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

( 38 )

Overview


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 generatoin 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 helath of ...
See more details below
Paperback
$9.96
BN.com price
(Save 33%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (44) from $1.99   
  • New (17) from $4.44   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 29%)$14.95 List Price

Overview


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 generatoin 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 helath of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions to heal the broken bond.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“This book is an absolute must-read for parents.”
The Washington Post
"[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
The Nation's Health
"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
Parade magazine
“Louv’s provocative new book…is raising debate and tough questions nationwide.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“An honest, well-researched and well-written book…the first to give name to an undeniable problem.”
Boston Globe
"This book is an absolute must-read for parents." - The Boston Globe
Publishers Weekly
Today's kids are increasingly disconnected from the natural world, says child advocacy expert Louv (Childhood's Future; Fatherlove; etc.), even as research shows that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can... be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorder and other maladies. Instead of passing summer months hiking, swimming and telling stories around the campfire, children these days are more likely to attend computer camps or weight-loss camps: as a result, Louv says, they've come to think of nature as more of an abstraction than a reality. Indeed, a 2002 British study reported that eight-year-olds could identify PokEmon characters far more easily than they could name otter, beetle, and oak tree. Gathering thoughts from parents, teachers, researchers, environmentalists and other concerned parties, Louv 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? Louv's book is a call to action, full of warnings but also full of ideas for change. Agent, James Levine. (May 20) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565126053
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 52,790
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Louv is a journalist and the author of seven books about the connections between family, nature, and community. His most recent book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, has been translated into nine languages and published in thirteen countries. Louv is the chairman and cofounder of the Children and Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org) and was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society, in 2008. Find him online at www.richardlouv.com.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


INTRODUCTION

One evening when my boys were younger, Matthew, then ten, looked at me from across a restaurant table and said quite seriously, “Dad, how come it was more fun when you were a kid?”

I asked what he meant.

“Well, you’re always talking about your woods and tree houses, and how you used to ride that horse down near the swamp.”

At first, I thought he was irritated with me. I had, in fact, been telling him what it was like to use string and pieces of liver to catch crawdads in a creek, something I’d be hard-pressed to find a child doing these days. Like many parents, I do tend to romanticize my own childhood— and, I fear, too readily discount my children’s experiences of play and adventure. But my son was serious; he felt he had missed out on something important.

He was right. Americans around my age, baby boomers or older, enjoyed a kind of free, natural play that seems, in the era of kid pagers, instant messaging, and Nintendo, like a quaint artifact.

Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience nature has changed radically. The polarity of the relationship has reversed. Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment— but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading. That’s exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child.

As a boy, I was unaware that my woods were ecologically connected with any other forests. Nobody in the 1950s talked about acid rain or holes in the ozone layer or global warming. But I knew my woods and my fields; I knew every bend in the creek and dip in the beaten dirt paths. I wandered those woods even in my dreams. A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rain forest—but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the clouds move.

This book explores the increasing divide between the young and the natural world, and the environmental, social, psychological, and spiritual implications of that change. It also describes the accumulating research that reveals the necessity of contact with nature for healthy child—and adult—development.

While I pay particular attention to children, my focus is also on those Americans born during the past two to three decades. The shift in our relationship to the natural world is startling, even in settings that one would assume are devoted to nature. Not that long ago, summer camp was a place where you camped, hiked in the woods, learned about plants and animals, or told firelight stories about ghosts or mountain lions. As likely as not today, “summer camp” is a weight-loss camp, or a computer camp. For a new generation, nature is more abstraction than reality. Increasingly, nature is something to watch, to consume, to wear —to ignore. A recent television ad depicts a four-wheel-drive SUV racing along a breathtakingly beautiful mountain stream—while in the backseat two children watch a movie on a flip-down video screen, oblivious to the landscape and water beyond the windows.

A century ago, the historian Frederick Jackson Turner announced that the American frontier had ended. His thesis has been discussed and debated ever since. Today, a similar and more important line is being crossed.

Our society is teaching young people to avoid direct experience in nature. That lesson is delivered in schools, families, even organizations devoted to the outdoors, and codified into the legal and regulatory structures of many of our communities. Our institutions, urban/suburban design, and cultural attitudes unconsciously associate nature with doom—while disassociating the outdoors from joy and solitude. Wellmeaning public-school systems, media, and parents are effectively scaring children straight out of the woods and fields. In the patent-or-perish environment of higher education, we see the death of natural history as the more hands-on disciplines, such as zoology, give way to more theoretical and remunerative microbiology and genetic engineering. Rapidly advancing technologies are blurring the lines between humans, other animals, and machines. The postmodern notion that reality is only a construct—that we are what we program—suggests limitless human possibilities; but as the young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience.

Yet, at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature— in positive ways. Several of these studies suggest that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can even be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorders and other maladies. As one scientist puts it, we can now assume that just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.

