How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals book cover

How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals

Memoir, Animals, Nature

A naturalist and adventurer discusses the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals who have profoundly affected her, exploring themes of learning to become empathetic, creating families, coping with loss, and the otherness and sameness of people and animals.

Victoria's picture

A delightful book for anyone who admires the sentient intellect and all the life lessons animals outside of own species can share with us-if we're paying attention. -Victoria

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder book cover

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

Richard Louv

Nature, Science

As children’s connections to nature diminish and the social, psychological, and spiritual implications become apparent, new research shows that nature can offer powerful therapy for such maladies as depression, obesity, and attention deficit disorder. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade-point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that childhood experiences in nature stimulate creativity. In Last Child in the Woods, Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists who recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv shows us an alternative future, one in which parents help their kids experience the natural world more deeply—and find the joy of family connectedness in the process.

Mari's picture

This book presents an interesting examination of why children no longer play outside, the health benefits of interacting with nature and ways to encourage kids and communities to reconnect with and the outdoor world. All of this resonated deeply with me, and I felt grateful for the parts of my childhood spent running around in the woods, in the creek, through the farmlands, on bikes, all unsupervised with the neighborhood kids. Now when I go back to visit my dad at my childhood home, the forest is gone and the rural countryside is developed with new houses, streets, businesses, schools, and even hotels and a sports plex. think it's hard to dispute the author's message of how formative these experiences are to the development of children in becoming productive members of society and personally made me want to be engaged more in nature as adult. It also left me feeling a little sad knowing that most children today and in the future, as quoted by a child in the book, "like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." -Mari

Braiding sweetgrass book cover

Braiding sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer

508 /Kimmerer
Nature, Science

"As a leading researcher in the field of biology, Robin Wall Kimmerer understands the delicate state of our world. But as an active member of the Potawatomi nation, she senses and relates to the world through a way of knowing far older than any science. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these two modes of awareness--the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural--to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature. The woven essays that construct this book bring people back into conversation with all that is green and growing; a universe that never stopped speaking to us, even when we forgot how to listen"--

Becky's picture

Blending personal, aesthetic and scientific perspectives on nature, “Braiding Sweetgrass” will have you thinking more about gratitude, restoration, and the relationship between humans and the environment. Kimmerer writes in a poetic style, sharing her own experiences as a mother, a professor, and a Potawatomi woman. A great read! -Becky

The Tea Dragon Society book cover

The Tea Dragon Society

Katie (Cartoonist) O'Neill

Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Nature

After discovering a lost Tea Dragon in the marketplace, apprentice blacksmith Greta learns about the dying art form of Tea Dragon caretaking from the kind tea shop owners.

Casey's picture

I'm very late on reading the sequel to this one, and want to make sure I'm caught up before heading to The Tea Dragon Festival. I love Katie O'Neill's style--Aquicorn Cove is equally adorable. -Casey

The young adventurer's guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods--45 action-packed outdoor activities book cover

The young adventurer's guide to (almost) everything : build a fort, camp like a champ, poop in the woods--45 action-packed outdoor activities

Ben Hewitt

j796.083 Hewitt

"Once upon a time, kids learned the most amazing and unusual things. They learned how to shelter and clothe themselves, how to use a knife and hatchet, how build a fire, tie knots, and read a compass. They learned how to spend a comfortable night in the forest without a nylon tent from REI. The Young Adventurer's Guide will teach kids everything from how to walk like a fox and see like an owl to use the stars as their own personal GPS and even how to build the world's coolest fort out of foraged sticks. This handbook for curious kids will empower them to explore the natural world and even the comfort of their own backyard through a whole new set of skills. Featuring 65 different skills in sections that include: Secrets of the Woods, The Best Camping Trip, Make Cool Stuff That's Actually Useful and Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary"--

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Ranger Rick kids' guide to hiking : all you need to know about having fun while hiking book cover

Ranger Rick kids' guide to hiking : all you need to know about having fun while hiking

Helen Olsson

j796.51 Olsson

A guide to hiking discusses where to do it, what time of day and year to go, what to wear, what gear to bring, proper trail etiquette, how to stay safe, and how to have fun.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek book cover

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Annie Dillard

508.755 /Dillard

A collection of essays on the natural world during a year spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains reflects the author's interactions with her wilderness surroundings.

Mari's picture

This book has been on my to-read list for a long time. Dillard's essays on her observations of the natural world in the Blue Ridge mountains are so beautiful and almost otherworldly. There was way too much information about plants and creatures to possibly retain it all but I enjoyed every page. -Mari

Echo Mountain book cover

Echo Mountain

Lauren Wolk

jFICTION Wolk Lauren
Kids, Nature, Historical Fiction

When twelve-year-old Ellie and her family lose livelihood and move to a mountain cabin in 1934, she quickly learns to be an outdoors woman and, when needed, a healer.

Mari's picture

I loved this story, and it provides some pretty incredible perspective for kids in the modern age. Financially affected by the Great Depression, a family has no choice but to live off the land on a mountain. Ellie learns about her gift to heal when tragedy leaves her father gravely ill. Ellie uses the survivalist skills he taught her along with her own intuition to save her family and foster a community on the mountain. -Mari

The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world book cover

The book of eels : our enduring fascination with the most mysterious creature in the natural world

Patrik Svensson

597.43 /Svensson
Nature, Nonfiction

"Part H Is for Hawk, part The Soul of an Octopus, The Book of Eels is both a meditation on the world's most elusive fish-the eel-and a reflection on the human condition. Remarkably little is known about the European eel, Anguilla anguilla. So little, in fact, that scientists and philosophers have, for centuries, been obsessed with what has become known as the "eel question": Where do eels come from? What are they? Are they fish or some other kind of creature altogether? Even today, in an age of advanced science, no one has ever seen eels mating or giving birth, and we still don't understand what drives them, after living for decades in freshwater, to swim great distances back to the ocean at the end of their lives. They remain a mystery. Drawing on a breadth of research about eels in literature, history, and modern marine biology, as well as his own experience fishing for eels with his father, Patrik Svensson crafts a mesmerizing portrait of an unusual, utterly misunderstood, and completely captivating animal. In The Book of Eels, we meet renowned historical thinkers, from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud to Rachel Carson, for whom the eel was a singular obsession. And we meet the scientists who spearheaded the search for the eel's point of origin, including Danish marine biologist Johannes Schmidt, who led research efforts in the early twentieth century, catching thousands upon thousands of eels, in the hopes of proving their birthing grounds in the Sargasso Sea. Blending memoir and nature writing at its best, Svensson's journey to understand the eel becomes an exploration of the human condition that delves into overarching issues about our roots and destiny, both as humans and as animals, and, ultimately, how to handle the biggest question of all: death. The result is a gripping and slippery narrative that will surprise and enchant."--

Anne M's picture

Part natural history, part philosophy, and part eulogy for his father, Svensson writes beautifully about the mysteries of the eel, an animal that has beguiled scientists from ancient times to the present. -Anne M

The emerald horizon : the history of nature in Iowa book cover

The emerald horizon : the history of nature in Iowa

Cornelia Fleischer Mutel

508.777 /Mutel
Nonfiction, Nature, Science

Jason's picture

A terrific overview of the natural history of Iowa. Any state would be lucky to have such a primer for residents to better understand the world outside their doors. -Jason