Recent scholarship on children’s literature displays a wide variety of interests in classic and contemporary children’s books. While environmental and ecological concerns have led to an interest in ‘ecocriticism’, as yet there is little on the significance of the ecological imagination and experience to both the authors and readers – young and old – of these texts. This edited collection brings together a set of original international research-based chapters to explore the role of children’s literature in learning about environments and places, with a focus on how children’s literature may inform and enrich our imagination, experiences and responses to environmental challenges and injustice. Contributions from Australia, Canada, USA and UK explore the diverse ways in which children’s literature can provide what are arguably some of the first and possibly most formative engagements that some children might have with ‘nature’. Chapters examine classic and new storybooks, mythic tales, and image-based and/or written texts read at home, in school and in the field. Contributors focus on exploring how children’s literature mediates and informs our imagination and understandings of diverse environments and places, and how it might open our eyes and lives to other presences, understandings and priorities through stories, their telling and re-telling, and their analysis.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Environmental Education Research.
Introduction: Experiencing Environment and Place through Children’s Literature Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, Philip Payne, and Alan Reid 1. Through Green Eyes: Complex Visual Culture and Post-Literacy Sidney Dobrin 2. Re-searching and re-storying the complex and complicated relationship of biophilia and bibliophilia Heesoon Bai, Daniela Elza, Peter Kovacs and Serenna Romanycia 3. Remarkable-tracking, experiential education of the ecological imagination Philip Payne 4. Children’s literature as a springboard to place-based embodied learning Linda Wason-Ellam 5. The Stories are the people and the land: Three educators respond to environmental teachings in Indigenous children’s literature Lisa Korteweg, Ismel Gonzales, and JoJo Guillet 6. What’s there, what if, what then and what can we do? An Immersive and Embodied Experience of Environment and Place through Children’s Literature Geraldine Burke and Amy Cutter-Mackenzie 7. Exploring instructional strategies to develop prospective elementary teacher children’s literature book evaluation skills for science, ecology and environmental education Bill Hug 8. Developing environmental agency and engagement through young people’s fiction Jean Webb and Stephen Bigger 9. The Lord of the Rings – a mythos applicable in unsustainable times? Alun Morgan 10. Reading The Lorax, orienting in potentiality Amy Sloane 11. Openings for researching environment and place in children’s literature: ecologies, potentials, realities, and challenges Alan Reid, Philip Payne and Amy Cutter-Mackenzie