Thunder Bay

'A story of hope': Thunder Bay author adapts Earth Day tradition amid pandemic

Sue Holloway's storybook, A World Worth Imagining, was born from an Earth Day tradition between herself and her students at The Forest School, an alternative learning centre in Gillies Township in northwestern Ontario.

Author Sue Holloway is sharing a virtual reading of her book 'A World Worth Imagining' on April 22

Author Sue Holloway reads her storybook, A World Worth Imagining, to a crowd in Thunder Bay on Earth Day in 2018. (Sue Holloway/Facebook)

Sue Holloway's storybook, A World Worth Imagining, was born from an Earth Day tradition between herself and her students at The Forest School, an alternative learning centre in Gillies Township in northwestern Ontario.

Before her book was published in 2017, Holloway and her students began developing a version of A World Worth Imagining that they would share with each other every year.

"One Earth Day, we had gone down to my pond and I asked them to close their eyes and imagine what the world would look like in 100 years...one of the girls didn't want to play along," explained Holloway in an interview with CBC.

"She said she felt like we would have destroyed the planet by then, and that really broke my heart."

Holloway said that was the moment she realized that kids need to understand the "the crisis that faces the planet", while also hearing messages of hope about what the future could look like.

"I wanted to change the focus from that fear," she said. "What none of us were hearing really were the messages of hope for what our future could look like...so that day by the pond I promised the kids that by the next Earth Day I would have a different kind of story to tell."
A World Worth Imagining was written by Sue Holloway, and illustrated by Amanda Clark. (Sue Holloway/Facebook)

Since then, Holloway has shared the story of A World Worth Imagining with her students, and has done public readings of the book on Earth Day, in hopes of spreading a message of hope when it comes to the climate crisis.

This year, however, that tradition will look a little different due the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've been reading this story, or telling it before it was even a published book to those kids and to a broader community," said Holloway. "I really wanted to keep doing that. I didn't want us to forget about Earth Day because we're all stuck at home."

This year, Holloway has plans to share a virtual reading of her book on Facebook for anyone to listen to.

Holloway said Earth Day feels even more important this year, especially given the current global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In this tragedy and sadness that we're in right now, we also have an opportunity to re-imagine what it could look like on the other side when we come out, is there any way we can recreate what's normal for us?" she said.

To listen to the virtual reading of A World Worth Imagining at 12:00 p.m. today, visit the event Facebook page here.

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