Talking about Terrorism: Responding to Children's Questions

Talking about Terrorism: Responding to Children's Questions

by Alison Jamieson, Jane Flint


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Talking about Terrorism: Responding to Children's Questions by Alison Jamieson, Jane Flint

Children’s questions about terrorism can be penetrating and hard to answer. Many teachers (and parents) will be caught unawares by such questions, uncertain themselves about terrorist motivation and goals and torn between the natural instinct to reassure and the awareness that Britain is on continuous terrorist alert.

Talking about Terrorism is structured around 40 questions that children may ask – What do terrorists want? How can we stop someone becoming a terrorist? Who is keeping us safe in Britain? Why are terrorists so angry and full of hate? When will terrorism end? – and answers the questions in clear, easy-to-understand language. The authors provide simple, objective explanations and try where possible to reassure, while being careful not to raise unrealistic expectations.

As Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, points out in the Foreword to the book:

“If we are to reassure our young people, encourage their tolerance of others, and prevent them from being groomed into acts that could hurt themselves or others, we must talk with them and educate them. This book sets out to help teachers do just that. … it is impossible to shield children from the reality of terrorist attacks. But, with open conversation and clear explanations, we can help them feel safe and know that the world is still a good place.”

The text is interspersed with activities that Lower and Upper Key Stage 2 teachers can use to stimulate critical thinking and encourage creative investigation of key themes. These range from discussions and debates, the use of circle time and hot-seating through to role-play, poetry and music composition, singing and artwork.

Despite the focus on terrorism the authors never lose sight of a core belief in human goodness. They make it a priority to focus on positive actions that children can perform, singly or collectively, to make the world more peaceful. Each section has inspiring stories of peacemaking and reconciliation, about the power of love over hate, of non-violence over violence and the importance of tolerance and respect.

As Iona Lawrence, Director of the Jo Cox Foundation, says in an introductory message to the book:

“Jo [Cox] really did live by the conviction that we have ‘more in common than that which divides us.’ As this book also shows, it is this phrase that can and should guide conversations with children about extremism in all its forms.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783172788
Publisher: Brilliant Publications Ltd
Publication date: 05/05/2017
Pages: 116
Product dimensions: 8.27(w) x 11.69(h) x 0.24(d)

Table of Contents


  • What this book is about
  • What the book offers, apart from questions and answers
  • What we say about terrorism
  • Curriculum links
  • Talking about Terrorism and Prevent
  • Terminology and definitions
  • How to get the most out of this book
  • What to look out for in each section
  • Where to start – Suggested introduction for children


1. What is terrorism?

2. What do terrorists do?

3. What do terrorists want?

4. What do the terrorists’ families think about it?

5. What are the consequences of terrorism?

6. What do TV, Internet and social media have to do with terrorism?

7. What can children do to make the world more peaceful?


8. Why is terrorism different from other violence?

9. Why are terrorists so angry and full of hate?

10. Why do people say that terrorism is about religion?

11. Why do people put flowers down and light candles after a terrorist attack?

12. Why do terrorists kill innocent people that they don’t know?

13. Why do terrorists kill themselves as well as other people?

14. Why do we say someone is a lone-wolf terrorist?

15. Why can terrorist attacks not be stopped before they happen?

16. Why should we be careful who we talk to on social media/Internet?


17. Who’s Who in this book? (An easy reference)

18. Who is a terrorist?

19. Who do terrorists attack?

20. Who is keeping us safe in Britain?

21. Who are Al-Qaeda and Islamic State?


22. Where does terrorism come from?

23. Where do terrorists live?

24. Where do terrorists go if they change their minds

25. Where are we safe?

26. Where do British values come from?

27. Where can we see that peace has won over terrorism?

How? ...

When? ...

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