Books have a responsibility to teach. That's all this is. It's a tool.
Is the dichotomy too much? A picture book.... about the end of the world... it's teaching consequence...
There are consequences to mistreating the environment, and children need to be taught that. I know they hear about it at school and learn which leaves are which, and that frogs eat bugs, and bees are important pollinators, but that's just stating the obvious. What about opening the class with - What if there were no more frogs or bees or trees? How about that for an entrance? Then you explain the negative effects of losing trees like: no more oxygen, or if the bee's disappear: no more fruits and vegetables. Lead with the frightening possibilities of a world without, and then get into how to make sure none of that stuff ever happens.
An Angry Earth is the first of its kind to teach about an apocalyptic end via a picture book. It gives the worst case scenario. It also does so with graphic pen and ink illustrations. The author/illustrator is not going to offer a rainbow of colours to keep your attention, no. He's offering you a chance to understand the consequences of your actions or inactions where our environment is concerned. So pick up a copy and read through it. If you want your kids to read it, give it to them. If nothing else, it will make them think, and maybe even ask you questions about what they can do to prevent an apocalyptic end.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Writing metaphorically is a style of story-telling which resonates with people. From the ancient world turtle story right through to modern day narratives, the metaphor has contributed deeper meaning and depth to our stories.
Many metaphorical tales have been borrowed from one generation to the next – updating the content - but maintaining the metaphor, in order to tell a similar story. The world turtle, for example, can be seen today in the new picture book, *An Angry Earth. The world turtle; based in the ancient Hindu belief that the world rode upon the back of a giant turtle could easily be seen as a metaphor that the Earth was alive. An Angry Earth then goes on to tell the story of a planet which had been abused by its people, poisoned and polluted until it had had enough, and sent earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and drought to its people. The metaphor remains the same – the earth is alive - yet the story changes to reflect a modern day problem.
Writing in metaphor is a powerful way to embed an idea or emotion in the reader. It offers real-world drama to its audience, while forcing their minds to work on that metaphorical level of understanding which has been with us since the beginning; since we began telling stories to each other.
If nothing else, metaphors add an interesting element to the act of story-telling and should not be overlooked in any genre for their powerful ability to build depth and interest into any tale.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
An Angry Earth, the latest book by author and illustrator Michael Poeltl (pronounced pur-tel – Yes, sounds just like: turtle) is a picture book which borrows from the myth of the world turtle. This story has several origins, touching multiple continents, but perhaps the best known is the Hindu telling of the gigantic turtle who supports the world on its shell.
Poeltl borrows the myth in order to get his point across – that the world is alive. Just as a living, breathing turtle carrying the world upon its shell, the earth too is alive, and the turtle acts as the metaphor.
Poeltl goes on to briefly explain how the world is alive and functions as a single entity supporting multiple species which each plays its role in sustaining the delicate balance the earth has created for us all.
So, the question he asks the reader is; “if you could not swim, would you kill the turtle whose back you lived on to live more comfortably?”. Seems a no-brainer, right? Why would you kill the very thing which sustains you? And so, with a rather graphic illustration he captures the ugly side of man essentially sawing the head off a turtle.
Of course anyone can see the metaphor here; as intended. Poeltl is bringing our attention to the theft of our earth’s natural resources, the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution which is choking the very life out of our delicate ecosystem.So the answer is, Yes. Would we kill the turtle (the Earth) to further our greed? Absolutely, Yes! And climate change is our proof. Of course the Pacific plastic patch is an excellent reminder as well. Our disappearing rain forests. Our decimated coral reefs. There are numerous examples of man’s footprint on this earth, and with so many being negative, Poeltl decided to bring the story back in a picture book which is illustrated in pen and ink to depict the violent end which awaits us all if we continue on our path of self-destruction in the name of greed.
This cool for kids and parents’ rendition of a ‘tell it like it is’ environmentally-friendly story will offer a blunt and no-holds barred example of what happens when the earth says: “ENOUGH.”
Whether you read it to your kids or just keep it for yourself, it is sure to leave an impression. Poeltl takes the scared straight approach with An Angry Earth and says: “if a few kids get upset by it, maybe those kids will pick up the trash others are throwing down in an effort to reduce the damage we’re doing to Mother Earth. Maybe then the Earth won’t hate them.”
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Is it okay to talk about the environment? Are we all on the same side on this issue? Do we all accept that humanity’s’ role in climate change is indisputable? The truth is we’re not all on the same page and that can be attributed to lack of education or ignorance or both. Whatever the reason, whichever argument you support, it won’t change the end we’re spiraling towards. Not if you don’t change.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. That logic applies to climate change as well. We managed to alter the planet’s CO2 content, and that didn’t happen overnight. We managed to poison rivers and lakes and uproot our rain forests. All of that began with a single step. A step in the wrong direction. One fueled by greed. We’ve made the mess we’re in, and we can clean it up. We have the technologies. We have the will. What happened to the survival instinct? Do you really believe money is the key to survival? Air and water are our keys to survival and we’ve poisoned both. We continue to poison them through oil and gas line ruptures all over the world, dumping toxins into our soil, oceans and fresh water. How, if we have any interest in surviving as a species, can we allow this to continue when there are alternatives to fossil fuels?
Re-training the industries which are destroying our ability to live on this planet is key. Jobs are necessary. People can be re-trained in sustainable energy manufacturing. Life needn’t change, only perspectives and education. It’s not too late, or maybe it is. Maybe we should resign ourselves to accept our fate.
Books like An Angry Earth give children and parent’s alike a taste of what’s to come if we continue on this path of deliberate destruction. An Angry Earth is a tale which ends in tragedy on a global scale. Learn from it and teach your children that if they continue to pollute the planet as their fathers and grandfather’s and great grandfather’s have, their children will not grow up. Teach them to live sustainably. To pick up litter. To recycle. To compost. Teach them to garden. The more involved they are with nature, the better they will understand why She is worth saving. For Her, for the animals and the insects, and for us.
An Angry Earth tells it like it is. And it tells it with tastefully illustrated pages which makes the book cool for kids and adults alike. There is currently a Trailer for the book available now, and the book itself can be purchased via Amazon.
Also find the author on Goodreads.
Also find the author on Goodreads.