Children, the environment, and storytelling: a few simple words yet when combined can become a powerhouse for teaching children the importance of taking care of our planet.
I belong to a number of writing groups, and I am a co-moderator of a children’s writing critique group. Recently, I began to wonder why more authors aren’t incorporating conservation tidbits into their story telling.
Writers have the perfect format for teaching and molding children, and the perfect opportunity. From picture books to young adult novels, conservation and the environment are topics that authors should be thinking of writing about, or at least weave into their stories. The saying goes, “you are what you eat,” well children become what they learn whether through their environment, including schooling, or reading. If young children are afforded reading material that paints a picture of the benefits and consequences of conservation in simple and entertaining stories, what better way to instill a sense that they can be part of the solution and help protect our environment. If those same children, while growing up, continue to read fiction and non-fiction stories that make mention of conservation and our environment, how much more will it have an impact on them and become a part of their lives.
While most authors may not want to devote their time to writing books about the environment, just a sentence or scene woven into a story will certainly have an affect. It can be a subtle mention. For example, if it’s a scene with a couple of friends hanging out or on their way somewhere, one or two sentences in the scene might be:
Lucas held the soda bottle in his hand, aimed carefully, and tossed it right into the trash can.
“Nice shot, Lucas, but that goes in the recycling pail,” said Thomas.
This would be the extent of the comment or mention of conservation in the story. It’s short, almost unseen, and yet it becomes a part of the reader’s experience. Isn’t this what writers want to do, leave an imprint in the minds and hearts of their readers? And, it’s all the more gratifying if it’s a child’s mind and heart that you’re helping to develop and mold.
Why not make our impressionable and lasting words take root. In addition to entertaining through our books and stories, we can make a difference in our future, our children’s future and the planet’s future.
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