simple queries of three children. “Is it true that France is at war?” one child asks. “Can the terrorists come to my house?” asks another. “I don’t want to see horrific images—I just want to understand what happened,” says the final child.
Using direct and informal language—including the more familiar “tu” form of “you,” which in French indicates that one is speaking to someone they know—the Astrapi supplement breaks down the events and what they mean for France. “While the police conduct their investigation, we do not know much about these killers,” the magazine explains. “What we do know is that they are terrorists: people who use violence and terror to impose their ideas. They are even ready to die for them.”
Though the supplement explains that Islamist terrorists carried out the attacks, it points out that these “ultraviolent” killers “have nothing to do with the majority of Muslims, who live their faith peacefully.”
The Astrapi supplement acknowledges that while it’s normal to feel afraid after a serious event, the best way to respond to violence is to continue to live normally and respect others.
“Terrorism scares me!” one child exclaims in one of Astrapi’s illustrations.
“Terrorists are even more scared of freedom!” answers another.