Friday, March 27, 2015

Editorial cartoonist explain significance of current events to elementary school students

By Caroline Bach

MADISON (WKOW) -- Sometimes it's difficult to explain troubling events on the news to your kids, but a Madison editorial cartoonist is helping out.   
Phil Hands from the Wisconsin State Journal visited students at Van Hise Elementary School on Madison's west side.  One of the topics he covered was recently when editorial cartoons became a part of the news during the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper.  Twelve people were killed in early January by radical Islamists after the paper's depiction of Prophet Muhammed.  

Hands explained to the students how his job relies on freedom of speech, a liberty we have both here in the U.S. and in France.  While he may not agree with the satire behind the cartoon, Hands saw the event as an attack on his livelihood.  "They have the right to say it, and to think that someone was killed for expressing themselves in cartoon form, was really terrifying for me," Hands told the students.  "It...really makes you think about what you do."  
Hands says the attacks motivated him to draw the best cartoons he could.   
The State Journal cartoonist also spent time talking about the cartoons he draws concerning current events closer to home, focusing largely on big-name politicians, like President Obama and Governor Walker.  
"I hope [the students] understand the power of media and the power of cartoons," says Hands.  "How expressing yourself visually can be important and is an option as well.  I know some people have trouble expressing themselves in words sometimes, and sometimes pictures are the nice way to show people how to share their thoughts, especially, you know, deep passionate thoughts."   
At the end of the presentation, Phil taught the students how to create some of the cartoons he draws, including the President and the Governor.   

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