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

Jacket Description/Back:

In his groundbreaking work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, journalist and child advocate Richard Louv directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. This is the first book to bring together a body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions to heal the broken bond.

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


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


"[The] national movement to 'leave no child inside' . . . has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grass-roots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a 'green hour' in each day. . . . The increased activism has been partly inspired by a best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods, and its author, Richard Louv." -- The Washington Post


Last Child in the Woods, which describes a generation so plugged into electronic diversions that it has lost its connection to the natural world, is helping drive a movement quickly flourishing across the nation." -- The Nation's Health


"This book is an absolute must-read for parents." -- The Boston Globe


"An honest, well-researched and well-written book, . . . the first to give name to an undeniable problem." -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


"One of the most thought-provoking, well-written books I've read in recent memory. It rivals Rachel Carson's Silent Spring." -- The Cincinnati Enquirer


"Important and original. . . . As Louv so eloquently and urgently shows, our mothers were right when they told us, day after day, 'Go out and play.'" -- The Christian Science Monitor


Last Child in the Woods is the direct descendant and rightful legatee of Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder. But this is not the only thing Richard Louv has in common with Rachel Carson. There is also this: in my opinion, Last Child in the Woods is the most important book published since Silent Spring." --Robert Michael Pyle, author of Sky Time in Gray's River


"A single sentence explains why Louv's book is so important: 'Our children, ' he writes, 'are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world.' This matters, and Last Child in the Woods makes it patently clear why and lays out a path back." -- The Ecologist


"With this scholarly yet practical book, Louv offers solutions today for a healthier, greener tomorrow." -- Washington Post Book World


"The simplest, most profound, and most helpful of any book I have read on the personal and historical situation of our children, and ourselves, as we move into the twenty-first century." --Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth


Richard Louv is a journalist and the 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.


Algonquin Books

Pub Date: April 22, 2008

1.0" H x 8.1" L x 5.4" W

390 pages