Literature Appetizer: The Geography of Childhood by Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble

In Literature Appetizer, Ben gives you just a taste of a book. Not meant to replace the full meal, this is meant to whet your appetite. Bon appetit!

I hated being outside growing up. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch Dragon Ball Z and play Super Smash Brothers Melee. But even my childhood self, who had great opposition to the outdoors, still holds the places I grew up near and dear to my heart.

I remember waking up every morning seeing the ridge line. I remember the trees in the back yard where I would run under when it was too hot. I remember walking out on Mammoth Lake when it was frozen with my dad and sister.

Mammoth Lake via Google Maps Streetview from Joe Cozz

Mammoth Lake via Google Maps Streetview from Joe Cozz

That is the main argument in the series of essays in The Geography of Childhood. In it the authors share their own, their children’s and others’ experiences in the outdoors at a young age.

Now I have to be honest; this book didn’t give me new insight into why we should teach students outside at every age. But then again, no one needed to convince me of that. That’s what both of my degrees are in!

This book is great though for the people you know who don’t know why outdoor environmental education is important. More than just ‘hippie dippy feel good’ curriculum, what does EE actually do?

The authors tell those reasons through story. They talk about their own adventures, or how their children see the world entirely different.

Above all else, what this book did is make me reflect on how the exploration I did at an early age, and how that helped shape me as a person.