Connecting with Nature Through Stories (for children and adults)

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By Sally Stovall

I love good children’s books.  Some of my most cherished moments from my children’s growing-up years were reading stories to them that inspired and nurtured me as much as them!  So when I came across this list “16 Great Children’s Books on Nature and the Environment” I knew that I had to share it.

The folks who put together this list for shared the following reasons for featuring books on the theme of nature and the environment:  “Now, more than ever, it is time to share with [children] the beauty that lies in caring for our world and the power that they have when it comes to making a difference. . . .  A wonderful way to turn their attention (and appreciation) towards some of the things that go on in the natural world is through story books, which plant the seeds of curiosity and intrigue that in turn lead to involvement and action.”

Take a look at this link for the names, descriptions and cover images from all 16 of the books, as well as a few more that were suggested by readers of the original list.  Also, great news, the Oak Park Library has 10 of the 16 books on their shelves.  See details below.

And now for adult books on nature and the environment:I highly recommend the collection of essays by Robin Wall Kimmerer titled, BRAIDING SWEETGRASS, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.  “As a botanist, Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science.  As a member of the Citizen Potawatami Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers.”   The stories in each chapter have delighted and nurtured me in a way that I find hard to describe.   From the first essay on, I have been sharing my enthusiasm for this book like an evangelist!

I haven’t read this next book myself, but a friend told me about it, and it sounds awesome. It’s sitting on my table, and I’m looking forward to reading it.  In The Goodness of Rain, Ann Pelo writes about her year-long journey as the caregiver for a toddler.  She makes the commitment to spend each day outside, no matter the weather, experiencing the changing seasons.

"When we turn towards the Earth with curiosity and sympathy, with humility and wonder, our lives fall into place—we fall into place. This is what it means to grow an ecological identity."  -- Ann Pelo

If you have other books on nature and the environment for children and/or adults that you LOVE, please share them with us, and we will pass them on through our website and Facebook pages.

Special thanks to Zoe in the children’s department at the Oak Park Main Library for checking the library’s collection to identify the books from the 16 Great Books list referenced above.  Following are the books that she found:  The Curious Garden, The Little House, The Water Hole, and then it’s spring, Owl Moon, Weslandia, A Seed is Sleepy, Not Your Typical Book About The Environment, All The World, The Carrot Seed.