My Journey raises awareness of air pollution and sustainable travel with new clean air story books

Adults and children at the clean air book launch

Two new story books for school children have been launched this week to help encourage families to think about alternative ways to make short journeys, which in turn could help reduce air pollution.

The ‘clean air’ books form part of Hampshire’s 'myjourney' initiative, which encourages the county’s residents to explore more environmentally friendly ways to travel. The books will be used in schools across the county with KS1 and KS2 pupils to complement a specially designed mobile clean air exhibit.

The books were launched at a special event at the Winchester Science Centre, where a fantastic Air Quality Exhibit is currently on display – special guests at the event included pupils from Sholing Infant School in Southampton and Cherbourg Primary School in Eastleigh.

Councillor Steve Leggett, Southampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Green City, says: “Leaving the car at home when we can and travelling actively not only improves health and fitness but also helps reduce congestion and improve air quality making our air cleaner and greener. It’s great to see young people being taught how to do this through the clean air books in school.”

Councillor Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Public Health said: “These new books are a lovely way to engage children in conversations about the little changes we might all be able to make to the way we travel which together could have a big impact on the air we breathe.”

The books have been written by two MA students on the University of Winchester’s ‘Creative Writing for Children’ course, highlighting the links between air pollution and active travel. The illustrations have been provided by two third-year Graphics undergraduates at Southampton University’s School of Art in Winchester.

Ben Ward, CEO, Winchester Science Centre said: “The great thing about using stories and exhibits to communicate air quality to children is that they’re fun and memorable. They start conversations and can change behaviours, and that’s really exciting.”