To continue our environmental theme this month in celebration of Earth Day on 22 April, Gail has chosen the picturebook, The Tin Forest by Helen Ward, illustrated by Wayne Anderson and published by Templar Books in 2001. The Earth Day theme for 2022 is Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do? The Tin Forest won the British National Art Library Award in 2001 and is described as a parable. An old man lives in a vast, grey wasteland of ‘other people’s rubbish and bad weather’. Every day he tidies away the rubbish, ‘sifting and sorting, burning and burying’ and every night he dreams of living in a jungle full of wild forest animals. A discarded light bulb gives the old man an idea. He transforms it into a tin flower with leaves bolted onto stems and gradually he recycles all the rubbish into a forest of tin trees and creatures. One day a bird arrives and the old man sprinkles crumbs from his sandwiches onto the ground for the bird to eat but it flies off leaving the old man once again in silence. However, the next morning he wakes to the sound of birdsong. The bird had returned with its mate, and they drop seeds from their beaks and green shoots begin to grow. Gradually a natural forest emerges amongst the forest made of tin.
The Tin Forest is a story of hope, renewal, imagination and creativity and the illustrations and colours represent the contrast between sadness and hope alternating between grey and drab shades (even the font is in grey) and bright colours.
Children can explore themes such as loneliness, empathy and caring for the environment. They could investigate what is happening to all our waste and how it could it be used to create something beautiful.
So how will you encourage your pupils to invest in our planet this year?