In most picture books the characters that we write about are humans, or animals, or at least some kind of organism. But what if you want to tell the story of a place? When writing my nonfiction book, A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park, I sought to tell the story of one of America’s beloved landscapes and its two designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
•What is the current state of the land?
•What is the land’s history? Especially consider its history before vs. after white people were there, or even before indigenous people arrived.
•Has the landscape experienced any major changes, or were they gradual?
•Who directly made it the way it is today? What can you learn about them? What was their motivation?
•Who were the land’s first caretakers? Present caretakers? How do the two differ in ideals or goals?
•Was there ever any controversy regarding the land? Did anybody ever damage or exploit it? If so, has the land healed, or does it still need help?
•What effect, if any, can you have on the land today? Is there a localized cause that needs attention there?