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There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge) Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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“Born and raised in Sweden with an ingrained appreciation for the outdoors, McGurk feels out of step with American culture when she tries to reproduce that childhood for her children in Indiana. Amusing interactions, such as one with a concerned motorist who passes her pushing her daughter in a stroller and walking her dog in midwinter, pepper the story….McGurk’s work will be encouraging to like-minded parents who feel American culture excessively emphasizes risk avoidance.”
"The author expertly combines personal memories of her childhood and that of her children with scientific data and research to show the significant disparities in the way children interact with nature in [the U.S. and Sweden]... A fascinating exploration of the importance of the outdoors to childhood development."
"Linda McGurk offers a perfect antidote to the hyper-vigilant, extra-electrified, standardized-tested, house-arrested, 21st-century childhood and the experts who push it. Practical and wise, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather proves just that, and much more.”
—Richard Louv, bestselling author of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS and VITAMIN N
“There’s nothing I love more than an author who gives parents a reason to feel optimistic, instead of telling us how we’re ruining our kids forever by (fill in the blank with something you used to do without thinking twice). Linda Akeson McGurk is that optimism-granter. Plus, she’s funny. What a great package!”
—Lenore Skenazy, author of FREE RANGE KIDS
"What an enjoyable romp through all the pleasures, benefits, and joy that free play and nature offer! Swedish-born McGurk guides the reader through all the delights that a varied outdoor life can afford. The book is packed with personal anecdotes and scientific studies, which provide the reader with nuanced insights into the potentials of open-air life in the most beautiful way. Everyone all over the world can gain something from the valuable wisdom found in this book. As a strong supporter of free play and its importance for children's well-being, I highly recommend this book."
—Iben Dissing Sandahl, author of PLAY THE DANISH WAY and THE DANISH WAY OF PARENTING
"Children need fresh air, ample time to play, and freedom to take risks—something other cultures sometimes seem to understand far better than we do. In There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Linda Akeson McGurk takes us inside the fascinating world of Scandinavian parenting with its refreshing and essential perspective on childhood. This is a heartfelt manifesto on the importance of the sort of unhurried, nature-rich childhood that every American child deserves."
—Christine Gross-Loh, author of THE PATH
"Smart, friendly and Swedish. Packed with sane ideas that will get your children outside, independent, and filled with the joy of living. This book will open your eyes—or maybe tempt you to move to Sweden. Now: Go outside and play!"
—Heather Shumaker, author of IT'S OK NOT TO SHARE and IT'S OK TO GO UP THE SLIDE
"I could not put this book down! Linda McGurk not only offers a fresh perspective about parenting and outdoor play from a Scandinavian viewpoint, but she is a fabulous storyteller and will hook you on the first page.”
—Angela Hanscom, author of BALANCED AND BAREFOOT
"If There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather doesn’t make you want to move to Scandinavia, it will at least make you pledge to bring more Scandinavian habits into your life. With abundant warmth, humor, and important research, Linda Akeson McGurk makes the case for getting your family out into nature, no matter the season, and shares invaluable tips for enjoying the benefits of outdoor play, even in the land of mall-walking, videogames, and relentless academic pressure."
—Susan Sachs Lipman, author of FED UP WITH FRENZY
"Linda McGurk's compelling book There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather compares the Swedish and U.S. historical and current cultural differences in beliefs and practices regarding young children's exposure to nature. Linda's upbringing in Sweden meant that she had an enormous amount of outdoor time as a child, much like those of us who grew up in the U.S. prior to 1980. Unfortunately, within the last 30-40 years, childhood in the U.S. no longer automatically includes extended outdoor free play. Like Linda, many in the early childhood education field are worried about the well-documented negative consequences from this lack of outdoor time. Besides the obvious physical benefits of spending time in nature, there are proven mental health benefits as well. Additionally, when children bond with nature at an early age, they develop empathetic stewardship qualities which compel them to seek to protect the environment. It is heartening to know that there are still countries like Sweden which actively advocate and culturally support children's right to extended outdoor time. Hopefully we can begin to incorporate some of Sweden's friluftsliv—a love of open air life—into our cultural identity here in the U.S."
