Puppets’ Rights Workshop for Educators 

Puppets’ Rights Workshop for Educators

Monday, April 12, 2021
4:00pm – 5:00pm

This workshop will offer educators tools for engagement with their students in the classroom on difficult subjects using puppetry techniques.


In the United States, over 2.7 million children (1 in 28) currently have a parent who is incarcerated (Prison Fellowship).  According to Mariame Kaba, author of Missing Daddy, “many children cannot articulate their feelings of longing for their incarcerated parent and so they keep their anger, sadness and fear bottled up. This book is my attempt to amplify the voices of children with incarcerated loved ones”.  Missing Daddy is written from an anti-bias framework to help children develop positive personal and social identities.  It’s a story where the “young narrators father goes to prison when she is just three years old.  Sometimes her classmates are cruel, but she is surrounded by a loving family, an understanding teacher and counselor. This poignant book will not only help young children who find themselves in a similar circumstance, but will also help sensitize classmates and educators themselves. Missing Daddy is a warm and necessary book” -Rethinking Schools

For our third puppetry workshop, Neda Izadi will feature the book Missing Daddy by Mariame Kaba and illustrated by Bria Royal to highlight the importance of dignity and respect for all families. Recognizing that family dynamics and structures differ, and families themselves often face varying challenges, this workshop presents an opportunity to talk about and celebrate each of our unique family structures.

During the workshop, we will learn how to make finger puppets and sock puppets. These two techniques are very similar and simple in terms of construction and materials, and doable with students in the classroom.  Students can learn both techniques then make characters based on either sock or finger puppets.  Neda will use everyday household items that are easily accessible/recycled materials.  Educators and people of all ages are encouraged to attend.

Participating educators in the workshop (upon request) will receive their own kit which includes materials to create their own show for the classroom.

Puppetry is a proven technique in education and has been used to teach a variety of topics to children of all ages in school and through media. Neda Izadi, workshop creator and facilitator says, “puppetry is a combination of visual and performing arts and students can have fun creating a character with simple materials such as cardboard, pipe cleaners, and paper bowls. Students can then bring the character to life on the stage and give them personalities with different races, religion or culture and perform the show. I sincerely believe the students would have more sympathy with the characters they make with their own hands”.

Using the book Martin and Anne based on Dr. Martin Luther King and Anne Frank (written by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg), the first workshop last November utilized toy theater technique and focused our conversation on racial and religious prejudice, and the power of love to overcome hate.

The second workshop focused on the issue of immigration using the book La Frontera: El Viaje Con Papa/My Journey with Papa by Deborah Mills, Alfredo Alva, and Claudia Navarro and opened dialogue on the tough decisions made in leaving ones own country, and the difficulties of being an immigrant in a new country.

Neda Izadi received her B.F.A of puppetry from the University of Sooreh, Tehran in 2010.  Born in Tehran, Iran, Neda moved to the United States to study puppetry in the department of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut in 2017.  She graduated with an M.F.A in Drama with a focus on Puppetry in 2020. She began working with Dodd Impact in July 2020 on human rights educational workshops for high school teachers and students.