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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder Paperback – April 22, 2008


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Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder + The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age + Sharing Nature with Children, 20th Anniversary Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; Updated and Expanded edition (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156512605X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565126053
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is an absolute must-read for parents." - The Boston Globe (Boston Globe)

"[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 Washington Post)

"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 (The Nation's Health)

“This book is an absolute must-read for parents.” (Boston Globe)

“Louv’s provocative new book…is raising debate and tough questions nationwide.” (Parade magazine)

“An honest, well-researched and well-written book…the first to give name to an undeniable problem.” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Review

“The simplest, most profound, and most helpful of any book I have read on the personal and historical situation of our children, and ourselves, as we move into the twenty-first century.” -Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth

More About the Author

VISIT www.RichardLouv.com
TAKE ACTION AT www.childrenandnature.org


Richard Louv is a journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community. His newest book is The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin), which offers a new vision of the future, in which our lives are as immersed in nature as they are in technology. This future, available to all of us right now, offers better psychological, physical and spiritual health for people of every age.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin), translated into 10 languages and published in 15 countries, has stimulated an international conversation about the relationship between children and nature. Louv is also the founding chairman of the Children & Nature Network at www.childrenandnature.org, an organization helping build the movement to connect today's children and future generations to the natural world. Louv coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder™ which has become the defining phrase of this important issue.

In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society. Prior recipients have included Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. Louv is also the recipient of the Cox Award for 2007, Clemson University's highest honor, for "sustained achievement in public service" and has been a Clemson visiting professor. Among other awards, Louv is the recipient of the 2008 San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal, the 2008 George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society, and the 2009 International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award. He also serves as Honorary Co-chairman, with artist Robert Bateman, of Canada's national Children and Nature Alliance.

Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, and other major publications. He has appeared on many national TV shows, including NBC's Today Show and Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC's Good Morning America, and NPR's Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation. Between 1984 and 2007 he was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and has been a columnist and member of the editorial advisory board for Parents magazine. Louv was an advisor to the Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World award program. He serves on the board of directors of ecoAmerica and is a member of the Citistates Group. He has appeared before the Domestic Policy Council in the White House as well as at major governmental and professional conferences, nationally and internationally, most recently as keynote speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference.

He is married to Kathy Frederick Louv and the father of two young men, Jason, 29 and Matthew, 23. He would rather fish than write.

Customer Reviews

And now - let's go outdoors and play!
AC Paduch
It makes so much sense and offers many suggestions on how we can help our children reconnect with nature.
AM
It is a must read book for parents, educators, and anyone concern about the health of today’s children.
Allison L.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Sam Thayer on September 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked the author's ideas, and his arguments, and agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment. I think he's a great person, and I'm glad this book brought this very important issue into the public discussion. However, he totally missed the root cause of the problem he is addressing, and thereby missed the answer to the dilemma. Children don't spend enough time in Nature because adults don't. If we want our children to value Nature and experience it, we must. They are just modeling our behavior. As a Nature educator, I have grown to be disgusted by the very prevalent attitude of middle class parents: "Can somebody please take my kids outside so they can appreciate Nature while I go do important things?" This book is an elaboration on that misguided and futile idea. The author seems to be trying to see beyond it, but he can't quite do it.

Nature deficit disorder is MORE prevalent in adults than in children, and we are passing the disease on to them by rearing them in a way that reflects our chosen values. It is something like parents who smoke and drink while telling their kids not to do the same. Not only is it an ineffective strategy, it is also a disingenuous one.
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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv is a timely book that needed to be written.

The author's point is that kids today are facing a nature deficit and that affects childhood obesity and even the potential for the next generation to appreciate the breadth of nature enough to want to preserve it. After all, if the local mall has an arboretum and that's all you know as nature, that's all you'll expect.

The culprit is not news to anyone, nor to any parent with enough income to plug their kids into all manner of electronic gadgets. Videogames, TV, computers and the like have proved a powerful pull on today's children. The cost is a lack of simple play outdoors, exploring creeks, fields, rocks and trees (the author doesn't count organized sports as nature exploration and rightly so in my book). It is sad, but not surprising to ask any kids under age 16 or so if the know how to play "Kick the Can." Hardly any do, and even fewer have played.

Louv offers a lot of data to back up the negative effects of this nature deficiency and some prescriptions to turn it around. While reestablishing phys ed in school will help, the answer is simple: parents, unplug your kids and kick them outside.

Having said this, I felt the author could have made his points and supported them in a long magazine article. There really wasn't enough for a full book and Louv gets repetitive and even inserts lists of ways to address the problem. I found myself scanning some sections later in the book because the points in those pages had been made before or the prescriptions he was offering were simplistic and I didn't feel worthy of the full play he gave to some.

That being said, important argument and point, I just wish I would have read this in about forty pages in a periodical.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Fritz R. Ward TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I was growing up in Boise Idaho, I thought nothing of spending an afternoon away from my parents fishing ponds along the Boise River. As I graduated to fly fishing, I spent time on the river itself. Closer to home, the canal which ran below South Federal Way offered a miniature green belt where my friends and I built forts and rode bikes. Urban as Boise was, even then, this tiny greenbelt was still sufficiently wild that I would occasionally find a porcupine in our front yard. Our cats were fairly adept at finding quail (and bringing their still quivering bodies to us) and in general I found it easy to retreat to a relatively tame and yet exciting out of doors. Children today have no such privileges. Indeed, as Richard Louv points out, they are literally suffering from nature deficit disorder and its effects are far more pervasive than most of us would be willing to acknowledge. Increasing urbanization is part of the problem, but only a small part. A larger portion of the blame lies with the unintentional effects of our best intentions: legislation and regulations to protect and educate children.

Louv's hypothesis, in brief, is that we have entered a third frontier. Following the argument of America's first great historian, Frederick Jackson Turner, Louv suggests that America's frontier did indeed close in the 1890s, but it was replaced almost immediately by a second great frontier: life on farms, institutions such as scouting, and outdoor activities were, he argues, commonplace until the 1980s. But, just as Turner's thesis begins with the 1890 census, Louv finds the 1990 census an equally useful demarcation point, for beginning with this census, separate farm records are no longer kept, due to the decline in the rural population.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wesley L. Janssen VINE VOICE on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
"For the young, food is from Venus, farming is from Mars," says Louv. But the not-so-young, that is, the parents of our present young, are often just as alienated from reality. Food comes from the refrigerator-- well, okay, it really comes from the grocery or convenience store-- but then it ultimately comes from truckers and the Oscar Meyer factory, or General Mills maybe. No? It comes from Papa John's Pizza, delivered by driver to our doors, ready to eat. What more is worth knowing? Western culture, certainly US culture, accelerates in this noetic disconnection from its natural sustenance. However, this is but a sub-thesis for Louv, one quickly passed.

Where the topic is a personal knowledge of nature, the word `nature' is itself problematic. Within current theory, all material we can experience-- whether a polyethylene terephthalate water bottle or an oak tree-- is reducible to quarks and gluons, and is thus "natural." The reader must bare in mind what the author means by `nature': something like, those aspects of the geophysical and biological world somehow minimally altered by man (or something like that). Not that I have a more economical definition for Louv's purposes, but often his usage of `nature' is ambiguous. Avoiding this seems difficult.

Louv's book contains many important discussions, but it's repetitive and generally seems unfocused. He repeatedly introduces ideas (generally by citing/quoting various individuals) as if having more validity than they do, often then admitting that he might not assent to much of the citation he has just introduced. This dilutes and blurs the discourse; material is included that should not have been.
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