Reducing that deficit—healing the broken bond between our young and nature—is in our self-interest, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but also because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. The health of the earth is at stake as well. How the young respond to nature, and how they raise their own children, will shape the configurations and conditions of our cities, homes—our daily lives. The following pages explore an alternative path to the future, including some of the most innovative environment-based school programs; a reimagining and redesign of the urban environment—what one theorist calls the coming “zoopolis”; ways of addressing the challenges besetting environmental groups; and ways that faith-based organizations can help reclaim nature as part of the spiritual development of children. Parents, children, grandparents, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists, and researchers from across the nation speak in these pages. They recognize the transformation that is occurring. Some of them paint another future, in which children and nature are reunited— and the natural world is more deeply valued and protected.

During the research for this book, I was encouraged to find that many people now of college age—those who belong to the first generation to grow up in a largely de-natured environment—have tasted just enough nature to intuitively understand what they have missed. This yearning is a source of power. These young people resist the rapid slide from the real to the virtual, from the mountains to the Matrix. They do not intend to be the last children in the woods.

My sons may yet experience what author Bill McKibben has called “the end of nature,” the final sadness of a world where there is no escaping man. But there is another possibility: not the end of nature, but the rebirth of wonder and even joy. Jackson’s obituary for the American frontier was only partly accurate: one frontier did disappear, but a second one followed, in which Americans romanticized, exploited, protected, and destroyed nature. Now that frontier—which existed in the family farm, the woods at the end of the road, the national parks, and in our hearts—is itself disappearing or changing beyond recognition.

But, as before, one relationship with nature can evolve into another. This book is about the end of that earlier time, but it is also about a new frontier—a better way to live with nature.

Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 18, 2010

    Rubbish.

    First, some background. I am a college professor. I would consider myself a liberal, but I am definitely a moderate. I think Obama is the greatest President of my lifetime thus far. Not many of my friends would even agree with that. Thus, I am not some right-wing, gun-loving, Tea Party, Fox News watching nut job. And...

    I absolutely despised this book. I hated it. Every page I turned I found myself groaning with dismay. My wife kept laughing, because at times I would shout out swear words as I forced myself to wade through the endless pages of ramble.

    This is a complete waste of paper. (Luckily, there is an eBook version that wastes less paper. Of course, one would think reading the book on a computer would go against the author's argument!) It is rubbish and has no value other than fuel for burning. Why?

    The author fails in the following areas:
    -- He is unscientific.
    -- He cites non-scientific studies.
    -- He bases his entire argument off of interviews done with people that think like he does.
    -- He is not critical of his own assumptions.
    -- He does not offer a balanced view or counter-arguments.
    -- He is a particularly ineffective writer when it comes to persuasion. (By the end of the book, I hated nature! I went into this thinking I loved nature.)
    -- He is extremely wordy, and when he is short on words, he cites random no-brainers he interviewed for pages at a time.

    The book was one of the most painful reads I have ever endured, and I would not wish this book on my worst enemy. It is over 300 pages long; it could have been written as a 10-page magazine article.

    I had to read this book with a group of other professors, because we are attempting to synchronize our classes for a year-long sustainability learning community among Freshmen students at our university. Half of us absolutely hated this book and refused to use it in our classes -- I am a human geography prof, the others who disliked it were sociology and English profs. Others -- including the Rock Climbing prof and the conservation prof -- really liked it.

    To me, this book is kind of like Fox News -- if you agree with the author's position already, you may just get riled up by it. If you disagree, you will hate the book by the end. If you are like I was, indifferent toward the position, it will be just an unconvincing and unscientific waste of time -- just like a Fox News Broadcast. I ended up hating it.

    Read "Silent Spring" if you want a good book on nature and environment. Read "Garbageland" or "No Impact Man" if you want to know how to save the planet. At least "No Impact Man" didn't have the gall to act scientific.

    Don't read this garbage. Please don't even support the publication of such useless stuff. Ugh.

    4 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Great Book!

    I thought this book was great! Having grown up in such a nature loving family, I find it extremely important that children are exposed to nature as much as possible.

    I'm really glad I didn't attend the college that the reviewer below me teaches at. I stopped reading the review after "I think Obama is the greatest President of my lifetime thus far."

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    A Book To Change Your Mind

    This book was hugely influential to me in my parenting journey. I loved it. It is dense, but very beautifully written for nonfiction. Everyone with kids needs to read this book for an eye-opening realization of the importance of nature in a child's life and the scary implications of the diminution of nature in American society.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    Attention this subject deserves

    I have said to myself, friends and family for years that our children are living a life to distant from the natural world. This book not only discusses the subject but provides research into the consequences to our children who grow up in a man-made world. I recommend this book to all parents and to anyone interested in the environment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2006

    Thrilled this book was written!

