Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One of my essays in new "Companions in Wonder" anthology from MIT Press

I’m happy to report that one of my personal essays, “We Are Distracted,” is included in a new anthology from MIT Press. “Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together” features work by some of my favorite writers: Rick Bass, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Barry Lopez, Robert Michael Pyle, Joseph Bruchac and Scott Russell Sanders. I’m looking forward to reading their work. Editors are Julie Dunlap and Stephen R. Kellert. I’ve been an editor of an anthology and it’s no easy task to assemble the authors, get the work, secure the rights, edit it all and get it to the publisher on time. Thanks, Julie and Stephen. The book is in the spring 2012 catalog. Here’s an excerpt:
Rachel Carson’s classic 1956 essay “Help Your Child to Wonder” urged adults to help children experience the “sense of wonder” that comes only from a relationship with nature. It’s clear we haven’t succeeded in following her advice: eight-year-olds surveyed in the United Kingdom could identify more Pokémon characters than common wildlife species; and Richard Louv’s recent best-selling book Last Child in the Woods identifies a “nature deficit disorder” in children around the world. But today a growing number of environmentally minded parents, teachers, and other adults are seeking to restore nature to its rightful place in children’s lives. This anthology gathers personal essays recounting adventures great and small with children in the natural world. 
The authors--writing as parents, teachers, mentors, and former children--describe experiences that range from bird watching to an encounter with an apple butter-loving grizzly bear. Rick Bass captures fireflies with his children and reflects on fatherhood; Michael Branch observes wryly that both gardening and parenting are “disciplines of sustainability;” Lauret Savoy wonders how African American children can connect to the land after generations of estrangement; and Sandra Steingraber has “the big talk” with her children, not about sex but about global warming. 
By turns lyrical, comic, and earnest, these writings guide us to closer connections with nature and with the children in our lives, for the good of the planet and our own spiritual and physical well-being.
Booklist Online says this: 
Editors Dunlap and Kellert have assembled a stellar collection of essays by exceptional nature writers about adults and children enjoying the outdoors together…[T]his is a striking celebration of nature’s role in sustaining family bonds.
To order “Companions in Wonder,” go here. It’s a $21.95 trade paperback. ISBN-10: 0-262-51690-X; ISBN-13: 978-0-262-51690-7


julie dunlap said...

Thank you very much for contributing, Mike. Your essay is one of the most powerful in the volume, addressing the value of challenging outdoor experiences for children and adults as well as nature's potential for healing for all of us. Thanks again!

RobertP said...


Glad to see this, your writing on ADHD really opened my eyes and gave me a better appreciation. Many thanks for that.