The Mess We Made

Artful Stories introduces young children to literature related to the museum's collections and exhibitions, encouraging them to look closely at works of art and engage in a hands-on activity

In the exhibition And I Must Scream, Belgian and Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro’s series The Prophecy brings awareness to different forms of environmental destruction happening around the world. His photograph, Prophecy #8 investigates the pollution caused by overfishing in Hahn Bay in Dakar, Senegal. Learn how this pollution impacts all of us by reading The Mess That We Made, written by Michelle Lord, illustrated by Julia Blattman, and published by Flashlight Press. Award-winning author and associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University Tiphanie Yanique reads The Mess That We Made sitting next to Prophecy #8.

From the publisher: Join four children in a little boat as they discover the magnitude of The Mess That We Made. With rhythmic language and captivating art, this cumulative tale portrays the terrible impact of trash on the ocean and marine life, inspiring us to make changes to save our seas. Includes a back section with facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ocean pollution, and Calls to Action for kids and grown‑ups to share. 

Visit our stories page or subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch additional Artful Stories and past programming videos.


Interested in learning more?

  • Check out the Artful Stories lesson plan developed in conjunction with this video.
  • Learn more about the And I Must Scream exhibition HERE


Image: Fabrice Monteiro, Prophecy #8, 2014, color inkjet print, © Fabric Monteiro, courtesy MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris.