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Thursday 30 March 2023

Guest Post: Louis White on Writing About The Environment For Children

Today we welcome Louis White and his take on why educating our young people on the world in which they live is important.

One of my favourite memories as a child was to sneak off to my bedroom and read a book. This was not an easy task, as I grew up in a big family – one of nine children – and shared a bedroom with two brothers (first two younger brothers and then two older brothers) until I was 17.

I then converted the second lounge room into a bedroom so I could study for my Tertiary Admissions Exam.

I was determined to pass on my love of reading to my daughter. When her mother was pregnant I read books to her most nights. As soon as Lily was born I began reading and by the time Lily was two years, she would want up to a dozen books read to her each night.

But I didn’t want to read any books, I wanted to educate Lily at the same time.

When she turned three, I thought I would expand upon an idea I had before she was born and teach Lily about the environment, ecology and the importance of both for humans.

I had an idea that Lily would meet five of the most important insects needed on the planet and in each book they would explain in a rhyming fashion what they do, how they breed and how they contribute to the survival of humanity.

The Adventures of Lily Series
was born and it was harder to write than I initially imagined. Trying to maintain simplicity in style and context, while explaining the workings of an insect, all in rhyming fashion, takes a lot longer than you think.

Yes, the idea might come quickly to you, but ensuring children understand the messaging is not an easy task.

But I was determined to succeed and sought out help from children’s pre-school where I gained valuable feedback from teachers and students alike.

The whole point of the series is to educate, inform and entertain.

I want children to walk away after reading the books asking questions about why we need bees, the roles butterflies play in our world and be inquisitive to the surroundings of nature.

We should always try to pique a child’s curiosity. They want to learn and their brain is a sponge. By challenging them in reading, we will bring out the best in our children and they will have a better understanding of how everything fits together.

By concentrating on insects, it also allows children to be aware of creatures smaller than them. It is very easy in the playground to look up and around, but when children look down, it gives them a sense of perspective and to see an ant crawling along the pavement, instead of thinking ‘that ant might bite me’ they will now understand that the ant, and all its friends, are playing a crucial in the environmental growth of our planet.

Initially, Lily was uncomfortable with the books and kept on saying, ‘Dad, why did you write books about me?’ I explained it was out of love.

When I finally convinced Lily to take the books to school, her attitude changed completely because her friends thought she was ‘famous’. It was hard not to laugh.

The Adventures of Lily Series
has expanded to include a book called, Lily and the Dragon to teach children not to judge anyone or anything without getting to know it first and doing some of their own research. It is very easy to be afraid and critical of something we don’t know but dig deeper and you will be surprised.

At the end of the day we all want to be accepted.

Teaching children about the world around them, their role, and the roles of insects, and how everything fits together, is vitally important if we want them to have a bigger and brighter future than us.

Louis White is an experienced journalist and corporate writer who has written for major daily newspapers in Australia. Inspired by his daughter Lily and her curiosity and passion for nature, he began writing the Adventures of Lily series with an aim to encourage children to get closer to nature and understand the world around them. His other books include, A Christmas Story and an adult fiction book titled One Season.

Learn more about this series and Louis White via: www.louiswhite.com