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Oberlin College

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and the Environment

Abstract

If today’s children learn to make decisions with the environment in mind, tomorrow’s future will be cleaner, greener, and energy leaner. Storybooks, which are a creative and imaginative learning tool, can influence children to pursue sustainable lifestyles. Early education through literature can help green decisions be the default mode for the next generation.

This project has two components. The first is to produce research on the following question: what kind of storybook instills environmental regard and motivates sustainable behavior? The second is to produce a children’s adaptation of Greeniology, a green living guide by Tanya Ha, which utilizes the findings of the above research.

My research methods included analysis of literature on environmental education, analysis of literature on writing children’s books, analysis of green storybooks and youth green living guides, interviews with authors and environmental educators, and brainstorming sessions with children.

The research determined that a positive outlook, clear and balanced factual information, and treatment of children as peers instead of inferiors are essential tenets of environmental education. Successful storybooks utilize humor, fanciful illustrations, and a main character that the reader can identify with and look up to. While environmental storybooks can reach readers emotionally and thus have a long-lasting effect, green living guides can pack in more information about environmental problems and solutions.

The final product, What Would Skinky Do?, utilizes the strengths of both fiction and non-fiction: it has endearing main characters and specific suggestions for a child-attainable green lifestyle.

Disciplines

Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Natural Resources and Conservation

 

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