BIRDS vs. BLADES by scientist and multi-book author Rebecca Hirsch

rebeccaA conversation with a seabird biologist launched me into a book on marine birds and wind farms. During an interview with Iain Stenhouse from the Biodiversity Research Institute, I learned about a group of scientists doing an ambitious study of Atlantic seabirds. The group was trying to learn where birds lived and traveled in the wide blue waters off the U.S. Atlantic coast. Finding answers was urgent. These same waters were being eyed for offshore wind farms. Keeping the ocean safe for birds means constructing wind farms away from the places birds use. The more I learned, the more I knew I wanted to tell this story.

Rebecca (right) wears a survival suit as she and the team get ready for a bird-capture mission.

Rebecca (right) wears a survival suit as she and the team get ready for a bird-capture mission.

The scientists were studying the birds and their habitat in different ways. I chose to focus on their efforts to track birds using satellite tags. The scientists were generous with their time, granting me repeated interviews, inviting me aboard night-time capture missions, and letting me observe surgery while they implanted tags. Although several birds were under study, the star of the book became a daredevil known as the northern gannet. I’m very proud of the book that resulted.

I think it is important to inspire kids with solutions. We hear a lot of bad news about big environmental problems. Sometimes, solving these problems can feel like a lost cause. But that simply isn’t true. And that is why I love writing about scientists and conservationists who are hard at work solving big problems. I love to inspire readers and show them that with hard work, dedication, and cutting-edge science, we can find solutions.


Rebecca E. Hirsch is a scientist and the award-winning author of over four dozen nonfiction books for young readers. Birds vs. Blades? Offshore Wind Power and the Race to Protect Seabirds is a Junior Library Guild Selection. For more details, visit

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THE CREATION OF AUTHORS FOR EARTH DAY by Brooke Bessesen, A4ED founder and director

tree-huggerAs the author of several children’s books about wildlife, I strive to educate and inspire young (and not-so-young) readers to protect natural habitats, and the great and small creatures who call those habitats home. That’s why I created Authors for Earth Day—A4ED .

It took a lot of work. But with the generosity of our members and participants, A4ED is now an international coalition of over 120 award-winning children’s authors and illustrators. Through our special school visits, students are empowered to research organizations and direct their author’s speaking fee to fund conservation. Our amazing team has already mentored young readers in the United States, Australia, Canada and Israel. And contributed nearly $52,000 to environmental causes!

Like all grassroots efforts, Authors for Earth Day began simply:

In spring 2008, I decided to donate my April 22nd (Earth Day) school visit fee to a conservation organization. I got to thinking, what if the students voted to determine the donation recipient? I was excited to demonstrate the power of voice in such a straight-forward manner—excited for each child to see how they could impact the environment as a voter. And maybe as a writer too. [wink]

I coordinated with my school contact, Reading Specialist Patt Walker. After sending a list of five conservation organizations, classrooms researched my “nominees.” They discussed the democratic process and the importance of Nature. Then, during my author-illustrator visit, we held a paperless vote.

The event was so much fun! The teachers and kids really got into it—they made tons of posters and even wore Earth Day pins and t-shirts. Based on student ballots, the winning organization was The Humane Society of the United States. I wrote a check in honor of Encanto School in Phoenix, Arizona, and was touched when Patt wrote, “Thanks, Brooke, for making this possible with your generous gift.”

logoInspired and motivated, I became determined to see the concept grow to a larger scale. And began working toward that goal.

My 2009 Earth Day school visit was hosted by Kyrene de los Cerritos Elementary, where the kids and I celebrated making the world a wee bit better. By then, I had talked with some author friends and launched the A4ED website. But there remained an abundance of work ahead to make my dream a reality.

I spent the remainder of the year emailing authors, expanding our website and building support materials. I spoke with dozens of renowned authors and illustrators and everyone showed definite interested, but with the economy crumbling, it was a challenging time for charity. I became convinced that the whole idea was kaput, finished, a complete waste of time and energy.

My lack of faith proved short-sighted.

In January 2010, authors started confirming events. First Bruce Hale, then Debbie Dadey. Nancy Castaldo and Barbara Gowan. Our small but mighty inaugural team was on the way to success! That spring, I spent the day at Rhodes Junior High in Arizona, while my teammates held similar school visits from California to New York. Together we contributed over $5500 to conservation.


