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Last Child in the Woods
Cover of Last Child in the Woods
Last Child in the Woods
Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
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 The Book That Launched an International Movement
 
“An absolute must-read for parents.” —The Boston Globe
 
“It rivals Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer
 
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors are placing legal and regulatory constraints on many wild spaces, sometimes making natural play a crime.
As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.
In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.
 Now includes
A Field Guide with 100 Practical Actions We Can Take 
Discussion Points for Book Groups, Classrooms, and Communities 
Additional Notes by the Author 
New and Updated Research from the U.S. and Abroad

  
 The Book That Launched an International Movement
 
“An absolute must-read for parents.” —The Boston Globe
 
“It rivals Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer
 
“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are,” reports a fourth grader. But it’s not only computers, television, and video games that are keeping kids inside. It’s also their parents’ fears of traffic, strangers, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus; their schools’ emphasis on more and more homework; their structured schedules; and their lack of access to natural areas. Local governments, neighborhood associations, and even organizations devoted to the outdoors are placing legal and regulatory constraints on many wild spaces, sometimes making natural play a crime.
As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity.
In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.
 Now includes
A Field Guide with 100 Practical Actions We Can Take 
Discussion Points for Book Groups, Classrooms, and Communities 
Additional Notes by the Author 
New and Updated Research from the U.S. and Abroad

  
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About the Author-
  • Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle, and Vitamin N. Translated into twenty languages, his books have helped launch an international movement to connect children, families, and communities to nature. He is cofounder and chair emeritus of the nonprofit Children & Nature Network, which supports a new nature movement. Louv has written for the New York Times, Outside magazine, Orion Magazine, Parents, and many other publications. He appears regularly on national radio and TV, and lectures throughout the world. In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal. Prior recipients have included Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson, President Jimmy Carter, and Sir David Attenborough.

Table of Contents-
  • Acknowledgments xi

    Introduction 1

    Part I : The New Relationship Between Children and Nature
    1. Gifts of Nature . . . . 7
    2. The Third Frontier . . . . . . 15
    3. The Criminalization of Natural Play . . . . . 27

    Part II:Why the Young (and the Rest of Us) Need Nature
    4. Climbing the Tree of Health . .. 39
    5. A Life of the Senses: Nature vs. the Know-It-All State of Mind . . . . . 54
    6. The "Eighth Intelligence" . . . 70
    7. The Genius of Childhood: How Nature Nurtures Creativity . . .. 85
    8. Nature-Deficit Disorder and the Restorative Environment . . . 98

    Part III: The Best of Intentions: Why Johnnie and Jeannie Don't Play Outside Anymore
    9. Time and Fear .. . . 115
    10. The Bogeyman Syndrome Redux . . . . . 123
    11. Don't Know Much About Natural History: Education as a Barrier to Nature .. 132
    12. Where Will Future Stewards of Nature Come From? . . . 145

    Part IV: The Nature-Child Reunion
    13. Bringing Nature Home . . . 161
    14. Scared Smart: Facing the Bogeyman . . . . 176
    15. Telling Turtle Tales: Using Nature as a Moral Teacher . 187

    Part V: The Jungle Blackboard
    16. Natural School Reform . . . 201
    17. Camp Revival . . . 223

    Part VI: Wonder Land: Opening the Fourth Frontier
    18. The Education of Judge Thatcher: Decriminalizing Natural Play . .. 233
    19. Cities Gone Wild . .. 239
    20. Where the Wild Things Will Be: A New Back-to-the-Land Movement . . . . 265

    Part VII: To Be Amazed
    21. The Spiritual Necessity of Nature for the Young . . . . . . 285
    22. Fire and Fermentation: Building a Movement . . . . 301
    23. While It Lasts . . . . 309

    Notes 311
    Suggested Reading 321
    Index 325

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 27, 2006
    Merullo, author of the Revere Beach series andGolfing with God , delivers a comic but winningly spiritual road-trip novel. Otto Ringling is a food-book editor and a happily married father of two living in a tony New York suburb. After Otto's North Dakota parents are killed in a car crash, he plans to drive his ebulliently New Age sister, Cecilia, back home to sell the family farm. But when Otto arrives to pick up Cecilia in Paterson, N.J. (where she does tarot readings and past-life regressions), she declares her intention to give her half of the farm to her guru, Volvo Rinpoche, who will set up a retreat there. Cecilia asks Otto to take Rinpoche to North Dakota instead; after a fit of skeptical rage in which he rails internally against his sister's gullibility, he accepts, and the novel is off and running. Merullo takes the reader through the small towns and byways of Midwestern America, which look unexpectedly alluring through Rinpoche's eyes. Well-fed Western secularist Otto is only half-aware that his life might need fixing, and his slow discovery of Rinpoche's nature, and his own, make for a satisfying read. A set piece of Otto's chaotic first meditation session is notably hilarious, and the whole book is breezy and affecting.

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    Algonquin Books
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Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder
Richard Louv
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