Ecoliteracy Through Imagery: A Close Reading of Two Wordless Picture Books

Original Paper


The purpose of this paper is to propose some ways of reading two wordless picture storybooks which have recently been published, by Suzy Lee and Bernardo Carvalho respectively. The objective is to analyse the ways in which the visual discourse can create an effective narrative using a variety of pictorial strategies. These works were not idly chosen, however. Both are concerned with ecoliteracy, having narratives that tell a story about a specific relationship between humans and the sea. Depicting maritime scenarios, the two picture books promote a special and symbolic approach to the natural environment. The narratives help to configure the environment as more than merely an undifferentiated space inhabited by living beings, this being the most elementary concept of “environment”; rather, it is seen as an ecological arena involving the interaction between the landscape and the living beings it harbours. As such, the books assume the role of promoting not only habits of proto-literacy, but of ecoliteracy too.


Children’s literature Wordless picture books Ecoliteracy Suzy Lee Bernardo Carvalho 



The authors wish to thank Paulo Pereira and Margaret Gomes for the translation and revision of the text, and the Portuguese editors of Onda and Um dia na praia for permission to use illustrations from these books. They are also very grateful to the CLE editors for their help and support in producing this final version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto de EducaçãoUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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