Reader reviews for Last Child in the Woods : Saving Our Children from Nature...

Enlightening, encouraging, depressing....so much great information and an interesting read. I have a bias that leans toward the outdoors already, so maybe this wouldn't strike the same chord with everyone, but I was regularly spouting information from this book to anyone who would (or wouldn't listen). Kids need nature - already knew that, this just reinforces my dedication to that idea. It's also a great book to keep around as a reference with a bunch of web sites and ideas for nature activities at the end of the book.Regardless of where you live, be it city, suburbia or somewhere more wild, there's nature there for the enjoying and this book explains why it's so very important for children (and adults) to make the most of it.
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I'm reading this book now for a book group, and honestly, if I had a reason to quit reading it I would. It's a really boring collection of studies, really. I'm 200 pages in and so far I've gone paragraph to paragraph with statements like "in a 2007 study so and so Ph.D. found that blah blah blah" and "in 2003 a study found that blah blah blah". I would rather NOT read a compilation of studies. I much prefer a clear narrative.Boring.
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*Inspired and Important*Richard Louv makes important points about what we may cost ourselves, our children, and our future by becoming more urban and less connected to the natural world. Within living memory, even urban children often had access to an overgrown vacant lot which would be suitable for playing and exploring, whereas nowadays they're likely to be fenced in or inhabited by gangs and addicts (or both).An important book for parents in particular.
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Although there were probably flaws in this book and in some of the author's arguments and suggestions, I gave it five stars because I think it's an important topic that was reasonably well addressed. Even as a fairly sedentary child who loved to read above all things, I spent plenty of time outdoors, climbing trees in the swamp behind our house, imagining on the rocky beach of Long Island Sound, throwing sticks for my grandfather's dog to catch.... My own children had more freedom than many in their generation, though probably not as much as I, and we did take them camping a lot. They have often remarked about kids they've babysat or nannied for that they do not (and often aren't allowed to) spend much time outdoors even when there is ample opportunity. I think this is an important book for parents, grandparents, and school administrators, among others. I would disagree with the author's idea that giving your kids a cell phone to take into the woods (or other natural area) is a necessary precaution. But if that's what it takes to get them outside, I guess it's OK.
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Way too preachy with little empirical evidence behind any point made. Science journal readers beware.
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I read this book a few years ago and have continually gone back to it. It presents an argument that is more profound with each passing year: that our children are disconnected from a world that is vanishing. Two ironies: the natural world is shrinking and children are kept from experiencing what's left of it. As a parent, I'm as guilty as anyone else. We spend too much time making connections on sites like this one and not enough time going out into nature. And we live in a culture that is increasingly disinterested in preservation of natural landscapes, that denies and diminishes science and research, that refuses to put resources and funding into ensuring that our children have the necessary grounding in natural science. Richard Louv's book is wonderful but tinged with heartbreaking realities. As a teacher, I can see how children connect immediately with even the smallest fragments of the nature that is around them. We owe it to our children to give them that kind of education every time there is an opportunity to do so.
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A must use book for any environmental science course. It discusses the need to explore and examine nature, as this experience helps one to learn more about science, manipulative tools, and appreciate nature.
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Parts of this flow and engage really well, other parts less so. A valuable read.
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The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1 NIV) "In my first counseling job, I took children with AIDS to the mountains who had never been out of their urban neighborhoods. One night, a nine year-old woke me up. She had to go to the bathroom. We stepped outside the tent and she looked up. She gasped and grabbed my leg. She had never seen the stars before." --Madhu Narayan "I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are." --San Diego 4th grader Something has went wrong. Something very deep & fundamental, states Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. Children in America have largely lost nature and wilderness. Their knowledge of it, their connection to it, their love of it. Louv passionately pleads that immersion in God's creation is not just a "nice thing" for our children, but something vital for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development. He goes so far as to give society's current state a name-- "nature-deficit disorder." So, is this just one more idea, one more book, or is this something real? I agree with Louv. I think both Scripture and experience tell us that God constructed both our bodies and our souls to exist in the rich, beautiful world that he created. God intended for us to be blessed, as Louv would put it, "biologically, cognitively, and spiritually--through positive physical connection to nature." That "time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children's health." This is not some flower-child nature worship-- it's just an honest realization of how God made us. We were not made to be holed up in caves of wood and concrete and steel; we were made to live in God's creation. Louv says "in our bones we need the natural curves of hills, the scent of chaparral, the whisper of pines, the possibility of wildness." His conclusion? Alienation from God's creation, just as alienation from the God Who made it, has deleterious effects on our body and soul. As Louv quotes Luther Standing Bear, "Man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard." His solution? A realization of the importance of living in nature, and then a restoration of that life, both on a personal level, a community level, and a societal level, both in practical steps for today and visionary plans for the future. I loved this book. I loved the careful thought that went into it. I loved all the peppery quotes, like "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing" (author Norman Maclean referring about his father, a Presbyterian pastor) and "God communicates to us (nowhere) with such texture and forcefulness in detail and grace and joy, as through creation...this is what connects humanity, this is what we have in common. It's not the internet, it's the oceans." (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.). I loved what this book did to my soul, turning it to God's creation and its importance for both my children and me. I loved how it encouraged me to more actively involve my kids in contact with and appreciation of God's creation. So what about the spiritual content? Louv writes very broadly and generically about spirituality, interviewing many people from many religious views. The whole area of our relationship with God's creation has long been primarily, if not exclusively, the domain of "liberals" and people far from a conservative Christian viewpoint. It is sad that in the book he could find no voice from a reformed theological tradition that could have forcefully and articulately praised his ideas while grounding them solidly in a Biblical worldview. I see some seeds of change within evangelical Christianity regarding a right view and right embracing of God's gift of His creation. Hopefully readers of this book can plant some of those seeds in their own lives and in the lives of others in their spheres of influence.
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This book was a bit of a chore. Mr. Louv spent a great deal of time driving his point home, which was probably helpful for the skeptics that were reading it. I'm not a skeptic, so I found myself thinking, "Okay, I get it, move on please!" This was good information, but it was a little too preachy for me. It did make me get my kids outside more, though, and since that's the whole idea of the book (in a nutshell) then it is at the very least effective.
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