Linda Booth Sweeney


Linda Booth Sweeney sees the world through a very wide lens. She offers us a clear, connected systems view essential to transformative education.

Raffi Cavoukian

singer, author, founder of Child Honouring

Linda Booth Sweeney

Linda's articles have been published by Highlights Magazine for Children , Solutions Journal , the Utne Reader and numerous academic journals and newsletters. She is the author of several books, including The Systems Thinking Playbook (co-authored with Dennis Meadows) and When a Butterfly Sneezes: A Guide for Helping Kids Explore Interconnections in Our World Through Favorite Stories (Pegasus, 2004), and Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems (Chelsea Green, 2009) (translated into 10 languages) Linda received her doctorate from Harvard in 2004. She is on the board of directors of the Balaton Group and Gaining Ground and is a working member of Mothers Out Front. She lives outside of Boston with her family and is an avid hiker and ukelele player.

New Publications:

My first picture book, When the Wind Blows<a/> (Penguin Putnam 2015), illustrated by Jana Christy, arrived with an unexpected starred Kirkus Review! When the Snow Falls (also illustrated by Jana) will warm up cold hands just in time for winter 2017.

My co-authors, Dennis Meadows and Gillian Martin-Mehers are excited to announce the publication of The Climate Change Playbook (Chelsea Green, 2016)

Recent Work:

WGBH/PBS: Contributed to the development of City Farm launched the PBS Systems Literacy collection on PBS Learning Media.

CHILDHOOD OBESITY: Partnering with researchers at Tufts University and Shape-Up Somerville to convey the systems story of a 10-year, community-based participatory research (CBPR) project focused on childhood obesity. I will post a link to the systems map and related journal article when it is published. Recently completed a similar systems mapping project with New Entry Farmers.


Working with the Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy and the amazing team at KCA London to integrate systems thinking into the Saudi Arabia 2050 traveling exhibit designed to encourage middle school students in Saudi Ariabia to rethink energy consumption habits.


I particularly enjoy helping young people to "connect the dots:" to see beyond the surface, to recognize interconnections and dynamics among people, places, events and nature, and to begin thinking about how to use those interconnections to improve their world. Here are a few related projects:

Acting as a content expert for SEED Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development, developing materials, workshops, on-line learning modules and activities appropriate for ages 10-18 on a variety of complex system science topics that facilitate students applied problem solving and systems literacy.

MacArthur Foundation Digital Media Learning Initiative A collaborative initiative of the University of Indiana, the National Writing Project, the Institute of Play, and Digital Youth Network to produce a series of digital design activities to cultivate systems thinking in middle school students.

Conducting Integrated Student-Teacher Workshops: Workshops designed to go beyond traditional science and technology education to educate students to deal not just with technical-based problems but to foster systems citizens able to manage the complexity of socio-technical issues in their communities, such as those related to water, energy, health, climate and more.

Developing systems playkits for use in a variety of settings, including nature centers, schools and after-school programs.

Linda Booth Sweeney photo

This website and blog will continue Linda's exploration of these fundamental questions:

What does it mean to think and act systemically?

How do we understand our realities, our families, our schools, our communities, as a living system?

How can systems thinking help us to stop operating from crisis to crisis, and to think in a more interrelated, non-fragmented way?

What does it mean to design in the context of living systems?

What does it mean for human communities to deal with fundamental problems and solutions over time?


Whole-systems learning on-line? Join our community conversation on November 12. Hosted by the System Dynamics Society.



Talking with Kids About Exponential Growth During COVID-19



Young people are watching. They’re worrying. From climate change to our current pandemic, adults don’t seem to have the answers. How can we support young people to look to the other side of the hardship and disruption they're experiencing now, to feel confident that they can solve complex problems and innovate their way to healthier futures? Whole-systems learning - experiential opportunities to improve our ability to see, understand and work with interdependent systems -- may be one answer.