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The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places

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What may happen now that so many more children are denied exposure to wilderness than at any other time in human history?


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What may happen now that so many more children are denied exposure to wilderness than at any other time in human history?

30 review for The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places

  1. 4 out of 5

    Primadonna

    This is a deep book. I reflect a lot and have plenty of discussions with my partner and childhood friends while reading this book. It makes me remember my childhood and revisit the memories with a gained wisdom.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erik Akre

    I appreciate very much what this book attempts to do: Describe and explore the child's relationship to nature, and to the Earth. It becomes biography and autobiography, however, and in doing so somehow loses the edge of Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods, which to me is the quintessential piece on the subject. Nabhan does approach it with a personal touch, which I appreciate. What I didn't like, and what I didn't quite get over through the entire book, was that its writing was not particularl I appreciate very much what this book attempts to do: Describe and explore the child's relationship to nature, and to the Earth. It becomes biography and autobiography, however, and in doing so somehow loses the edge of Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods, which to me is the quintessential piece on the subject. Nabhan does approach it with a personal touch, which I appreciate. What I didn't like, and what I didn't quite get over through the entire book, was that its writing was not particularly readable. At first, I assumed that I was just adjusting to the style of the author, but I found by the end that this adjustment never happened. Nabhan has good intentions, and he may even deliver on those intentions, but the reader (I mean me) is not able to connect because the prose is somewhat flat and uninteresting. I found that by three-fourths through the text, I was just reading to finish it, not with any particular zeal or interest. The writing does not live up to the concept.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Good book, great concepts. I enjoyed Nabhan's essays more than Trimble's, but an excellent exploration of the importance of special places to child development. Also some interesting reflections on parenting. I think immediately of my own childhood and the many wonderful places my father showed me. Lots of great works cited and I use this book to key me into other place-based child development studies. Good book, great concepts. I enjoyed Nabhan's essays more than Trimble's, but an excellent exploration of the importance of special places to child development. Also some interesting reflections on parenting. I think immediately of my own childhood and the many wonderful places my father showed me. Lots of great works cited and I use this book to key me into other place-based child development studies.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    I really did enjoy this book. It is comprised of essays about how children relate to nature. One of the interesting things that was mentioned was how adults seem to look at the big picture (think Grand Canyon) while the children were looking at the small things (think pebbles, feathers, etc.) It also talked about how children in rural areas are more connected to nature than children in more urban areas which makes sense. This was non-fiction but not dry. It was quite readable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Brooke

    If you liked Last child in the woods, you will like this as well. It is included in it's bibliography and that's how I found it. A quote from the book that I hear in my head whenever I see a child put an earth worm in their mouth - or tear the wings off of a fly... pg.95 Frank Burroughs says, "Let children be a hazard to nature and let nature be a hazard to them." I mean, there is a point, when you might prevent your child from encountering certain danger, but I think this book came out right as If you liked Last child in the woods, you will like this as well. It is included in it's bibliography and that's how I found it. A quote from the book that I hear in my head whenever I see a child put an earth worm in their mouth - or tear the wings off of a fly... pg.95 Frank Burroughs says, "Let children be a hazard to nature and let nature be a hazard to them." I mean, there is a point, when you might prevent your child from encountering certain danger, but I think this book came out right as we were entering the helicopter-parent phenomena. It's good advice about allowing our kids to experience natural consequences. The book also makes a call for diversity saying that formal education can undermine tradition and personal experience. It cannot replace spontaneous hands on experiences or inter-generational experiences. And a variety of organisms in the wild teaches tolerance - and even though tolerance is not what we seek today, it was the buzz word when this book was published for the same idea as diversity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    The final sentence in this volume of essays: As parents, our job is to pay attention, to create possibilities--to be careful matchmakers between our children and the earth. Written in 1994, Nabhan and Trimble resonate the value of connecting our children to the natural world, even in just small ways. Vacant lots and copses of trees and brush, ditches and ponds have always been the habitats of small children until we have made them unsafe because of humans, not wildlife. So, the dilemma. Even cam The final sentence in this volume of essays: As parents, our job is to pay attention, to create possibilities--to be careful matchmakers between our children and the earth. Written in 1994, Nabhan and Trimble resonate the value of connecting our children to the natural world, even in just small ways. Vacant lots and copses of trees and brush, ditches and ponds have always been the habitats of small children until we have made them unsafe because of humans, not wildlife. So, the dilemma. Even camping is sanitized and creates boundaries for children's play and exploration. Playgrounds are blacktop and steel instead of trees and grasslands. Schools don't make time or resources available for outdoor school or field trips. Their lives are diminished in multiple ways.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Ayala

