TRANSLATE

MORE WAY-GOOD GIFT BOOKS For the 11th Hour and the New Year

About the Author

Richard Louv is Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Children & Nature Network, an organization supporting the international movement to connect children, their families and their communities to the natural world. He is the author of ten books, including "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," "The Nature Principle," and "Vitamin N." His newest book is "Our Wild Calling: How Connecting to Animals Can Transform Our Lives — and Save Theirs." In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal. He speaks frequently around the country and internationally.

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

 

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Home Grown

Ben Hewitt
Ben Hewitt takes a principled stand for the unconventional childhood, for the intellectual and emotional and soulful nurture of nature.

 

 

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Place-Based Education

David Sobel
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.”

 

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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.

 

Cornell
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Sharing Nature with Children

Joseph Cornell
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.

 

Broda
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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

 

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What the Robin Knows

Jon Young
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.”

 

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The Great Animal Orchestra

Bernie Krause
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.

 

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A Natural History of the Senses

Diane Ackerman
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.”

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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

 

Tallamy
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Bringing Nature Home

Doug Tallamy
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.

 

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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.

 

Danks
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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.

 

Moore
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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

 

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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.)

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

Selly
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Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth

Patty Born Selly
Educating young children about the environment through experience and play.

 

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Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties

D.C. Beard
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.

 

 

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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

 

sense of wonder
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The Sense of Wonder

Rachel Carson
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.

 

Robert Michael Pyle
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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.

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The Human Age

Diane Ackerman
A new — and surprisingly hopeful — view of the future of nature and the role of our species.

 

 

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Thinking Like a Mountain

Robert Bateman
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.

 

Berry
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The Great Work

Thomas Berry
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.

 

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Birthright

Stephen Kellert
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.”

 

 

Orr
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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.

 

 

CharlesSamples
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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
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 Rewilding Our Hearts

Marc Bekoff
A provocative look at our future relationship with animals, and the need for compassion. I wrote the foreword.

 

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The Carry Home

Gary Furguson
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

 

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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

 

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Curious Critters (Volumes One and Two)

David FitzSimmons
Some of the most inspiring and exciting photographs of animals for kids and the rest of us. Winner of five National Book Awards.

 

tomsawyer
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain
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 

 

More Reading

THE LAST WOODS IN THE CHILD: a Winter Memory

THE 12 LAST-MINUTE GIFTS OF NATURE

 

7 Comments

  1. “The Goodness of Rain” by Ann Pelo, an amazing read for educators and parents.

    Reply
  2. Okay Richard, since you asked, got to plug my own book: “Under the Wild Ginger – A Simple Guide to the Wisdom of Wonder.” Beautifully made little gift book, full of finely crafted reflections that instruct, encourage & inspire us to slow down, unplug and “see generously.” I’ll custom-inscribe & sign for orders by email: jeff@willius.com Arrival by Xmas is a bit tight, but by New Years — no problem.

    Reply
    • Richard Louv

      Excellent! And thanks for your good work, Jeffrey. See, once one starts a list, he or she is in danger.

      Reply
  3. For all of you out there interested in combining the true meaning of Christmas with our outdoor world examine the book “Nature’s Christmas Story”. I am the author and the story takes place in the tundra biome of northern Alaska where tundra animals hear of the birth of Baby Jesus. They struggle to find a worthwhile gift for the new born babe. Wait until you see what gift they decide upon and the amazing thing that happens when the gift is delivered! The book can be viewed on amazon.com

    Reply
  4. I am reading an extraordinary book, “Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Notes for a Contemplative Ecology” by Douglas E. Christie. His basic argument is that if we could truly pay attention to the world, we might restore the Earth to a sacred place in our lives. As well, on a note of self promotion (thank you, Jeffrey, for breaking ground here), my own book “Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness” takes readers on a spiritual journey through the deserts, forests, oceans and river, mountains and grasslands as aspects of our own psyches and souls.

    Reply
  5. “Holiday Adventures for Kids” was just released in July by WestBow Press. Author Michael J. Larson includes nine “outdoor” holiday adventures in his newly released book. Valentines Day features two children making their Mom a special ‘snow sculpture’ valentine’s card. The author declares April Fool’s Day a holiday and a skink plays an April Fools joke on the author’s grandsons. Easter finds two young girls spying on what they think is the Easter Bunny in their backyard. On the Fourth of July the author’s granddaughters rescue a toad from firecracker bullies. The Halloween story describes a little green pumpkin’s journey to become become a jack-o-lantern for some small child. Thanksgiving is arriving and the rumor in the barn yard is that Tom the turkey is going to be ‘stuffed’ by farmer Fred. A family celebrating Hanukkah ride snowmobiles, experience an avalanche and are marooned. As Christmas approaches a contest in Santa’s workshop produces surprising winners. A New Year’s Eve adventure requires that a brother and sister use a rowboat to rescue a ‘squirming’ mystery bag caught on an ice flow near open water. The book can be viewed online or purchased at most major bookstores.

    Reply
  6. Another beautiful children’s book is my very own, Nature’s Angels. A delightful poetic picture book full of colorful illustrations that follows a grandfather and grandson along their journey as they encounter miraculous displays of nature. Inspiring a new generation to appreciate the wonders of nature in a fun and imaginative way. Personalized signed copies available email me at info@suziminor.com Thanks for this list Richard and for all you do for Children and Nature!

    Reply

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