Why Re-Write a Myth?

Grania’s Tears transforms what was once a dark and violent Kurdish creationist myth into a peaceful, positive story with important messages about forced migration, multiculturalism and gender equality.

E.A. Nolan heard the Myth of the 500 Virgins in its original form while working with Kurdish refugees in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. As she listened, she was struck by the fact that all the male characters were criminals, and that all the female characters were victims. As an avid storyteller, she wondered if the same sequence of events might be explored from a completely different point of view. This was the beginning of Grania’s Tears.


Given the European refugee crisis, suddenly Grania’s Tears has a new role to play. 

  • With its strong themes about refugees and forced migration, Grania’s Tears can introduce very young children to basic human rights concepts in a way that is non-frightening.
  • Grania’s Tears can help refugee and internally displaced children to understand what happened to their families, and reassure them that it is okay to feel sad about the people and places they left behind. 
  • After reading Grania’s Tears, some refugee children may begin to share their own personal stories, which is an important part of the healing process.
  • Many children in host countries will soon have new classmates who have fled from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. Grania’s Tears can help these host country children to understand the experiences that their refugee classmates had to endure along the journey to freedom.