The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places

The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places

by Gary Paul Nabhan, Stephen A. Trimble

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
More than half of American children get their environmental information from the media, according to the authors, who find this a disturbing trend. In alternating essays, conservation biologist Nabham ( Gathering the Desert ) and Trimble ( Great Sand Dunes ) examine the needs of children to experience nature firsthand. Each author draws on his childhood experiences: Nabham's among the steel mills and sand dunes of Gary, Ind., and Trimble's travels in the West with his geologist father. They describe how their own children react to the world of nature and look at Southwest Indian cultures that are closely tied to nature. Trimble speaks to three-generations of a ranch family in Nevada; Nabham visits an extended family on a Mexican ranch. Observing social activities on school playgrounds, Trimble discovers more interaction between the sexes on grassy areas than on bare asphalt. This thoughtful presentation, testifying to children's need for direct contact with nature, has value for parents and those who work with children. Photos. (Apr.)
Denise Perry Donavin
Two fathers, both seasoned naturalists, earnestly convey their love of the land and their experiences imparting that love to their young children. They rue the fact so many children lack such opportunities. "When we don't grow up meeting lizards, snakes, and frogs, we have no way to recognize their vitality and dignity, nor the continuity between them and us." Often, the naivete of these authors is as moving as their paternal reflections. Theirs is definitely not another how-to-collect-leaves-with-your-toddler book, and it raises questions that are not easily answered. With all their seriousness, however, Nabhan and Trimble still offer many delightful scenes of enjoying the wilderness with their families.

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Concord Library Ser.

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