Now our school visit program now runs year-round. Thanks to my friend and ally Dan Gutman, our coalition has supported more than 45 popular kidlit participants. Through 94 events in 4 countries (22 U.S. states), we’ve contributed nearly $52,000 to over 60 organizations worldwide. Dedicated members, Yolanda Ridge and Nancy Castaldo, post an Eco-Book of the Month list on Facebook. And this blog offers yet another avenue for readers to connect with their favorite authors in a meaningful way.

We’ve come a long way.

So, was it worth all the work to create Authors for Earth Day? When I get letters from students like Zach, who wrote, “You showed us that every day should be Earth Day. And you showed us all ways to protect the planet,” it’s worth every minute.

Brooke Bessesen is a research naturalist and the award-winning author of several books. She is also the founder and director of Authors for Earth Day. Take a trip around her world of words and wildlife at

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NEFERTITI, THE SPIDERNAUT: How a Jumping Spider Learned to Hunt in Space by award-winning author Darcy Pattison

Darcy visits Stefanie Countryman (right) at BioServe Space Technologies

Darcy visits Stefanie Countryman (right) at BioServe Space Technologies

True stories about animals fascinate me. But it has to be a really great story. I’m not teary-eyed about a sweet kitten who jumps after a ball. And I’m not a fan of cat videos. But give me a true story of a wild animal who has come into contact with humans and amazed us—that gets me excited.

So when I heard about a spider that went to space, I had to investigate. The story began with a YouTube video competition. In October, 2011, YouTube and its partners asked 14-18 year old students from around the world to suggest a science experiment to send to the International Space Station (ISS). One of the two projects chosen was proposed by 18-year-old Amr Mohamed of Alexandria, Egypt. Amr wondered what would happen when a spider jumped in a microgravity environment.

Most spiders are passive hunters. They simple spin a web and wait for their food to come to them. Jumping spiders, however, actively hunt. When they spot food, they lay down a drag line silk, and then jump. What would happen when they had to jump in space? Without gravity, they’d float. Would they be able to hunt and eat?

To research the story I traveled, but not to the International Space Station. Instead, I went to Boulder, Colorado to meet Stefanie Countryman who works for BioServe Space Technologies, a center at the University of Colorado that specializes 
in creating space flight habitats that enable living organisms to exist as naturally as possible in an unnatural environment. Stefanie is in charge of all the live animal projects that are sent to the ISS. Bioserve had already sent up 14 spiders to space to study how they spun webs in microgravity.

microhabitatStefanie showed me the habitat they had used before and explained the problems. Keeping a spider alive in space is a huge problem. First, it needs food and water. The habitat had a chamber for water and several other chambers available. The obvious choice would be to fill the chambers with fruit flies and let them out for the spider to hunt. But time was a big factor. The spider would be on the space station for 100 days, and fruit flies only live about 40 days. The engineers and scientists decided to try to raise several generations of fruit flies. In chamber one, they put fruit fly eggs timed to hatch just as the spider reached the ISS. In chamber two, they put fruit fly food, and they hoped it would allow the fruit flies to mate, lay eggs and produce a second generation. In chamber three, which would be opened even later, they repeated the food and hoped for a third generation. Did it work?

There’s so much to tell you about this story! What kind of spider was sent? What did they name her and why? Did she survive in space?

9781629440613-Perfect.inddAnswering those questions is why I write biographies of individual animals. When a bird survives for over 65 years in the wild, like Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, I’m amazed. When Abayomi, an orphaned puma cub, survives on his own, I’m astounded. When a Nefertiti, a jumping spider faces the dark and cold of space, I find my own courage.  I write about animals—a bird, a mammal and an arachnid—but I write to stir the human heart with hope that we, too, can survive and make a difference.

Darcy Pattison is the author of over 20 children’s books. Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub was named a 2015 National Science Teacher’s Association Outstanding Science Trade Book. Wisdom, the Midway Albatross: Surviving the Japanese Tsunami and other Disasters for Over 60 Years was the first book in the animal biography series and it received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. For more, see

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CLIMATE ACTION by Canadian middle-grade author (and A4ED Eco-Book co-director) Yolanda Ridge

yo-and-boysEarlier this summer, our federal politicians held a Climate Action Town Hall Meeting in my small, rural community of Rossland, British Columbia. Doing my part to fill the hall and send a strong message to the Canadian capital, I attended the meeting with my husband, Tim, and 10-year-old twin sons, Oliver & Spencer.

