Connections: Nature’s Reading List

Looking for ways for you and your family to stay connected to nature during this time of social distancing? While getting outside and exploring is certainly the best way to experience nature, sometimes that just isn’t possible.  So, grab a book and take in some nature that way. There are many wonderful titles that can help immerse you in all types of nature wherever you are.  On top of that, these books come in all genres for all age groups. Here are a few that you and your family may enjoy. 

Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscomb (2016, New Harbinger Publications, Inc.)

A personal favorite, Balanced and Barefoot is an environmental education gem.  As modern life has filled children’s lives with structured activities and, more significantly, computer screens, their experiences in nature have dwindled. This book eloquently discusses the need for kids to get outside and play in order to develop their sensory, motor, and executive functions. Lack of movement and exposure to nature has been shown to lead to a number of health and cognitive difficulties. So, how can you ensure that your child is fully engaging their body, mind, and all of their senses? Get outside, play, explore! Nature is the ultimate sensory experience. Studies show that psychological and physical health improves for children when they spend time outside on a regular basis. Author Angela Hanscom offers several strategies to help your child thrive, even if you live in an urban environment. This timely book will help you and your children discover the little things you can do anytime, anywhere to help your kids access the movement they need to be happy and healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

Garden Revolution by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher (2016, Timber Press)

Ready to get your hands dirty? Larry Weaner is an icon in the world of ecological landscape design, and this book makes his revolutionary method readily available to home gardeners. Garden Revolution shows how an ecological approach to planting can lead to beautiful, wildlife-enhancing gardens that defy much of conventional gardening’s counter-productive, time-consuming practices. Instead of picking the wrong plant and then constantly irrigating, fertilizing, and weeding, Weaner advocates choosing native plants that are adapted to the soil and climate of a specific site and letting them naturally develop over time. This beautifully photographed reference is for anyone looking for a better, smarter, and environmentally-friendly way to garden.

How Birds Behave by Sharon Sorenson (2020, Stackpole Books)

How Birds Behave is a thoroughly-documented, artistically-photographed, year-long daily account of what 150 common backyard bird species do and how their behaviors change over the course of a year. Guided by an experienced birder, How Birds Behave takes you on an excursion into nature through the lives of birds. Whether you are an expert birder or new to the experience, this book will enhance your knowledge of what to look for and how to attract and observe birds in your own backyard by watching and documenting how they behave. In the process, you will increase your appreciation for birds, and begin to understand these intriguing creatures better. You will see how their actions change season to season, month to month, and, sometimes, day to day. By peeking into their secret and fascinating lives, and unraveling the mysteries of their daily behavior, you will find your bird-viewing pleasure immensely enriched.

Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre (2015, Beach Lane Books)  

“Rain is coming. You can feel it in the air.”  Raindrops Roll is a fun and poetic look at a Maine spring staple: rain. Discover the wonder of water in this refreshingly fun and fascinating exploration of rain, raindrops, and the water cycle. Raindrops drop, plop, patter, and spatter as the story goes . . . and in the process, they make the whole world feel fresh, new, and clean. In this beautifully photographed picture book, author April Pulley Sayre sheds new light on the wonders of rain, from the beauty of a raindrop balanced precariously on a leaf to the amazing, never-ending water cycle that keeps our planet in perfect ecological balance. Your young children (and you) will love it!

At One: In a Place Called Maine, written by Lynn Plourde and illustrated by Leslie Mansmann (2007, Islandport Press)

At One is a wonderful testament to the beautiful state of Maine. This children’s classic is a poetic celebration of the state’s natural splendor; “where the coast melts into the sea.”  All of the scenes featured in At One were inspired by Maine author Lynn Plourde’s experiences. These fun and exciting adventures include a visit by twin fawns to her backyard, a trek up Mount Katahdin, cross-country skiing by the light of the moon, and an exciting encounter with a bear while camping.  Over mountains and in the moonlight, both the author and illustrator captivate all of your senses with imagery of moose, bears, gulls, and deer.  At One will immerse you and your children in the nature of Maine, and help you appreciate all that the state and its wilderness have to offer.

These books and many others are currently available for curbside pick-up in the Nature Store. Please give us a call at (207) 781-2330 x201 and we will gladly take care of you. Let us know in the comments below what you’re reading! 

Our educators, scientists, advocates, and naturalists are committed to keeping you connected to the natural world as we deal with the coronavirus situation together. Check in every weekday on our Connections page for family activities, parent/teacher tips, backyard birding, nature exploration at our sanctuaries, and more.