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Wild About Wind

Children’s Natural History Books Are Amazing; Why Aren’t There More Explorations of Renewable Resources?

During a 2018 trip to Berlin, I was smitten by the range of Humboldtian picture books available in German, Dutch, and French. Not only did they tap into historic traditions, but they offered beautiful infographics for teaching children about ecological systems, plant geographies, and informal forestry. Oddly enough, there weren’t a lot of volumes addressing the social and cultural adaptations of climatic systems and ecological dynamics. So why not draw a few?

Wild About Wind

What you see below – in various spreads and working details – is my first, in-process book on renewables, entitled ‘Wild About Wind.’ Inspired by the format and drawings of Davey Owens animal series (last slide), the work uses colorful, vector graphics to explain what wind is and then walks children through three cultural instances (and settlement patterns) of using wind energy.

The slides you see below come from Dutch industrial windmill use (17-19th century) and the early introductory materials on atmospheric cycles, global/maritime wind patterns, and the topographic/development parameters shaping surface winds. See the wire-framed outline to understand more of the coverage and content (given the typical 32pg picture book).

Picturing Renewables

As you can see in the first slide, the full series of picture books will (fingers crossed) begin to tap into other renewable systems and socio-natural cycles, like carbon cycles. In my mind these book would appeal to forward thinking parents and, more importantly, the sort of kids that love David MaCaulay’s ‘How Things Work’ or get really excited about trains, planes, and logistical systems as well as the wild ones, who are excited to understand woodland creatures and long-extinct dinosaurs.

Future works, after I finish ‘Wild About Wind’, may include: Smitten with Solar, Hyper about Hydro-Power, Crazy for Carbon Capture, Raring for Remediation, Foundering with Fossil Fuels, and a bunch of not yet rhyme-worthy titles on green building, sustainable agriculture, and life-cycle assessment.

Team

Meg Studer is drawing the illustrations, graphic layouts, and copy. A team of readers will include friends, pre-school nieces and nephews, and, hopefully, a writers’ group. Full cohort to come!

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exploring renewables for the next generation

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