Children’s Books Lose Touch With Nature

A group of researchers, led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s J. Allen Williams Jr., examined the pictures found in the pages of Caldecott Medal-winning books from 1938 (the first year the prize was awarded) to today. They looked for images of a natural environment (as opposed to a “built” or “modified” environment like a house or park) and of wild animals (rather than domesticated or anthropomorphized creatures). What they found probably doesn’t surprise any parent or child for whom the world of “Blueberries for Sal” is completely alien: where once children’s books offered essentially equal illustrative doses of built and natural environments, natural environments “have all but disappeared” in the last two decades.

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