    As a child, I recall fishing, hiking and riding our horses through the woods. It added so much flavor and richness to our lives that I couldn't imagine not passing it on to our own children. Building memories with our children in the outdoors and teaching them the beauty of playing outside has helped shape them into healthier and happier people. I was thrilled that Richard Louv wrote this book! His interview on NPR convinced me even more that he is sincere in wanting to help generations of children and their parents to see how nature can serve to enrich our lives. Chrissy K. McVay - author of 'Souls of the North Wind'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2005

    An absolute God-send!

    Everything that the author informs us about through this brilliant book is true! Just thinking about how rare ADD, depression in children, etc. was when I was a child (whose parents MADE me play outside often!) is amazing compared to today's kids. Very insightful, helpful, and important information. I recommed this book to ALL parents and anyone remotely interested in outdoor activities!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2005

    A great read for any parent, teacher or child-lover

    Louv compellingly explains the trend that many of us have noticed without quite articulating it. It's a fascinating look at how our culture and our children have changed, and what this means to us. He explains what we're losing, why and why it matters. But he has solutions and optimism and a faith that if parents know that they can gain and the research supporting outdoor play, they will get them hiking and roaming and exploring. As an example, he says, let your kid play in the woods, just give him a cell phone. Not a bad solution for our fearful, high-tech times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    To the professor

    As an educator, I would like the above professor to please post the university he/she work at soI can advise students not to attend such a biased narrow minded place. I LOVED the book! Any educated person can see how it relates to modern society.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2012

    Great

    Loved it. While things may not be as dire as the author depicts them, it is not far off. My kids are encouraged (forced) to play outside as much as possible with very limited digital interactions. I highly recommend this book for any parent, educator, or just anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This is a great book for parents and all educators. Our children think that the world is big video game. It is time to get them outside where they can learn an grow. This book is a great help to those that want to really educate children.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Excellent!!

    The calmness of nature is a key to our human well being.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 10, 2011

    Highly recommend. Book in very condition and very fast service.

    I was very pleased with book and service. The book was purchased for a gift and do not have feed back on content but it was highly recommended to me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2010

    Reunite With the Natural World

    Last Child in the Woods is extremely inspirational, and as a young adult myself, this book motivated me to get out of the house and into the forest. The book covers many different points on the controversy of being out in nature unsupervised and free. It also covers the mental, emotional, and social healing capabilities nature offers, especially learning disabilities like ADHD and ADD. I enjoyed how the author used personal examples to back up scientific researches and statistics. How the book was organized lead me effortlessly into the next chapters with startling and fascinating factoids. Richard Louv wrote this in a captivating and interesting style, and I was unable to put the book down. It made me realize that we as modern day citizens, adults and children alike, have been so dramatically affected by electronics and drawn to their alluring lights, we just don't realize it. As Louv quotes, we have moved from "loving streams to loving screens." Last Child in the Woods points out this may very well not be an evolutionary leap. When you read this book, you will gasp out loud, or nod in agreement, for all the facts stated throughout the text are astonishing. I particularly found the effects a nature free environment had on people very interesting, including stress, depression, and in a sense, claustrophobia. Reading this book awoke the wild thing that's in all of us. This book is not just about children. I recommend this book to parents, book clubs, teenagers, environmentalists, and especially those who feel like they are missing out on life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Should be required reading for ALL bookclubs.

    As a 72-year-old practicing forester, I recognize the importance of the subject(s) and their importance to the education of not only children, but all citizens. As a 2nd grade school volunteer, I can see the benefits of getting these kids away from those screens and into the woods.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

    Go Outside!

    simple read, a little redundant at times, to the point, updated... makes you want to drop everything and go outdoor exploring with the kids

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    a wake up call for the World!

    This is an inspirational, motivational, and informational book that should be required reading for all reguardless if your going to be around children or not. Adults and children will benefit from knowing that nature can reduce the severity of mental/behavioral problems. I beleive we all have this voice inside of us that crys out for nature (I hear it everyday)but some never seem to listen to it or are so busy they can't hear it. Richard Louv points this out very clearly. This book can open your eyes to the peace that nature can bring to you if you only are still enough to listen. Our family has traveled to many National Parks across the United States and have seen the beauty and awesomeness. You feel the peace when your there and we often recall those memories of the hikes we took almost daily and it helps us to make it through the everyday hum-drum. Loaded with unbelievable statistics that makes you stop and think why we have continued on this path of destruction of our sanity. Children and adults have become prisoners to the technology of today and for what reason? Entertainment? Closeness with others? Peace? It's nothing but time consuming and creates more loneliness. The resources in the back of the book are great, I've checked out nearly all of them. Great Information. Come on people...let's jump on that band wagon and make a difference. I'm a homeschool mom and this was one of the major reasons we decided to homeschool...so we could be outdoors more and not so confined and imprisoned by the ever growing need to think we have to be tested, compared to others, and restricted. This book will surely change the way I teach next year. I plan on using this book as a cirriculm option. And also plan on reading many of the books Richard Louv had recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)