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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: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An honest, well-researched and well-written book…the first to give name to an undeniable problem.”

From the Back Cover

In his groundbreaking work about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors, journalist and child advocate Richard Louv directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today's wired generatoin to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. This is the first book to bring together a body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional helath of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions to heal the broken bond.

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

112 of 114 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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82 of 85 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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30 of 31 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Denny on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
With "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," author Richard Louv has a national bestseller to his credit.

This is a must-read for anybody who cares about the state of our planet and our way of relating to the physical world. But it is also a must-read for anybody who cares about rising social unrest, crime, alienation, alarming levels of obesity, higher rates of physical illness and a range of emotional disorders among children and adults alike.

Louv's key concept, "nature-deficit disorder," is a term that he has coined but uses with reluctance. His reluctance to use his own term comes from an understanding that in using such a term, it implies a pathology that exists independently of our having been the primary reason for its emergence. It is a sort of Pogo-like irony "we have met the enemy and he is us." If we look upon nature-deficit disorder as something that has always been there, then we fail to understand our role in creating it and may dismiss the challenge of doing what we can to try to remedy it.

As Louv defines it, nature-deficit disorder is an alienation from nature, the diminished use of our physical senses and a fundamental disconnection from the natural world. In an era of electronic plug-ins with electronic technology, people in general but young people in particular are increasingly separated from the natural forces and processes from which we and all species on our planet have evolved. There is an ignorance of the natural world and of our place in it.

The problem is particularly acute in terms of appreciating and understanding the natural environments in our own communities.
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