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Research Highlights

Nature Declines in Kids’ Books

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The built environment is crowding out nature in award-winning children’s picture books, consistent with a growing isolation from the natural world, suggests a study led by UNL sociology professor emeritus J. Allen Williams Jr. The study examined nearly 300 children’s books that won or received the Caldecott Medal from 1938 through 2008. Beginning in the mid-1970s, the number of illustrations depicting nature and animals has declined steadily as images of the built environment have increased. The decline suggests today’s children aren’t being socialized toward understanding and appreciating the natural world and their place within it. The study was published in the journal Sociological Inquiry.

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