This article investigates selected environmental informational picturebooks in which – often in both the main text and the peritext – readers find brief descriptions of actions they can take to change their habits and save the planet. The analysis focuses on lists of tasks incorporated into books and considers whether such sections (and, potentially, whole books) invite critical engagement. This ability seems crucial in times of fake news and the need for conscious action and political engagement in climate issues. In the first part, the theoretical framework on informational picturebooks is presented, and the importance of peritextual elements is stressed, as well as the critical thinking that may be fostered by a nonfiction text, referring to Joe Sutliff Sanders’ concept of “a literature of questions” (date?). Four international picturebooks are then discussed, representing both ‘traditional’ (Müll by Gerda Raidt and Śmieciogród by Ola Woldańska-Płocińska) and ‘new’ children’s nonfiction (Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari and Felicita Sala and Greta and the Giants by Zoë Tucker and Zoe Persico). The analysis demonstrates that green informational picturebooks may be perceived as both eco-activist books and books about eco-activism as they present certain tasks and encourage the readers to take actions; hence, the term “a literature of actions” has been proposed, as these books seem to trigger little critical thinking. The reason green informational picturebooks are unlikely to foster critical engagement may be that fighting the climate crisis is crucial to ensure humanity’s future wellbeing.
Storying Plants in Australian Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Roots and Winged Seeds explores cultural and historical aspects of the representation of plants in Australian children’s and young adult literature, encompassing colonial, postcolonial, and Indigenous perspectives. While plants tend to be backgrounded as of less narrative interest than animals and humans, this book, in conversation with the field of critical plant studies, approaches them as living beings worthy of attention. Australia is home to over 20,000 species of native plants – from pungent Eucalypts to twisting mangroves, from tiny orchids to spiky, silvery spinifex. Indigenous Australians have lived with, relied upon, and cultivated these plants for many thousands of years. When European explorers and colonists first invaded Australia, unfamiliar species of plants captured their imagination. Vulnerable to bushfires, climate change, and introduced species, plants continue to occupy fraught but vital places in Australian ecologies, texts, and cultures. Discussing writers from Ambelin Kwaymullina and Aunty Joy Murphy to May Gibbs and Ethel Turner, and embracing transnational perspectives from Ukraine, Poland, and Aotearoa New Zealand, Storying Plants addresses the stories told about plants but also the stories that plants themselves tell, engaging with the wide-ranging significance of plants in Australian children’s and Young Adult literature.
«Trä är ett väldigt levande material»
Mennesker som blir til trær, i tre skandinaviske bildebøker
by Beatrice G. Reed
Arboreal metamorphoses are featured in mythical texts from all over the world. The motif has particularly been explored in children’s literature, with Carlo Collodi’s La avventura di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino (1883) being one of its most influential examples. While the Pinocchio narrative has largely been interpreted as a development from raw nature to a more mature cultural existence, transformations from human to tree appear far more ambivalent. The young research field of critical plant studies provides an opportunity to explore the motif and its embedded transgressions between the human and vegetal sphere in new ways. The article examines three Scandinavian picturebooks through such a plant-oriented approach. Metamorphosis is central to Hans Sande’s and Olav Hagen’s Plommetreet [The Plum Tree] (1984), Anna Jacobina Jacobsen’s Baglænsk [Backwardish] (2019) and Lisen Adbåge’s Furan [The Pine] (2021). By examining how the transformations are depicted, the contribution seeks to illuminate the ecocritical potential provided by arboreal metamorphosis.
Read/les article/artikkel: https://doi.org/10.18261/edda.110.3.2
In this paper, I examine how the novels Anna [The World According to Anna] by Jostein Gaarder (2013) and Blå [The End of the Ocean] by Maja Lunde (2017) discuss fundamental dilemmas related to energy and sustainability. Although the novels have different target groups, they have several common features. They both bring a generational perspective to climate and environmental issues. Also, dialogues on energy and sustainability issues have a central place in both texts. How, and to what extent, do central characters in Anna and Blå negotiate values related to energy dilemmas? The theoretical approach to my analyses is a combination of Mikhail Bakhtinʼs perspectives on dialogue, and the Nature in Culture Matrix (Goga et al., 2018), which builds on insights from ecocritical perspectives. I argue that the dialogues in Blå highlight conflicts and dilemmas, while the different characters in Anna largely have the same viewpoints when it comes to the relationship between humans, culture, and nature.
Read article: https://www.idunn.no/doi/10.18261/blft.14.1.8
by Nina Goga, Lykke Guanio-Uluru, Bjørg Oddrun Hallås, Sissel M. Høisæter, Aslaug Nyrnes & Hege Emma Rimmereide
This article argues that revisions of curricula in teacher education, undertaken in response to the UN’s Agenda 2030, goal 4.7, and the OECD’s The Future of Education and Skills, need to consider new ways of teaching topics related to current environmental issues. Grounded in ecocriticism and dialogic teaching practices, this article promotes ecocritical dialogues, as developed by the research group Nature in Children’s Literature and Culture, as one viable teaching approach. Ecocritical dialogues engage with a conceptual figure developed by the group, the NatCul Matrix, which functions as a grid for the discussion of different materials, texts, and practices, in dynamic dialogue with main figures of thought in the environmental discourse. The article further proposes a set of questions as a framework for setting up ecocritical dialogues. Ecocritical dialogues aim to enable student teachers to experience and reflect upon environmentally oriented teaching practices.
Available online as open access
By Marnie Campagnaro & Nina Goga
The article reports on a course module designed to promote an ecocritical and new materialist approach to children’s literature and to support student teachers’ skills regarding sustainability. The course module was offered in autumn 2020 and was completed by 260 students of children’s literature with no previous scholarly knowledge about ecocriticism prior to the course. Building on basic ecocritical theory, posthuman perspectives on humans’ intra-actions with material entities, and the students’ previous experiences with didactic tools for developing sustainability competencies through literature, the course module aimed to critically contribute to the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in teacher education. The research material consists of fifty-three video assignments by groups consisting of three to four students. The material has been analysed in line with the methodological implications of video content analysis, focusing on three aesthetic and material entanglements – that is, entanglements with picturebooks, with peers, and with the environment.