Both my boys were engaged in the experience and suitably horrified by the climate change statistics presented, specifically the fact that global temperatures have risen 1.6°C/35°F in Canada since 1880 (compared to an average of 0.85°C across the globe). None of this came as a surprise to them, however. Our province was devastated by forest fires last summer and I am unapologetically trying to raise activists that are aware of their impact on the environment.

What did come as a surprise was the fact that so few children and young adults attended the meeting. And when it came time for the audience to present ideas on how to meet our commitment to the Paris agreement, not one person under the age of forty spoke up.

It made me wonder whether the next generation is being raised in a world where climate change is a given. Are we “activists” guilty of talking about the potential consequences of global warming ad nauseam without actually taking much action?

When asked for out-of-the-box solutions, all my sons could come up with were the conventional ideas—electric cars, plant based diets, renewable energy—that have been on the table for years but still not fully executed. To keep the global temperature rise under 2°C and reverse the affects of climate change we are going to have to do more.

This is one of the many reasons why I feel so passionate about Authors for Earth Day. Not only does it give young people a new way of thinking about their environment and the challenge of protecting our planet, it introduces them to groups that are taking action and provides them with the opportunity to make choices and participate.

Addressing climate change is all about the next generation. But it’s up to this generation to lead by example and raise activists who are actually willing to take action. My thanks to all the authors, host schools and libraries that are doing their part to make that happen.

Yolanda Ridge is the acclaimed author of three middle grade novels. She is also the Eco-Book of the Month co-director for Authors for Earth Day. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her hiking, biking or skiing in the mountains with her family. Learn about her books at

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Award-winning Australian author Christopher Cheng once had a job at a zoo—it actually led to his luminous writing career

with python b-wBack in a previous work life I was a teacher and one of my posts was at Taronga Zoo in Sydney as Education Officer with the specific task of implementing and operating Australia’s first travelling zoo—the Zoomobile. It was a magnificent time. I met amazing people who knew way too much about their specific animal charges (human as well as the non-human sort) but were always willing to share their knowledge with me.

While there it was suggested that I write a book about animals for Scholastic and one book became two books and two books became more books. There were squillions of other animal books around but mine I knew were accurate. Why? Because I had the resources to make sure they were correct. Zoo staff checked my every word. They knew the facts, but I knew the way to write those facts … and so it became a fantastic time of writing.

One book I am especially proud of that was created at this time evolved after a lesson with a class of 16-year-old students, who decided that one child couldn’t make a difference to the world. We discussed this exhaustively and eventually agreed that maybe they could. How? Well that became the genesis for my award winning picture book One child.

christopher-cheng with pythonI have continued to burn a spark for non-fiction so, when the opportunity came to write about pythons I jumped at it—all fingers twitching. I love pythons … they are close to being one of my favourite animals. Their beautiful silky and luminescent body covering, their ease of movement (you just try slithering around a tree branch or dangle from the forest limbs and say it’s easy!), their wonderfully developed senses, and the glorious way they massage as they wrap their bodies around their soon to be prey—or to just to hold on! People have the totally wrong idea about pythons! Just watch a child reach out to touch the python as the supervising adult pulls them away. Sure pythons bite—but so do cats and dogs and people if you do the wrong thing. Sure pythons move in a way that is not perambulatory but so do fish. Sure pythons are very, very quiet. But these are all great characteristics. So crafting the book Python was a joy. As was discovering Mark Jackson’ illustrations, exquisite—and accurate!

Do I set out trying to preach? Never. Am I trying to tell a great story—I sure hope so! After all it’s all about the story drawing the reader in to find out more, and more, and more! Then hopefully my readers will love the natural environment as much as I do!

