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Year of Graduation

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Directing Professor

Professor Mary Jane Begin

Abstract

Children’s literature is a gateway into other worlds, including the wild, untamed, natural world. In this paper, I argue that a love of nature fosters empathy for others. Picture books about nature inspire readers to directly experience the outdoors for themselves, promoting a love of nature. Caring for the plants and animals that cohabitate this planet along side us, stirs compassion for them, which encourages empathy, extending past nature, to others as well. In this paper, I utilize picture book mentor texts and literary criticism to analyze three of my own picture books, how they relate to children’s literature today and where my work fits into children’s literature. From developing a spirit of curiosity, to discovering a heart of empathy and compassion, extending to activism and protecting our planet, my picture books, Mr. Mittens, Starting Over, and Ruffled Feathers, create a narrative journey through the natural world with conservation at the core.

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