Openings for researching environment and place in children's literature: ecologies, potentials, realities and challenges

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Reid, A, Payne, PG & Cutter-Mackenzie, AN 2010, 'Openings for researching environment and place in children's literature: ecologies, potentials, realities and challenges', Environmental Education Research, vol. 16, no. 3-4, pp. 429-461.

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This not quite 'final' ending of this special issue of Environmental Education Research traces a series of hopeful, if somewhat difficult and at times challenging, openings for researching experiences of environment and place through children's literature. In the first instance, we draw inspiration from the contributors who have authored, often autoethnographically, some of the art and craft of their respective ecopedagogies and research efforts. We then proceed with a reminder of the lurking presence of fear found in some of the articles published here and elsewhere, opening up the fear factor at large in broader everyday, social, political and global discourses to further scrutiny and a more optimistic quest when engaging children's literature, its risks and its hopes. Our aim here, as noted in the Editorial, is to develop the discourse and practice of environmental education research in this area. Thus, we also explore how children's literature has a pedagogical place in the positive social construction of intergenerational ethics focusing on how and what, and in what ways, textual and visual messages can be passed on to that next generation, and how and what they might take up creatively and imaginatively, in practice and conceptually. To do this, we offer thoughts on how children's literature might draw selectively from broader aspects of the eco-literature and humanities, and finally, on the basis of this collection, present a series of possible research issues and further deliberations to broadly nurture the development of research in this area.

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