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Chicago Children’s Humanities Festival

Author John Cech
Air Date 10/23/2006

Chicago Children’s Humanities Festival Transcript

For the next two weeks in Chicago, something extraordinary is happening: the Chicago Children’s Humanities Festival. From October 28th through November 12th, the city will be alive with cultural events for children and families — performances and exhibitions, concerts and workshops. This year, the festival programs in some way seek to explore the theme of this year’s festival, “Getting to Peace.” That yearning for peace and reconciliation in our lives is reflected in a premiere during the festival of a musical adaptation of Sadako, by Eleanor Coerr, a story that focuses on the struggle of a Japanese girl to survive the leukemia that she contracted as a result of the atomic bombing of her home city, Hiroshima. Another major event at the festival is the presentation of the Chicago Tribune Young Adult Fiction Prize, which will be awarded this year to Kate DiCamillo whose concern for the peaceful mending of the rent fabric of life is woven through her novels Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux.

Another kind of search for resolution occurs in the American Place Theatre company’s staged presentation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, about a boy’s attempt to come to some terms with grief over the loss of his father in the World Trade Center tragedy of 9/11. An on-going exhibit during the festival is devoted to the art of young Chicago artists who have taken “Peace and War: Facing Human Conflict” as the subject of their new works. And another art-based project, “Signs for Peace,” explores the creative possibilities of portraits based on the uniqueness of our individual fingerprints. And one of the festival events that is sure to draw a humanities-hungry crowd is the Buffet Banquet: Make Peas, Not War — which involves a chef and actors providing families with a dramatic menu for imagining together a meal that has a good chance of delighting and appeasing everyone’s tastes. You can find a complete calendar of the festival program on their website at

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