The Environmental Imagination and Children’s Literature

This conference sounds amazing. Having heard many of the speakers before I know they will be thought-provoking, moving, and entertaining.  It will be held March 5-6, 2010 at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGINATION AND CHILDREN’S LITERATURE will feature renowned children’’s authors from Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.: David Almond, M.T. Anderson, Susan Cooper, Sarah Ellis and Tim Wynne-Jones. They will be joined by Professor Lawrence Buell, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University and Professor Marguerite Holloway, professor of science and environmental issues journalism at the Journalism School, Columbia University.

Academics and university students, writers and illustrators, teachers, librarians, publishers and editors — anyone eager to think hard about children’s lit. is invited to this fest of thinking readers and writers. Interested high school students are also welcome.

What makes the imagination in children’s books “environmental”? What do climatologists and botanists, children’s writers and artists, and the playing child have in common? Examining the stuff of which children’s books are made — words and pictures — some of the world’s leading children’’s writers and experts on literature will look at the way children’’s books create and critique the environment and environmental issues. Why is wilderness necessary in writing as in the natural world? How do miniature characters change a child’’s environmental imagination? What happens when fantasy takes on the climate? What do ““affluence, effluents, dancing cows, and forty-two pounds of edible fungus”” have to do with the child’’s relationship to the natural world?

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