On a day to day basis, we see several posters, advertisements, campaigns highlighting the urgent concern to protect and create awareness about saving the environment. With the numerous mediums available there are a few who focus on conveying the message to the younger generation. Along with creating awareness among the mature generation it is also important to spread the message among the youngsters as they are the future and they need to be conscious of the the situation since their childhood.

It is a well known and accepted fact that visuals have a deep impact on understanding any message and concept and kids in particular have a close personal connection with it. Taking advantage of creating a strong visual impact a new kids’ book-  Bicycles, Airships, and Things That Go, tells the story of a road trip and city infrastructure based on the latest sustainable technology.

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A.B. Thorpe, who works with sustainable design says the inspiration behind  publishing the book came from the thought of the technology books by Richard Scarry that her kids loved to read while growing up. She says, these books were great but they represent the 1940’s and 50’s notion of progress with airports, suburbs, car and buildings. Thorpe took up the project considering it would be fun, entertaining and completely different to her professional work. Also she wanted kids to enjoy her idea of progress.

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The illustrated book shows the story of a family which takes a trip to deliver a package to science museum via sustainable vehicular support. The vehicles used to commute are bikes, an airship, scooters rented from a station share system, a solar-powered ferry, high-speed rail, and a “bike bus” pedaled by passengers. Some of the other sustainable designs include seaweed farm, offshore wind power, urban farming and bike parking inspired by Amsterdam’s central train station.

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Each illustration in the book is labelled as another inspiration from Richard Scarry. The focus of the book does not just lie in the sustainable technology design but on the family’s trip and fun. Thorpe said she did not want the book to be a boring read with the sole focus on the technology, therefore, the story focuses on the family having a good time during their trip.

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The book is just another way to expose kids to technology they might have not seen yet. When Thorpe tested the book on young readers, a family member of a 4 year old reported that their daughter was able to recognize the wind turbines by the end of the book. As the kids grow up the illustration and technology can be discussed further with much more details by explaining how the technology is made and what it does.

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The book can be a platform to get kids excited about the new technology and also have a discussion about what kind of technology they would want to live in. How can we make the things we would want to see around us.

The book is not just to get the kids excited but also for the adults who are working in sustainability design. There would be something elating for them to see in these technologies, especially if their day jobs revolve around trying thousands of endless ways to implement the new technology. The book is another step to help bridge the gap and also a way for the elders to share with their kids the vision and how things start to come together says Thorpe.


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