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Creative Outlets: Curious George Shows the Way

By Ellen Bari

 “Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.” Dr. Tom Barrett, motivational speaker and author.

 It surprised me to learn that Fifi the monkey, a.k.a. Curious George, the most beloved American mischief-maker, was born in Paris, amidst the chaos of war-torn Europe. His creators, German Jewish immigrants, continued to work on their children’s books with impassioned determination  while plotting their courageous escape from the Nazis.  I found the story particularly inspiring with a great lesson for us all- creative expression can offer salvation even in dire straits. This is not to suggest that we are able to produce masterpiece works of art whenever life gets tough, but I have no doubt that having a creative outlet, can help us through the roughest of times. 

Hans Augusto (H.A.) Rey, the illustrator, and Margaret, author/muse, miraculously fled the Nazis with little more that their drawings in tow.  Louise Borden’s fascinating book, The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margaret and H.A. Rey, 2005, which details the story of their escape, has come to life in a wonderful exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York, Curious George Saves the Day:  The Art of H.A. and Margaret Rey

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