Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some of My Favorite Books

I am packing up for my trip to Vancouver to give my Humane Parenting 101 workshop sponsored by the Marpole Oakridge Family Place. I decided to bring some of my favorite humane parenting books for participants to leaf through during breaks. The ones I decided to bring include:

Trails, Tails & Tidepools in Pails by Nursery Nature Walks - This is an incredible book of nature-based activities for young kids, and what I most love about it is how respectful all the activities are. If you pick up a rock, put it back; you can look at bugs, but don't touch them. This is, hands down, my favorite activity book.

The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, A Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods by Julia Butterfly Hill - I like this one because it's a compelling story and she is such an inspirational person, but also because I think we all need to be reminded sometimes of the Power of One.

Free the Children: A Young Man Fights Against Child Labor and Proves that Children Can Change the World by Craig Kielburger - Another story about the Power of One, and in this case of a young person. Plus, he's Canadian, so I thought it particularly apropos. (In fact, many young activists are Canadian, come to think of it - they must be doing something right north of the border!)

Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood by Susan Linn - An important examination of the effect our consumer culture has on children, I think this is a must read for parents who want to educate themselves about the ways in which corporations are looking to subvert us and reach our children.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Activities to Do in the Garden by Sharon Lovejoy - Okay, I'm on a huge gardening kick these days, but this is another really great resource for respectful outdoor activities that can be done with children.

Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel - This book is, quite possibly, the most powerful thing I've ever read. A picture is worth, in this case, a million words.

Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect by David W. Orr - I love this book because it takes some really complicated subject matter and makes it understandable, while clearly synthesizing a wide range of ideas into one coherent work.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. - I think NVC is one of the key ways that we can become better people, better parents, and better activists. Anyone who wants to change the world needs to know how to communicate clearly, compassionately, and without judgement, and this book is a great start.

Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things by John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning - There is a lot packed into this tiny book. A quick read, this book helps get you thinking about the "backstory" of everything in your life from an environmental, cultural, human rights, and animal welfare perspective.

Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education by David Sobel - This is one of the most important books written about environmental education, in my humble opinion. Another really quick read, it is chock full of ideas about how we can effectively inspire reverence for nature in our children.

Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees - I talk a lot about the concept of EF in my presentations, and I think it is a really useful and powerful metaphor that helps us to consider how we impact the planet and all her inhabitants. I would be remiss if I didn't include this one on my list.

Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times by Zoe Weil - Well, it's simply THE book about Humane Parenting, and should be a part of every parent's personal collection to be referred to frequently and loaned out often.

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