—Erin Kenny, Co-founder and director of Cedarsong Nature School, author of FOREST KINDERGARTENS
About the Author
Linda McGurk is a Swedish-American freelance journalist and blogger who lives with her family in rural Indiana. A nature lover and mother of two, she believes that the best childhood memories are created outside, while jumping in puddles, digging in dirt, catching bugs, and climbing trees. McGurk’s writings about natural parenting and outdoor play have appeared in a wide range of newspapers, magazines, and online publications in North America as well as Europe, including BonBon Break, Outdoor Families Magazine, and Childhood 101. In 2013, she started the blog Rain or Shine Mamma to inspire outdoor play and adventure every day, regardless of the weather. She is the author of There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather.
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"There is no such thing as bad weather. Only inappropriate clothing." This was something I had heard before, but it wasn't until I saw it being lived through Linda's example that I was really able to grasp it's meaning and fully adapt that lifestyle myself. The thing I like most about this book is that it is relatable. Linda does not pretend to be the perfect parent, or romanticize the idea that playing outside is always this glorious, harmonious activity. In fact she often shares examples in her book like her daughters complaining about having to go outside, or meltdowns during cross country skiing, and her struggles to pull them away from the ever luring electronic screens. This is what I love about this book. Making your kids go outside is not always easy. There will be resistance. There will be obstacles. But in the end it is worth it. Linda equips her readers with the tools and advice necessary to adapt to an outdoor parenting lifestyle. I know I personally have been truly impacted by this philosophy I no longer feel trapped indoors during the cold months of winter because now have the mentality to embrace all kinds of weather. I highly recommend this book for all parents looking for ways they can find a deeper connection with their children and with nature.
One example (of many) was when she was ticketed for allowing her children to swim in an unauthorized are of a nature preserve (because of health hazards and the risk of e.coli infection due to manure from an upstream farm). Here's how the author summarizes her victimization: "Over the next few weeks, I went through something akin to a mourning process. At first, there was denial. How could this possibly happen to me? After all, I was known as the town's local environmentalist and resident health nut, who had helped start a farmer's market, organized litter pickups, promoted recycling, and done Eart Day presentations at the elementary school...My "crunchy"-parenting credentials were solid. Yet now I stood accused of the bizarre crime of harming nature by letting my children wade in an agricultural cesspool....Then came anger."
The author goes on for pages about this perceived wrong. So instead of being a source of open-minded encouragement and guidance for parents that maybe haven't been raised outside, but are looking to change that for their children - this is more of a vanity piece. A "look how great I am" book. All 255 pages. So disappointing. So snooty. A term rhyming with "smouche tag" comes to mind. Save your money - just go play outside with your sweet, precious and wild babies - do it as often as you can and that's about it.
I have been in early childhood education since 1975, but only since 2009, when I read Richard Louv’s book (Last Child in the Woods), have I been on a campaign to get kids into nature. I have worked for Head Start programs since 1977 and for the past 10 years or so have been a trainer for them. I’m trying to get programs to replace their plastic playgrounds with a hill, grass, rocks, trees, bushes – anything more natural than rubber or plastic, but state regulations often prevent much creativity in playgrounds, regardless of what research and one's common sense dictates.
I so appreciated all the work you went to researching articles for this book. Most of them I had read, but Ms. McGurk added significantly to my library, and the research continues to mount and show the value of getting outside and playing in some good gooey dirt/mud/sand/ etc.
May I also say that the writing was superb. I was not expecting to see such a broad vocabulary, eloquent and readable text, knowing that English is not her first language.
This book is an important contribution to the growing list of voices calling for sanity and sense in the ways we deal with Mother Nature. I give it the highest endorsement, as one who has spent more than 40 years working with and in behalf of young children.