Christopher Cheng is the author of more than 40 children’s books, from picture books to non-fiction to Chinese-themed historical fiction. He wrote the libretto for a children’s musical, is co-chair of the Advisory Board for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a recipient of the Lady Cutler Award for Children’s Literature. Python was recently released in paperback from Candlewick Press. Learn more at

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WEREWOLVES AND WATER by best-selling children’s author Debbie Dadey

debbie-blogI have helped write books about werewolves, vampires, and even zombies. For each of these I’ve read legends and myths to learn what people from long ago believed about these creatures. Did you know that someone once thought if you drank muddy water from a wolf’s paw print when there is a full moon you will turn into a werewolf?

For my newest series, Mermaid Tales, I have learned some mermaid myths.  For instance, some mermaids could see the future and some lured sailors into dangerous waters. But I’ve also studied about all kinds of interesting sea creatures. Do you know which dolphin is the largest? The largest mammal? The largest fish? I do and if you read to the end of this I’ll share my answers with you.

And where do mermaids and dolphins live? In the ocean, of course. Did you know that even though most of our earth is covered by the ocean there are 750 million people who suffer from lack of water? Humans can’t drink the salty water from the ocean and only one percent of all the water on our planet is fit for us to drink. So, of course, it is very important to take care of the water we have. I was surprised by two ways we can help keep our water clean—limit or don’t use antibacterial soaps and never flush medicine down the toilet. To help others learn about protecting our water, you can celebrate World Water Day each March, Earth Day in April and World Oceans Day in June.

crook and crownDid you guess which is the largest dolphin? It’s a killer whale, or orca. The largest mammal? A blue whale. How about the largest fish? It’s a whale shark. A recent Mermaid Tale book, “The Crook and The Crown,” has sixteen killer whales and a mystery.

Debbie Dadey has authored or co-authored nearly 200 books with international sales reaching over 42 million copies! Among her single titles, she has three very popular series: Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, Keyholders and Mermaid Tales. Debbie was one of the very first authors to participate in Authors for Earth Day. Explore her world at



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A4ED Kid-Driven Donations Surpass $50,000

happy-facesSmiles abound! Cheers to Team ’16! From the United States to Israel, thousands of eager students were inspired by this year’s amazing line-up of A4ED authors: Dan GutmanLinda Crotta Brennan, Jody Feldman, Miri Leshem-Pelly, Peter Lourie, Patricia Newman, Miranda Paul, Jeanie Franz Ransom, Barb RosenstockAmy Ludwig VanDerwater, Elissa Brent Weissman, Brooke Bessesen and Debbie Dadey (whose homecoming event was covered in USA Today’s The Gleaner).

Our goal for 2016 was to push total A4ED contributions past the $50k mark and WE SUCCEEDED! It is quite extraordinary to consider that, in the bit-by-bit style common of grassroots, we have now donated over $50,000 to help sustain habitats, wildlife and human communities around the world!

Importantly, our participants give more than money—we also expand children’s creativity and knowledge. A4ED school visits offer students the opportunity to research various conservation organizations and apply critical thinking to determine the value and efficacy of each. postersMany librarians enhance that learning experience by having the kids cross-educate via PSAs, posters and presentations and students often emerge better informed about environmental issues and initiatives than many well-read adults! These bright students collectively drive our donations. And in 2016, as always, they voted to fund a wide range of causes.

Some of the winning organizations employ global strategies, while others focus on local concerns, yet, whether protecting our planet, educating the public, funding research or caring for animals in need, all of them strive for a better world. Congratulations to this year’s beneficiaries: Rhode Island Audubon Society, Wilderness Haven, Ocean Conservancy, Messinger Woods, Tifft Nature Preserve, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Blue Water Baltimore, Greenpeace, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee, World Wildlife Fund, Pandas International and Defenders of Wildlife.

Most of those organizations gave back to their young supporters with thank you letters and materials for school libraries. What a joy to see generosity come full circle!

As we wrap up another successful year, we give heartfelt THANKS to all who support us! We are truly grateful for the sponsorship of school librarians, principals, teachers, parent associations, grant committees and literacy advocates—those who make it possible for our authors to connect with young readers through books and school visits.

If you would like one of our participants to visit a school in your community, please visit our A4ED website to learn more about our outreach. We also welcome you to the A4ED Facebook page for eco-minded books, ideas and events.

And if you explore the pages of this A4ED Blog, you will discover a plethora of thought-provoking essays by illustrious KidLit writers…

Happy summer reading!

