My Christmas escape plan will help you to cultivate wonder in the natural world. If your Christmas includes the luxury of lying back in the hammock in a shady part of your garden with a book, here are some ideas. Even if the reading will only take place for a few stolen moments amidst the chaos of food, friends and family, you will find this selection hard to resist. I’ve included two of my own books – both designed to get children out into the natural world.
The Power Of A Plant, by Stephen Ritz (Rodale Books, 2017)
This is an inspiring story of how introducing gardening and plants into the teaching curriculum in the Bronx changed the life of his students by growing, cooking, eating and sharing the bounty of their indoor edible classroom. The author Stephen Ritz says his favourite crop is the organically grown citizens. For anyone worried about rising obesity rates, healthy affordable food and the ability of plants to provide job opportunities, this is a book not to be missed.
Call of the Reed Warbler, by Charles Massy (University of Queensland Press, 2017)
In Call of the Reed Warbler, farmer Charles Massy draws on interwoven stories of his own and other farmer’s lives in Australia to show how the move from industrial to regenerative farming is a new human-land relationship, quite capable of changing the way people live on Earth. A large book of 508 pages, it gives answers to all those tricky questions surrounding the problems of industrial agriculture. The inspiring tales, and personal on-farm experience along with Massy’s great breadth of literature and his deeply moving stories of the animals and birds and indigenous people makes this more like reading a novel.
Exploring Nature’s Pattern Magic by Dee Pignéguy (Papawai Press, 2015)
Nature displays an endless variety of eye-catching patterns in a variety of form colour and texture. Pattern’s show us how natures organisms survive, how they make things and how life is organised and connected on our planet Earth. Patterns help us understand how energy flows through nature’s networks and complex systems. The book is a stunning montage of bright natural colours with photos that will help cultivate wonder in our world and pass on “nature nous” to a new wave of mini scientists.
Gardening For Planet Earth by Dee Pignéguy (Papawai Press, 2009)
To shape a new world, focus on your backyard and discover how organic gardeners depend on nature’s cycles for everything from making soil, controlling pests and fixing nitrogen, to growing nutrient dense food.