Thank you to Sara Lewis Holmes at her blog Read Write Believe for this link to a Washington Post article about the Peace Through Puppets organization.
I think puppets are one of the most powerful forces in the universe. My own introduction to the world of puppetry came from a fellow school librarian and I owe her a world of thanks every time Dragon and I sit down with children. (There are times when I wish that the snide, obnoxious creature had never shown up but kids seem to appreciate his anarchy even when I do not.)
I have seen the busiest children sit perfectly still and follow directions to the letter in order to experience the joy of a puppet on their hand. One of the most moving school stories I've ever heard was of a distraught child in the principal's office would only talk to the small simple Styrofoam ball and handkerchief puppet creation that was a fellow librarian's side kick for years.
I did a series of puppetry lessons with my students every year once I discovered their power. Dover has a terrific book, Making Puppets Come Alive: How to Learn and Teach Hand Puppetry by Larry Engler and Carol Fijan which is an excellent resource for teaching ideas and has a pattern for a simple, faceless hand puppet which I used. You will need a class set.
Puppets engage imaginations and emotions in deep and important ways. We bemoan the effects of media on young people today, well, I say, hand out the puppets and watch the magic happen.
Sara Lewis Holmes website