Brooke Bessesen, A4ED Director

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INNOVATIVE RECYCLING: HOW STUDENTS BUILT A SCHOOL OUT OF TRASH by award-winning non-fiction author, Suzanne Slade

suzanne-blog 2New books ideas seem to find me when I least expect them. And that’s exactly what happened when I spied a colorful, plastic wall sparkling in the sunlight at the annual Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. in 2011. As I walked toward the towering plastic structure, I noticed children stuffing plastic bags into old soda bottles with sticks. The trash-filled bottles were stacked inside a wood frame to create a wall. When I discovered this display demonstrated how children in Guatemala built their own school out of trash, I knew without a doubt I had to share this incredible recycling story with young readers!

So I introduced myself to the woman running the exhibit, Laura Kutner. As it turns out, Laura was a teacher at the school made out of trash (the Escuela Oficial Urbana Mixta de Granados) and had been an important part of the entire construction process, from idea to completion. I asked Laura if she would consider co-authoring a book about the school’s innovative project with me, and thankfully she agreed.

The beauty of this recycling project is that the students creatively used one problem (their growing piles of trash) to solve another problem (their overcrowded classrooms.) This project began in 2007, when the tiny Guatemalan town of Granados (population 847) was becoming overrun with trash created by products arriving from other countries. The village didn’t have any garbage dumps or recycling centers, so their trash piles were continually growing. Also, their elementary school was becoming more and more crowded. Two grades had to squeezed into one classroom, and two students shared each desk.

The situation looked hopeless until someone suggested this crazy idea — what if they built new schoolrooms out of their trash? No one knew if the idea would work, but everyone was willing to give it a try. Over two hundred children, along with teachers, parents, and grandparents, helped with the project.


First, the students collected over six thousand bottles. They carefully washed the bottles and set them in the sun to dry. Then the children filled each bottle with about two hundred and fifty old grocery and chip bags. Two hundred and fifty! They called the stuffed bottles eco-ladrillos, or eco-bricks. The bottle stuffing process took six months and most children ended up with blisters on their hands. Next, the eco-ladrillos were stacked between chicken wire fastened to a metal frame to create the walls.

After fifteen months of hard work, their ugly trash had turned into a beautiful school! When the school was finished, the village threw a huge fiesta to celebrate. Their new school started with one crazy idea, but it became a reality due to hard work and teamwork.

TH-sodaBottleCover-final.inddI’m excited that Laura and I were able to share this school’s inspiring story through our book, The Soda Bottle School: The True Story of Recycling, Teamwork, and One Crazy Idea, which received the 2015 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. It’s been very rewarding to hear how the Guatemala school project has inspired other students and classrooms to find new, creative ways to recycle.

[FYI: I’m also pleased to say my author proceeds from the book are being donated to fund new bottle schools through a nonprofit organization called Hug-It-Forward. Laura is donating her portion to Trash for Peace, a nonprofit organization which promotes environmental education and ideas for upcycled/recycled projects, such as awesome recycle bins made out of plastic bottles. Recycle Bin instructions can be found on the Trash for Peace website, and a free Teacher’s Guide for the book is available on my website.]

Suzanne Slade is the award-winning author of more than 100 nonfiction books for children. Honors include an NSTA 2016 Outstanding Science Trade Book for The Inventor’s Secret and California Reading Association Eureka! Silver Award for Multiply On The Fly.” The House That George Built was a Junior Library Guild Selection and Friends for Freedom  a CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Find all of Suzanne’s books at


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Green Earth Book Award winner Patricia Newman shares how she inspires kids to rethink their plastic consumption

patti-newman-blogAn article in my local newspaper made the first ripples in my imagination for a book on ocean plastic. In 2009, the SEAPLEX team from Scripps Institution of Oceanography mounted the first expedition 1,000 miles into the North Pacific Central Gyre where currents trapped a mass of plastic. The team left San Diego to search for garbage the same day the article was published.

The nonfiction author in me wanted to know more. I followed the expedition via a blog that the graduate student scientists updated daily. The more I read, the more convinced I became that the expedition had all the makings of a great read. Mystery, adventure, and tragedy.

The scientists on the expedition studied various aspects of the ocean. I chose three. Miriam Goldstein examined how plastic affected the rafting community—the animals that hitch rides aboard floating debris. Darcy Taniguchi investigated phytoplankton—microscopic plants that provide the oxygen for nearly two out of every three breaths we take. Chelsea Rochman untangled the complex chemicals in plastic and whether they influenced marine life.

