Nature and Environmental Book Reviews

Short List of Best Nature and Environmental Books



Environmental Education

Children who have spent unsupervised time in nature grow into more confident adults – adults who feel at home in the world . . . learn more about Environmental Education»

Nature is always around us and within us: the books in this section point to the importance of educating children (and adults) of their place in the natural world.

Recommended Books on Environmental Education

Beyond EcophobisBeyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education
David Sobel

Beyond Ecophobia speaks to teachers, parents, and others interested in nurturing in children the ability to understand and care for nature. This expanded version of one of Orion Magazine's most popular articles includes descriptions of developmentally appropriate environmental education activities and a list of related children's books. 1999, Orion Society

Children and NatureChildren and Nature: Psychological, Sociocultural, and Evolutionary Investigations
Peter H. Kahn and Stephen R. Kellert, editors

For much of human evolution, the natural world was one of the most important contexts of children's maturation. The experience of nature was, and still may be, a critical component of human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Yet scientific knowledge of the significance of nature during the different stages of childhood is sparse. This book provides scientific investigations and thought-provoking essays on children and nature. The authors examine the evolutionary significance of nature during childhood; the formation of children's conceptions, values, and sympathies toward the natural world; how contact with nature affects children's physical and mental development; and the educational and political consequences of the weakened childhood experience of nature in modern society. 2002, MIT Press

Developing Ecological ConsciousnessDeveloping Ecological Consciousness: Paths to a Sustainable World
Christopher Uhl

This book offers an ecology-based, wonder-filled initiation to the universe and the planet earth. It examines the ways in which humans are damaging the earth as well as their bodies and spirits. It gives the reader new paradigms, values, and tools essential for both planetary and personal transformation. 2003, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

EcoKidsEcoKids: Raising Children Who Care for the Earth
Dan Chiras

To forge a sustainable future, we need citizens who care for the Earth. We need citizens who understand that planet care is the ultimate form of self-care. EcoKids presents a coherent plan that will help parents foster love for nature, teach children the importance of environmental protection, and promote environmental values and inspire action - actions that will last a lifetime. 2005, New Society Publishers

Ecological Education in ActionEcological Education in Action: On Weaving Education, Culture, and the Environment
Gregory A. Smith and Dilafruz R. Williams, editors

This book celebrates the work of innovative educators in North America who explore ecological issues in school and non-school settings. These educators aim to engender the experience of connectedness that lies at the heart of moral action --demonstrating how to reshape the thinking of children and adults to affirm the values of sustainability, mutual support and community. 1998, State University of New York Press

Ecological Literacy
Short List

Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World
Michael Stone and Zenobia Barlow, editors

Continually updated, this has been the standard advanced text in ecology for 20 years. This new edition includes new chapters on applied ecology, reflecting a rigorous, scientific approach to the ecological problems now facing mankind. Interdependence between the organisms that constitute an ecosystem is demonstrated by understanding flows of energy and matter through the ecosystem. The essential reference for a thorough understanding of ecology. 2005, Wiley

Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern WorldEcological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World
David W. Orr

Professor Orr sees sustainability as being about the terms and conditions of human survival, and states that "this crisis cannot be solved by the same kind of education that helped to create the problems." He offers educators and parents an encompassing vision of how to teach and nurture children to be a thriving, responsible part of the natural world. 1992, State University of New York Press

The Ecology of Imagination in ChildhoodThe Ecology of Imagination in Childhood
Edith Cobb
Is genius shaped by the imagination of childhood? Cobb's collection of autobiographies and biographies of creative people, as well as her observations of children's play, suggests just that. She sees the child to be innately connected with the natural world. Inner powers alone do not further the imagination. Her book remains an important philosophical meditation on the importance of children's deep experience of nature to their adult cognition and psychological well-being. 1993, Spring Publications

The Geography of ChildhoodThe Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places
Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble

More than half of American children get their environmental information from the media. The authors, both seasoned naturalists, earnestly convey their love of the land and their experiences in imparting that love to their young children. They clearly show the necessity of wild places for childhood exploration and adventure. 1995, Beacon Press

Last Child in the WoodsLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Richard Louv

Today's kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. A 2002 British study reported that 8-year-olds can identify Pokemon characters far more easily than they could name "otter, beetle and oak tree." The author of this stimulating book argues for a return to an awareness of and appreciation for the natural world. Not only can nature teach kids science and nurture their creativity, he says, nature needs its children: where else will its future stewards come from? 2008, Algonquin Books; Updated and Expanded edition

Learning Toward an Ecological Consciousness: Selected Transformative PracticesLearning Toward an Ecological Consciousness: Selected Transformative Practices
Edmund O'Sullivan and Marilyn M. Taylor, editors

Sullivan and Taylor highlight the pedagogical practices that foster transformation from our current way of thinking about our place in the world to an underlying ecological way of seeing and acting. They offer the reader a selection of transformative practices that demonstrate the complex journey and contextual conditions that move us towards a deeper realization that we are a part of the world around us. 2004, Palgrave Macmillan

A Natural Sense of WonderA Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons
Rick Van Noy

A Natural Sense of Wonder is a timely and lyrical reminder of the fundamental importance of children's ongoing experience of nature as the basis of creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. This is a great book for a wide range of parents and is full of the realities of parenting in a postmodern age. 2008, University of Georgia Press

Reconnecting with NatureReconnecting With Nature
Michael J. Cohen

Most of us have been conditioned to ignore our 53 natural sensitivities that connect us with Nature's beauty, health, and regenerative ways. This omission leads tor unhealthy stress and physical disorders. Author Cohen's Organic Psychology offers approaches to help the reader embrace natural systems, finding personal, environmental and spiritual well-being. 2007, Ecopress

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