Last Tuesday, had the honor of guest lecturing at St. Olaf College in an ecology class taught by my friend, Kiara Jorgenson. The ecology topics class, “Biophilia,” is about the human attraction to and affection for other living things. One of their units is on children’s literature and nature and Prof. Jorgenson invited me to both collaborate with her on their children’s literature project, and share with them some kidlit history and demonstrate portions of their assignment (read-alouds, book selection, citations, activities, etc.). I brought 110 books from my personal collection that weren’t duplicates of St. Olaf’s pretty wonderful collection of board, picture, and chapter books. I was also able to read aloud three of my favorite books: May We Have Enough to Share (Richard Van Camp), The Girl and the Wolf (Katherena Vermette, pictures by Julie Flett), and Nibi’s Water Song (Sunshine Tenasco, pictures by Chief Lady Bird).
On Thursday, I had the marvelous privilege of going with Prof. Jorgenson and her students to Dodge Nature Preschool and observing their 3-5 year olds in (very) muddy outdoor play. I got to taste some maple tree sap they collected and read two picture books with a small group at their teacher’s request! (In the Woods: Who’s been here? by Lindsay Barrett George, and Frog on a Log by Kes Gray with pictures by Jim Field)
Many thanks to Prof. Jorgenson, her students, and Preschool Director Amy Warzybok for a truly spectacular week!