The Nature of the Beast

by Ross

When taking the time to think about environmental issues such as deforestation, overpopulation and climate change, one cannot help but feel a tad frustrated with the world in its many facets. As such, writing about it provokes a similar sensation, as I continue to endure yet also enjoy my doctoral research in children's literature.

Conducting ecocritical analyses of picturebooks, as well as children's responses to them, I have come to apply the 'green lens' of this critical idiom to both printed and digital versions of these literary texts. In so doing, I have looked to interpret how picturebooks provide many young readers with their first literary representations of such environmental issues, as well as analysing the affordances provided by both their printed and digital platforms.

Whilst references to environmental issues residing within my thesis may well provoke a feeling of dismay, as well as the "tad of frustration" to which I have previously referred, it is, of course, due to such sentiments that I find myself undertaking doctoral research in the first place. Indeed, as both an educator and as an environmentalist, I intend for my research to shed light on children's understanding of environmental issues, by means of analysing their responses to a selection of picturebooks, thus enabling me to appreciate how children's literature can encourage an environmentalist ethos amongst its readership.

Needless to say, the seemingly small scale of my doctoral research suggests that this would not achieved independently of other academic endeavours. Nevertheless, if I can add but one piece of ecocritical thread to the associated tapestry of theoretical understanding, then I feel that my contribution to the field of children's literature will be an extremely worthwhile endeavour and one that I will be eternally proud of upon its completion.