Gifts for Wild and Avid Readers
Do you have any wild and avid readers to buy for this holiday season? Books open up new worlds, expose the reader to new ideas, and help you realize who it is that you want to become. This is especially true for young people. Many of the childhood memories that I treasure most involve books that I read over and over to myself in a secret hideout, or books read aloud to me by my mother. At age five I would wait by the mailbox for my next issue of Ranger Rick, and by the time I was eight I was enthralled by a biography of Harriet Tubman and the way she risked her life to lead slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. I adored Reepicheep’s bravery in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and after reading A Wrinkle in Time I not only wanted to study science, I desperately wanted Charles Wallace for a baby brother.
At Wild Intelligence we like to introduce people to new books as a way of connecting with each other through shared stories. We also use books as tools. In programs books are important references when questions arise while we are out exploring. They also help illustrate alternative ways of looking at people, situations, and the world in general. Below are some titles that we think you might be interested in sharing with your loved ones this year. Our friends at Avid Book Shop (www.avidbookshop.com) are stocking many of these titles for your convenience.
Summer Birds: The butterflies of Maria Merian
by Margarita Engle
Summer Birds is a beautiful and inspiring picture book about a young girl who studied butterflies during the Middle Ages and disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece. She kept meticulous journals full of notes, and illustrated her observations in great detail. All of her findings were documented in secret in order to avoid being accused of witchcraft. She is a great example of what is possible when you are dedicated, curious, and determined.
This is a large, impressive book full of information regarding the animals, plants, and cultures found in every country around the globe. Last Christmas I gave this book to a seven year old friend of mine that liked looking up map games on an ipad. Shortly after the first of the year I got a call from his Dad. Apparently Logan insisted on taking the book with him
to school every day for weeks. By March I received a text saying that Logan’s teacher had asked him and his classmates to stand on ‘Wyoming’ on the large painted outline of the United States that is outside on their playground. His teacher turned around and saw Logan standing by himself, directly on the state of Wyoming, while the rest of the class stood on California. By May Logan had gotten in a fight because someone had tried to take Maps away from him. I do not encourage fighting, but it is touching to me that his Dad insists that the book is his favorite possession.
by Janell Cannon
Verdi is a baby python that is not sure he wants to grow up and be like the adults he knows. He knows how to have fun and wants to always be himself. He therefore sets out to explore the world on his own and comes to some unexpected realizations including, there are a lot of wonderful things to see when you stop, sit, and watch quietly. I love the illustrations.
Jane, the Fox, & Me
by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault
This is an artful, literary, graphic novel that is wonderful for pre-teens. Helene is a young girl seeking a place in the world. Bullied at school, she does not seek help from her loving, hardworking single mother struggling to raise her two younger brothers and herself. She does not want to burden her mom with her unhappiness. She copes by retreating into Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte and identifying with Jane, the main character. Then she and her classmates are sent to camp and something awakens in her after gazing into the eyes of a fox. She begins to see the world differently, and new friends soon follow.
by Erik Jon Slangerup
This book is a fun read. It is about a little boy named Fister Farnello. Fister LOVES dirt, but does not like to take baths – at first. He learns that frolicking in the woods is a lot of fun, but that not taking baths has consequences.
Whose Tracks Are These: A clue book of familiar forest animals.
by Jim Nail
This is a fun book for young kids and adults to read together. It presents a series of clues that you can use to make a game out of guessing what they represent before turning the page to find the answer. This booklet is a nice introduction to thinking about forest critters and how they move through their respective habitats.
by Jon J Muth
Muth has several books that feature Stillwater, a friendly, gentle panda. In Zen Shorts, Addy, Michael, and Karl learn a lot from Stillwater about friendship and how to think about the world as we walk through life and its many challenges.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
by Jacqueline Kelly
This novel for young adults (and older adults) is a charming story about a young girl growing up in the South during the late 1800’s. She is a tomboy that finds friendship and validation when she gets to know her grandfather, one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society. She finds that she may hate cooking and be terrible at handwork, but she has a keen eye for observation. She must navigate the expectations of her family and society while making time to simply be herself while exploring the mysteries of the natural world.
We hope you get a chance to visit Avid Book Shop and peruse these titles. It is our hope that they will bring your families as much joy as they have brought ours.