    I enjoy Nabhan's writing, and I thought the idea for this book was fabulous. But having his essays alternate with Trimble's didn't work for me. Their style and voices feel so different. The book, overall, left me wanting for a different cultural lens and more groundedness in the natural world; to me, the book feels more grounded in the mind than anything. I enjoy Nabhan's writing, and I thought the idea for this book was fabulous. But having his essays alternate with Trimble's didn't work for me. Their style and voices feel so different. The book, overall, left me wanting for a different cultural lens and more groundedness in the natural world; to me, the book feels more grounded in the mind than anything.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katharine

    Revisiting some grad school works now that I’m raising a wee one. I appreciate a lot about this book but it feels a bit dated and also a bit white and male, despite the authors’ good-faith efforts to seek some other perspectives.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Boon

    Co-written by GPN and Stephen Trimble, this is a precursor to Richard Louv's Last Child in the Forest. It's based on the authors' close observation of their own kids outdoors, and speaks a lot to what works and what doesn't for growing children in nature. Co-written by GPN and Stephen Trimble, this is a precursor to Richard Louv's Last Child in the Forest. It's based on the authors' close observation of their own kids outdoors, and speaks a lot to what works and what doesn't for growing children in nature.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This series of essays provides rich description of the American Southwest---the geography, the native languages used to describe aspects of the local environs, etc. The authors make a good case for fostering connections between children and the nature from which we have all evolved. This book makes me want to move out to the woods with my boys, teach them to garden, learn the names of plants and animals that we routinely don't see (or simply just pass by, day in and day out). Our loss of connect This series of essays provides rich description of the American Southwest---the geography, the native languages used to describe aspects of the local environs, etc. The authors make a good case for fostering connections between children and the nature from which we have all evolved. This book makes me want to move out to the woods with my boys, teach them to garden, learn the names of plants and animals that we routinely don't see (or simply just pass by, day in and day out). Our loss of connectivity with nature is troubling, and the sort of solace, clarity, and peace we can gain by being outside is something that we need to actively promote for more children. The fact that the media is the primary source of environmental information for children, rather than hands-on experience or oral tradition, is startling. When left to their own devices, children prefer to use outdoor environments to construct refuges where they can easily see others (but others don't easily see them). They adapt and use materials in the environment to achieve these goals----and unfortunately, the structured and well-delineated quality of most contemporary playgrounds and parks does not allow for this type of play---a type of play that seems to be shaped through evolutionary pressures. Urban planners probably need to learn a bit more about evolution, yes?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This is a quick read, somewhat dry, yet quite sensible. Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble use life experiences to portray the importance of wilderness in children's lives. The tactility of nature is important in the education of science where levels of knowledge can be acquired hands-on. Biology, animal science, ecology, geology, and geography are some of the major fields of study surfaced outdoors. It is necessary to take kids away from books, outside of the classroom, and away from the tele This is a quick read, somewhat dry, yet quite sensible. Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble use life experiences to portray the importance of wilderness in children's lives. The tactility of nature is important in the education of science where levels of knowledge can be acquired hands-on. Biology, animal science, ecology, geology, and geography are some of the major fields of study surfaced outdoors. It is necessary to take kids away from books, outside of the classroom, and away from the television in order for them to grasp science face to face. In addition, children can gain a sense a family by exploring with parents and siblings. Group activities also elicit communication skills, bonding, and collective interpretation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I really enjoyed and got so much from the this book. While much of it seems so intuitive, it brought me back to the place from which I want to be -- the outdoors. I think we forget how crucial our outdoor and natural spaces are to children, especially in our new "fear-filled" society. I wish my children could experience the boundless neighborhood woods like I did as a child; I know that's not really a possibility anymore. But this book reminded me that there is still plenty we can be doing to en I really enjoyed and got so much from the this book. While much of it seems so intuitive, it brought me back to the place from which I want to be -- the outdoors. I think we forget how crucial our outdoor and natural spaces are to children, especially in our new "fear-filled" society. I wish my children could experience the boundless neighborhood woods like I did as a child; I know that's not really a possibility anymore. But this book reminded me that there is still plenty we can be doing to encourage our children's creativity and, maybe even more importantly, their sense of themselves, through experiencing nature first hand.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    One author purports in this book that wild experiences in nature are inherently more valuable than urban experiences that apparently only rob children of what they really need to become good environmentalists: time outdoors. I agree with this in many ways, but the finger-pointing narrative doesn't address research that implies that environmental literacy is dependent on a variety of experiences as a child, not just exposure to nature. He seems to think that just playing outside as a kid is enoug One author purports in this book that wild experiences in nature are inherently more valuable than urban experiences that apparently only rob children of what they really need to become good environmentalists: time outdoors. I agree with this in many ways, but the finger-pointing narrative doesn't address research that implies that environmental literacy is dependent on a variety of experiences as a child, not just exposure to nature. He seems to think that just playing outside as a kid is enough to save the world. He offers no suggestions of the roots of these problems or any solutions whatsoever. I enjoyed Trimble's chapters.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katielin317

