by Marnie Campagnaro and Nina Goga
Contemporary children’s literature has developed a growing interest in the interconnectedness between humans and the environment and in the ongoing exchange and negotiation of ways to be in the world. These new directions in children’s literature consequently challenge teachers of children’s literature in higher education. The study of contemporary children’s literature needs not only to be informed by new theoretical perspectives like ecocriticism, posthumanism and new materialism, but also to revisit, develop and explore the methodological tools and teaching practices necessary to prepare students to address these demanding issues. The aim of the article is to present and discuss the research question: How is it possible to secure scholarly dialogue and practical collaboration in an academic course on nonfiction children’s literature and environmental issues? Building on a cross-disciplinary theoretical framework consisting of theory of nonfiction, ecocriticism, dialogic teaching, environmental architecture and place-based teaching, the study reports on a pilot course which took place in the summer of 2020. Due to the pandemic situation the course became digital. Hence the digital challenges and possibilities turned out to be a critical aspect of the planned practical collaboration between students, teachers and students and teachers. The main goal of the course was to help motivate students to engage in and negotiate about nonfiction children’s literature and sustainability, to enhance their aesthetic experiences and to foster their environmental consciousness through children’s literature. The course was characterized by its alternating blending of lectures and hands-on experiences with theoretical and methodological tools as well as nature or culture specific places.
Full text: https://ojs.uv.es/index.php/JLE/article/view/21019/19076
by Nina Goga
Recent research on changes in literary conceptions of children and childhood have paid attention to how child agency is expressed both verbally and visually. This emphasis on child agency can be seen in connection with changes within educational thinking. As an example, one may point to how critical thinking is emphasised in the new Norwegian school curriculum, and to how UNESCO emphasises critical thinking competence as a key competence to secure sustainable development.
The material of this article is primarily book reviews, but also nomination texts and book presentations related to three environmentally and climate engaged nonfiction books for children. I examine here how adult reviewers and mediators of nonfiction for children relate to the idea that children and young adults have the right to question the practices and values adults are greatly responsible for.
To answer this, I first explain how I, in this article, understand the concept of agency, and which connection I see between this concept and the emphasis on critical thinking in the new Norwegian school curriculum, the Knowledge Promotion Reform 2020, and critical thinking as key competence for sustainable development. I then take a closer look at research examining how child agency is addressed in recent childrenʼs literature. Finally, building on these perspectives I carry out a theory-driven content analysis of the selected material examining how adult readers (a) evaluate the characteristic of successful knowledge dissemination in nonfiction addressing child readers, (b) comprehend the invitation to child agency as expressed in the three books, and (c) respond to this agency in relation to adultsʼ own role in society.
Read article (in Norwegian): https://www.idunn.no/blft/2021/01/hva_er_greia_med_aa_engasjere_barn_og_unge
Denne antologi giver indblik i økokritiske strømninger i nyere nordisk børne- og ungdomslitteratur, både fra et forskningsmæssig, formidlingsmæssig, illustrativt, litterært skabende perspektiv. Antologien byder blandt andet på essays om antropocæne udfordringer, undersøgelser af relationen mellem natur, kultur og skrald og miljøaktivister i nordisk børne- og ungdomslitteratur. Derudover findes syv stærke økodramaer, der alle er blevet til i samarbejde mellem nordiske illustratorer og forfattere.
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This article addresses the need for student teachers to experience how to engage ecocritically with children’s literature to be able to support and develop the sustainability competencies of their future students. In order to respond to this need, we designed a research project examining how Norwegian and Catalan student teachers express and negotiate their ideas about an Italian–French picturebook in a teacher–researcher designed ecocritical literature conversation (ELC). The collected material, consisting of students’ notes and sound recorded and transcribed group discussions, was analysed following the steps of content analysis with an emphasis on finding evidence of dialogic competencies and ecocritical competencies. Although the students did not explicitly integrate ecocritical terminology in their discussions, we found that when structured in line with ideas of dialogic teaching, ecocritical thinking, and literature didactics, literature conversations proved to be a useful tool for these students to critically engage with and negotiate about representations of nature and ecological wisdom from the selected picturebook.
See/download article: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/18/7653
Education for sustainability in early childhood tends to focus on practices and advocacy, rather than on the aims of this education. We suggest that the aim should be to consider children as being and becoming eco-citizens. This suggestion is built on an exploration of children as eco-citizens. With theories concerning child-sized citizenship we suggest a description of children and adults as being and becoming eco-citizen. We explore this through the fields of nature connection and science and children’s curiosity. We find that environmentally friendly practices as gardening and harvesting wild food show how children’s eco-citizenship is realizable. We support this additionally by references to how children’s literature, seeing how children depicted as eco-citizens can support the notion of children as eco-citizens. Through these analyses, we conclude that children should be viewed as being and becoming eco-citizens.
Read full version: https://journals.uio.no/nordina/article/view/6186
Based on an investigation of 34 award-winning Norwegian picturebooks spanning the years from 1948 to 2010, I found that a substantial number portray outdoor spaces in nature as the most prevalent domestic space. My aim is to explore the depicted child’s relation to nature and discuss whether the child seeks to master nature, and how the idea of ‘mastering nature’ may be perceived. From the corpus, ten books have been selected for this exploration. The article is structured in three parts. First, I outline the comparative framework and the main findings of my inquiry into the whole corpus. Second, I sketch a theoretical background for the following analyses. This background is supported by studies on the importance of nature in Norwegian children’s literature and on the competent Nordic child . Finally, I present my analyses of the selected picturebooks with an emphasis on possible differences between boy and girl characters.
Read online a full version of the article: https://rpd.unibo.it/article/view/10035/9842