BOOK: A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons

I read this book earlier this year, and highly recommend it, for the book itself is a wonderful account, but also because the author‘s admission in the prologue rings so true for me: “I’m not an expert on child development, nor do I know for certain what the right path is for kids. I’m just one father, trying to get the kids outside, and into nature.”

Rick van Noy, A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2008), 152 pp.

What is being lost as fewer kids spend their free time outdoors? A Natural Sense of Wonder is one father’s attempt to seek alternatives to the “flickering waves of TV and the electrifying boing of video games” and get kids outside and into nature. In the spirit of Rachel Carson’s The Sense of Wonder, Rick Van Noy journeys out of his suburban home with his children and describes the pleasures of walking in a creek, digging for salamanders, and learning to appreciate vultures. Through these and other “walks to school,” the Van Noys discover what lives nearby, what nature has to teach, and why this matters.

From the backyard to the hiking trail, in a tide pool and a tree house, in the wild and in town, these narrative essays explore the terrain of childhood threatened by the lure of computers and television, by fear and the loss of play habitat, showing how kids thrive in their special places. In chronicling one parent’s determination (and at times frustration) to get his kids outside, A Natural Sense of Wonder suggests ways kids both young and old can experience the wonder found only in the natural world.

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