I Begin with Spring: The Life and Seasons of Henry David Thoreau

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I Begin with Spring weaves natural history around Thoreau's life and times in a richly illustrated field notebook format that can be opened anywhere and invites browsing on every page. Beginning each season with quotes from Thoreau's schoolboy essay about the changing seasons, Early Bloomer follows him through the fields and woods of Concord, the joys and challenges of growing up, his experiment with simple living on Walden Pond, and his participation in the abolition movement, self-reliance, science, and literature.

The book's two organizing themes--the chronology of Thoreau's life and the seasonal cycle beginning with spring--interact seamlessly on every spread, suggesting the correspondence of human seasons with nature's. Thoreau's annual records of blooms, bird migrations, and other natural events scroll in a timeline across the page bottoms, and the backmatter includes a summary of how those dates have changed from his day to ours and what that tells us about the science of phenology and climate change.

Megan Baratta's watercolors are augmented with historical images and reproductions of Thoreau's own sketches to create a high-interest visual experience. The book includes a foreword from Thoreau scholar Jeffrey Cramer, Curator of Collections for the Walden Woods Project.




Julie Dunlap is a children's book writer whose books have earned a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Boston Globe Pick of the Lists, a Teachers' Choice from Learner Magazine, a Parents' Choice Award, and an honorable mention for children's books from the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education. Her children's books include Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau's Flute (Dial Books for Young Readers); Parks for the People: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted; Extraordinary Horseshoe Crabs; and Coyotes and Bats (written under her pseudonym, Julia Vogel). She has also co-edited two anthologies for adult readers, Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together (MIT Press) and Coming of Age at the End of Nature (Trinity University Press) and writes for environmental education organizations such as Interfaith Oceans and the Audubon Naturalist Society. She earned a PhD in social ecology from Yale University and teaches undergraduates about wildlife ecology and sustainability at the University of Maryland University College.

STARRED REVIEW!

Henry David Thoreau spent many years observing seasonal changes in the natural world; now, a new biography for young readers chronicles the seasons of his life.The book begins with a description of Thoreau's outdoorsy childhood spent collecting wildflowers, leaves, and seeds on his grandmother's farm in Concord, Massachusetts. As a teenager, Henry explored the small town's rivers and wetlands and "learned the voices of birds, frogs, and insects too." After studying Greek, Latin, and German at Harvard, he taught at the district school until his beloved brother's untimely death forced him to reevaluate his life. He started journaling and writing essays and poems inspired by his excursions in nature. Determined to carry out an "experiment" in "living more simply," he dwelled by himself in a tiny house at Walden Pond for two years. The narrative goes on to describe Thoreau's writerly life and literary accomplishments; his foray into land surveying; his public lectures; his involvement in the anti-slavery movement; and his many adventures and groundbreaking contributions as a naturalist. Dunlap's generous text unfolds at a leisurely pace and excels at narrative despite being nonfictional. It puts Thoreau's lasting legacy into context, establishing his influence on Martin Luther King Jr. and the modern environmental movement. Never overdrawn, Thoreau comes across as a thoroughly modern individual, quirks and all. The book's layout approximates a nature journal; the pages are riddled with labeled watercolor sketches and handwritten field notes. Facsimiles of primary documents are interspersed throughout, bringing 19th-century Concord to life. A marvelous life survey of a perennially relevant historical figure. (author's notes, resources) (Illustrated biography. 7-12  -- "Kirkus Reviews" 



Megan Elizabeth Baratta illustrates with pencil, ink, and watercolor - sometimes incorporating digital elements. She loves rendering scenes of ordinary life and showing their quiet beauty. Megan is the illustrator of Most Days (Tilbury House, 2021). She is inspired by the natural world, cups of coffee, and all things British.


Target Age: 9-12

Tilbury House Publishers

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

0.63" H x 9.13" L x 6.85" W

96 pages

hardcover