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Last Child in the Woods : Saving Our…
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Last Child in the Woods : Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Richard Louv

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1,442385,205 (3.99)23
Member:bren
Title:Last Child in the Woods : Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Authors:Richard Louv
Info:Algonquin Books (2005), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:nature, children, philosophy

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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv (2005)

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Now, any book that insists kids should be spending more time playing outside than in front of a screen is, in my case, preaching to the choir. I don't need to be convinced. I need data and ideas and backup.

Louv makes many interesting observations and provides some references to research that supports his claims, but not much in the way of in depth examinations of those studies. (I am a skeptic even when presented with data that backs up my beliefs.) I would have liked to see more of that, but appreciate that the conversational tone was probably better suited for intended audience- ie, those who are trying to figure out how to get their kids outdoors and connected to the real world around them. He does provide a number of interesting ideas and examples, including ways to involve schools and communities.

I found the chapters on HOA restrictions and legal complications of outside play especially informative. Louv addresses the pervasive but illogical "stranger-danger" paranoia that keeps many kids from exploring their own backyards, let alone the neighborhood, and suggests that more community involvement is the best way to combat these particular issues. ( )
  Suzi.Rogers.Gruber | May 3, 2016 |
This book really delves into how much childhood has changed just in the past generation, let alone what it was like even 50 years ago. Today's kids spend most of their time indoors watching, TV, playing video games, on the internet and interacting with friends on a phone. What little time they do spend outdoors is usually in organized activities and sports. It's a great reminder of what makes being outdoors so great and how healthy and natural it is. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
I'd heard of this book for years, and read/skimmed through it last week. It's OK, but most of it could have been covered in a substantial magazine article. ( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
The author is the recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal and the author of seven books. He is the chairman of the Children and Nature Network and honorary co-chair of the National Forum on Children and Nature. Louv has written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and other newspapers and magazines.

Robert Michael Pyle, author of Sky Time in Gray's River, said of this work, "[It] 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." First published in 2005, this edition has 35 discussion points for book groups, classrooms, and communities. Also included is new and updated research from the U. S. and abroad, plus a progress report from the author.The book has chapter notes, is well indexed and provides a list of 100 actions we can take to help work toward the goal of "leaving no child inside."
  uufnn | Mar 12, 2015 |
Louv discusses “nature deficit disorder” wherein our society has moved away from letting children just play and be outside. natural play has been criminalized through fear of being sued for a child breaking their arm by falling from a tree in your yard or on the school playground and fear of “strangers.” the distance kids are allowed to roam from their home has decreased dramatically in the last 20-30 years and hearkens to the free range child movement.

most kids no longer know what it means to just lie in a meadow and watch the clouds and listen to the wind. Louv recounts quite a few anecdotes from other people as well as his own about the value and joy of playing outside when they were young.

the concepts there were not new to me and the lack of numbered notation for references and index placed this book firmly in the land of journalism rather than scholarship. nevertheless, it makes its point well and is very much worth the read if you are interested in learning more about the diverging of humans and their natural environment and its effect on our childhood. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
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There was a child who went forth every day, And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, Or for many years or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass and red and white morning glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird, And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,....
--Walt Whitman
I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are. --A fourth-grader in San Diego
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For Jason and Matthew
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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?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 156512605X, Paperback)

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression.

Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.

Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development—physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it's also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes—fears the media exploit—that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas.

Parents have the power to ensure that their daughter or son will not be the "last child in the woods," and this book is the first step toward that nature-child reunion.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Louv talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists to find ways for children to experience the natural world more deeply.

(summary from another edition)

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