    As one review reads, this is definitely a book that may spin up some questions in your mind, and not so many answers, but that is what I loved about it! It is a book of essays from two naturalists who are fathers and wrote of their experiences watching their children interact with nature. It definitely inspires one to look deeper into the experiences that are being given to their children. Are we letting are children get our hands dirty? Are we leaving them alone in nature and let them make thei As one review reads, this is definitely a book that may spin up some questions in your mind, and not so many answers, but that is what I loved about it! It is a book of essays from two naturalists who are fathers and wrote of their experiences watching their children interact with nature. It definitely inspires one to look deeper into the experiences that are being given to their children. Are we letting are children get our hands dirty? Are we leaving them alone in nature and let them make their own discoveries? How does all of this affect their day-to-day?? I really liked this one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Pairs Well With: How to Raise a Wild Child I enjoyed the topic a lot, and the essays are well-written. As a Christian I had to sift out a LOT of both evolutionary theory and native spiritism; besides this, in general the essays tended to dwell on problems without pointing to many solutions. In the end, though, I came away inspired to give my kids as rich an exposure to creation as I can.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A collection of essays about children's need to be outside. I liked what he said about enclosed wilderness spaces--that was what I enjoyed and what my kids seek out now. The book was written a generation ago, and I didn't find it timeless enough not to wish it considered a world where the internet and helicopter parenting affected children's outdoor time. A collection of essays about children's need to be outside. I liked what he said about enclosed wilderness spaces--that was what I enjoyed and what my kids seek out now. The book was written a generation ago, and I didn't find it timeless enough not to wish it considered a world where the internet and helicopter parenting affected children's outdoor time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    This book made a real difference in my connection to my environment with and without my children. I bought several copies and distributed them to friends. This book is for all age groups, not just children.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I saw this book in Arches National Park book store and immediately thought of Shalane...the complete title is, The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places. I'm sad that I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to you Shalane!! I will miss you! I saw this book in Arches National Park book store and immediately thought of Shalane...the complete title is, The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places. I'm sad that I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to you Shalane!! I will miss you!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Miksicek

    This was a hard book to read because I know Gary and I know what he was going through at about this time. It is an excellent book though, like all of Gary's books. It focuses on the importance of exposing children to nature in raising well-rounded citizens of the Planet Earth. This was a hard book to read because I know Gary and I know what he was going through at about this time. It is an excellent book though, like all of Gary's books. It focuses on the importance of exposing children to nature in raising well-rounded citizens of the Planet Earth.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    more reflective and less informational/inspiring then I found myself expecting or wishing for. but it did add motivation to this growing desire to acknowledge and periodically detach from sidewalks and completely human-dominated areas. an idea of wildness and longing together.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liz Meissner

    I loved this book. I based my master's thesis on it. Great for all parents. I loved this book. I based my master's thesis on it. Great for all parents.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre Keating

    A library check-out 2007 that I mostly just skimmed. Didn't seem very useful since I presume it is preaching to the choir. But I'm curious why Lori disliked it so (Lori?). A library check-out 2007 that I mostly just skimmed. Didn't seem very useful since I presume it is preaching to the choir. But I'm curious why Lori disliked it so (Lori?).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lee

    The importance of playing outside!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Skimmed for content... found some convincing passages for a child's need to explore, roam, discover... Skimmed for content... found some convincing passages for a child's need to explore, roam, discover...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becky Wandell

    The environmental educator in me loved this book and its multiple perspectives.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Such a great book. I encourage anyone with children (who love the outdoors and exploring) to read this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    So important --why we all need wildness...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    An interesting read for anyone interested in sharing nature with (your) kids. Some great quotes are found throughout.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Great read for those with kidlings. It makes sense for kids of all ages. We all need open spaces to run. xo

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Great book that talks about the importance of children having a connection with the natural world.

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