I knew that the strength of a prospective book lay in their hands, but would they allow me to interview them for several hours? At the time, I had no book contract and no guarantee that their story would be told. I had to convince them to share their successes and failures, and to communicate the passion that made them leave home for 21 days to scoop garbage from the sea.

Newman coverDuring the research and writing process a new idea took hold: What if Plastic, Ahoy! helped readers change their habits? And what if my readers then changed the habits of others?

Now that Plastic, Ahoy! is a Green Earth Book Award winner and was a finalist for the AAAS/Subaru Science Books and Films prize, the idea to change readers’ habits seems obvious, but at the beginning of a new book nothing is obvious.

I continue to hear from readers who want to make a difference. One 5th grade class made reusable grocery bags from old t-shirts, and abandoned plastic cutlery in the cafeteria in favor of regular silverware that they wash every day. A first grade class calculated the amount of trash they threw away in their lunch room, and as a result changed from Styrofoam trays to reusable ones. An eighth grade English and Social Studies class wrote position papers on ocean plastic, and held mock debates about microbeads during their state capitol field trip. Activities like these increase kids’ depth of knowledge, moving them beyond simple recall and skills/concepts to strategic and extended thinking.

Plastic is the one ocean problem over which kids have power. They can encourage restaurants to ditch their auto-straw practices. They can remind parents to bring reusable bags to the grocery store. And they can download the microbeads app to be sure their soaps and toothpastes are plastic-free. Kids can be change agents, and Plastic, Ahoy! proves it.

Patricia Newman is the author of many books for young readers, including Jingle the Brass, a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Smithsonian-recommended book; and Nugget on the Flight Deck, a California Reading Association Eureka! Silver Honor Book for Nonfiction. Visit for details.

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A HUG FROM MOTHER EARTH by Barb Rosenstock, author of several award-winning biographies for children

barb-outsdoorsEight years ago now, I found my way toward writing for children while researching the book, The Camping Trip that Changed America. Despite the book’s subject matter, I am no outdoorswoman. Soft beds, indoor plumbing and restaurants seem like essentials to me. My suburban-self struggles to reduce my carbon footprint or some days, just stop using disposable cups. But the connection with nature expressed in my first book runs far back to about first grade.

little-barbAt that time, whenever there were struggles to solve or thoughts to think, I tramped across a few acres of farmland to a hidden creek. After pushing through a wild raspberry thicket, I’d hear the sound of “my” waterfall. Seated on a mossy log, watching water rush past a dam of broken branches, I daydreamed and worked out my childhood problems. Observing tadpoles, leeches and catfish, I learned that all living things have their purpose and their struggles, not just first graders. Like a hug from Mother Earth, an hour or two by the creek made the world fall back into place.

As a biographer, I know that many of history’s most important thinkers and dreamers were healed and influenced by time outdoors—Theodore Roosevelt on horseback in the Dakotas, John Muir hiking over glaciers, Ben Franklin swimming the Charles River, Thomas Jefferson surveying Virginia’s hills, Vincent van Gogh tromping through meadows. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so. Of course, the past’s lack of technology required a life so close to nature that it’s difficult for us to imagine; but many of the world’s most famous scientists, artists and writers spent a significant amount of time outside doing nothing more than thinking and wandering.

Just as the future of the natural world depends on our children’s help, our children need nature. The idea that most of today’s children don’t spend enough time outdoors worries me about the future. Can we expect them to care about clean water, soil and air if they haven’t seen, touched or smelled it? Can wandering be taught in school? Probably not, but I hope we soon grow brave enough to allow children to find their own natural ways through the gift of unstructured time—time to wander down a trail, tramp around a field, discover a waterfall and be pulled into the enveloping hug of Mother Earth.

camping-tripBarb Rosenstock has written several award-winning children’s books, including The Camping Trip That Changed America, which illuminates the history of the American National Park system. In 2015, her picture book The Noisy Paintbox about abstract artist Vasya Kandinsky earned a Caldecott Honor. Barb is also a multi-year participant in Authors for Earth Day doing special school visits. Learn more about Barb and her wonderful books at


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