A French magazine made a comic to help adults talk about the Paris attacks with their kids.

Talking about tragedies with children is really difficult. This magazine hopes to make the conversation a little easier.

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, hearts around the world melted when we watched French father Angel Le comfort his young son.

Brandon was understandably scared.


GIFs via IN THE NOW/YouTube.

But Angel offered words of comfort.

Because the candles and flowers represent more than just mourning. They're a symbol of the power of peace, unity, healing, and dedication to fighting hate with love.

Understandably, not all of us feel as confident in our abilities to talk to our kids about violent events like this.

In times of tragedy, we struggle to understand what's behind such senseless violence. It can be extra difficult to balance the weight of these feelings when a child comes to us with questions.

How do we answer in a way that's honest and helpful?

Parisian boy looks at memorial candles outside Bataclan concert hall. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

That's why parents and teachers reached out to Astrapi — one of France's most popular children's magazines — to help with these difficult conversations.

In just 24 hours, Astrapi made and released a free, downloadable two-page pamphlet that makes this tough topic a little bit easier to tackle.

The geniuses behind the pamphlet? French cartoonist Frédéric Benaglia and his editor (and wife) Gwenaelee Boulet — who are parents themselves. They worked quickly to create this vital resource.

English version of the Astrapi pamphlet. Screenshot via BBC News/YouTube.

The pamphlet asks the questions that many children — and even adults — have in the aftermath of terrorist attacks:

"Why kill innocent people? Who are the terrorists? What can we do?"

And it provides some honest, powerful, and comforting answers:

"These ultra-violent men have nothing to do with most Muslims, who live their faith quietly. They are attacking France because it's a free country, where everyone can express themselves and live freely.

The best way to respond to the violence and madness of these men is to continue to live normally and defend one's ideas while respecting others."

Man and child walk by "Pray for Paris" graffiti on the road. Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.

Benaglia knew the accompanying images would be just as important as the words, so he worked hard to capture the sadness and compassion many children may have seen in others or felt themselves.

He explains in an interview with PBS, "I didn't want something too aggressive, I didn't want images of the Eiffel Tower broken or bloodied, but I wanted to show the pain. I think that's the feeling we all had."

Screenshot via BBC News/YouTube.

Why use a cartoon to talk about such a serious topic? Child psychologists say illustrations can be a great tool to help children cope with traumatic events.

When it comes to sensitive topics, imagery can be much easier for children to understand than just words. Instead of fumbling over abstract explanations of how the violence was an attack on French values, parents can use this pamphlet to provide an age-sensitive depiction of how terrorism is affecting people.

And the comic has really worked: The pamphlet has already reached so many.

According to PBS, in the first week of the pamphlet's publication, more than 2 million people visited the site to download it.

And the Facebook post announcing the cartoon has almost 15,000 shares, and counting. Now that's a message worth spreading.

Merci, Astrapi, for making such a difficult, but necessary, conversation easier for so many of us.

More

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

At Trump's 'Social Media Summit' on Thursday, he bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died' and he had witnessed said death. Wait, what?!


He didn't mean it literally - thank God. You can't be too sure! After all, he seemed to think that Frederick Douglass was still alive in February. More recently, he described a world in which the 1770s included airports. His laissez-faire approach to chronology is confusing, to say the least.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended


Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

SK-II

"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

SK-II

"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

SK-II
True
SK-II