A story of community
Communicating issues of environmentalism to early learners is a job that is both invaluable and complicated. Zaynab the Great highlights STEM learning, science inquiry, and solution-oriented education through magical storytelling and social-emotional empowerment.
The story follows Zay, a rambunctious young learner, as she witnesses a massive ecological crisis in the form of an animated pile of garbage in the ocean, tangling up and poisoning all of her underwater friends.
She uses her science inquiry skills to ask questions and conduct investigations about who is creating all of the trash, and why they are allowed to do so.
She negotiates with a business owner, appeals to a government official, and participates in youth environmental activism. Ultimately, she learns that change comes with teamwork and resilience.
"I'm the queen of nature." Zay mumbled to herself while toying with the legos from our lesson.
"I said, I'M THE QUEEN OF NATURE."
Zaynab the Great is based on this very conversation.
About the Author
Suzie Hicks is a writer, producer, and TV host for multiple educational institutions. In her work, she navigates the intersections between entertainment, education, environmental justice, and community activism. She is a big public media nerd, having worked as an early learning content specialist at PBS SoCal, and as a business development fellow at WBUR, Boston’s local NPR station. She has investigated environmental communication for children’s media in various academic theses, and continues her research every day. She has a pet tortoise named Derbis, who enjoys long walks around the driveway.