It’s that time of year again, or a bit past it. Here’s a list of suggested gift books, ones related to nature, for the holiday season and the new year. Check here for an overlapping and also incomplete selection of C&NN-recommended books and reports. There’s still time to order these to arrive by Dec. 25 or to find them in stores — but more likely, these are suggestions for books you might want to read in 2015.
This is a very incomplete list. So many great books, so little space, time and bandwidth! Please add your own nominations in the comments section.
For Natural Teachers and Natural Parents
Ben Hewitt takes a principled stand for the unconventional childhood, for the intellectual and emotional and soulful nurture of nature.
A classic. Orion Magazine describes it this way: “The most comprehensive review of place-based education – its pedagogy and its practice – yet to appear, by the author of the highly influential book Beyond Ecophobia.”
A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature Through the Seasons
Rick Van Noy
In a series of essays organized mostly by season, Rick Van Noy describes a host of outdoor adventures including swimming, hiking, gardening, and fishing with his family.
Sharing Nature with Children
Joseph Cornell was on the case decades ago. “Sharing Nature with Children,” translated into more than a dozen languages, is a bible for those who connect kids to nature. This is the revised 20th anniversary edition.
Moving the Classroom Outdoors
Herbert W. Broda
Since Herb Broda published Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning, his groundbreaking first book on outdoor learning, many schools across North America have embraced the benefits of “greening” their learning programs.
For Exciting the Natural Senses
What the Robin Knows
This new book from one of the country’s leading natural teachers. Here’s my jacket blurb: “Jon Young is one of the heroes of the new nature movement . . . This elegant book will deepen the kinship between humans and other species. It decodes our common language.”
The Great Animal Orchestra
The founder of Wild Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to the recording and archiving of natural soundscapes, Bernie writes here about “finding the origins of music in the world’s wild places.” He once worked with the Rolling Stones. Now he rolls with the stones.
A Natural History of the Senses
The story of our connection to the natural world is defined by the extent of our senses. Amazon describes this book as a “grand tour of the realm of the senses” that “includes conversations with an iceberg in Antarctica and a professional nose in New York….and the music played by the planet Earth.”
Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature
Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown
Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature set new standards for a deep environmental literacy. As an admirer of Jon, Ellen and Even, I wrote the introduction to this fine book.
For Creating Restorative Homes, Gardens and Neighborhoods
Bringing Nature Home
Doug Tallamy — proponent a Homegrown National Park — believes that we can build biodiversity by naturalizing our back yards. In print, I’ve called his book “the perfect antidote to the belief that nature happens somewhere else.” I’ve called it even nicer things in person.
Making Healthy Places
Andrew L. Dannenberg, Howard Frumkin and Richard J. Jackson
Designing and building for health, well-being and sustainability. Richard Jackson serves on C&NN’s advisory board, and Howard Frumkin serves on C&NN’s board of directors.
Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformations
Sharon Gamson Danks.
Sharon Danks broadens our notion of what a well-designed schoolyard should be and explores the growing international movement toward “green” school grounds.
Natural Learning: Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature’s Way of Teaching
Robin C. Moore and Herb H. Wong.
This is the classic sourcebook for how to transform an asphalt playground into a rich, relevant and natural place for learning.
Stuff for Kids and Families to Do
The Stick Book
Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield.
The stick is a universal toy; totally natural, all-purpose, free, it offers limitless opportunities for outdoor play and adventure. (The stick has also been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.)
The Nature Connection
Clare Walker Leslie
A longtime writer and illustrator devoted to connecting people — especially children — to nature, Clare is one of the most prolific authors and guides to creative nature activities.
The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book
Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer
Nature is a destination, but you don’t have to travel anywhere to find it.
Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth
Patty Born Selly
Educating young children about the environment through experience and play.
Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties
This book from the Teddy Roosevelt era is packed with how-to fantasies and Beard’s classic illustrations. It’ll make you want to head outside, no matter what your age.
Fed Up with Frenzy
Susan Sachs Lipman
This one’s from our own Suz Lipman, C&NN’s social media director. I’m prejudiced but accurate. Here’s what I wrote for the cover blurb for this book on slow parenting: “STOP. Pick up this book….Fed Up with Frenzy is filled with recipes for the best of days.”
Philosophies of Nature Connection
The Sense of Wonder
The classic meditation on why children, and all of us, need nature in our lives to ignite our awe and humility. This book is less known than Carson’s “Silent Spring,” but perhaps even more relevant today.
The Thunder Tree
Robert Michael Pyle
Bob’s classic memoir evokes a time when place mattered, and still can. His moving coming-of-age story introduced “the extinction of experience.” I contributed a preface to this new edition.
The Human Age
A new — and surprisingly hopeful — view of the future of nature and the role of our species.
Thinking Like a Mountain
Borrowing Aldo Leopold’s famous phrase for his title, the world-renowned artist (and champion for connecting kids to nature) offers a series of short, personal essays.
The Great Work
Thomas Berry was one of the world’s leading eco-theologians. In his early 90s, he wasn’t interested in the 20th century; he only wanted to talk about the Great Work of the 21st century: reconnecting our species to the meaning found in the natural world. He was one of two people I’ve met who I considered truly beatific. The other one was Mister Rogers.
A pioneer of biophilic thinking, Steve has helped shape mine. About it, I wrote: “Stephen Kellert’s heartfelt Birthright is a moving memoir, a finely tuned analysis, and a gift to future generations … Here is a topological map of that future.”
Earth in Mind
David W. Orr
David W. Orr, chair of the environmental studies program at Oberlin College in Ohio, is a hero to just about anyone who cares about environmental literacy or nature itself.
Coming Home: Community, Creativity and Consciousness
Cheryl Charles and Bob Samples.
This book, co-authored by former president and CEO of the Children & Nature Network, focuses on how natural systems can produce greater health and balance in family, business, school, social, and civic settings.
Rewilding Our Hearts
A provocative look at our future relationship with animals, and the need for compassion. I wrote the foreword.
The Carry Home
Where the philosophy of nature connection becomes profoundly intimate. This new book by an acclaimed nature writer celebrates the outdoor life he shared with his wife, Jane, and how, to confront his unthinkable loss, he set out to fulfill her final wish: to scatter her ashes in the five wild places they loved together.
For Children and Young Adults
Three Bird Summer
Sara St. Antoine
A novel for your adults, like me. It’s the kind of book I loved long ago and still do. Hilarious and mysterious and true. The Boston Globe named it one of the top 7 middle reader novels of 2014
Curious Critters (Volumes One and Two)
Some of the most inspiring and exciting photographs of animals for kids and the rest of us. Winner of five National Book Awards.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
This isn’t usually thought of as a nature book. But in an attempt to recall books that made me want to go outside, when I was a kid, this one jumped to the top of the list. And it’s not only for boys. Becky Thatcher was brave in that cave, and of course irresistible to every wannabe Tom or Huck.
Again, this list just scratches the surface. Please add your own nominations in the comments section below!
Richard Louv is Chairman Emeritus of The Children and Nature Network and author of THE NATURE PRINCIPLE and LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS.
Follow Rich on Facebook and on Twitter @RichLouv