Fun Winter Reading

Winter Reading

Reading by a cozy woodstove.

Although electronics minded people often claim that paper books are either dead or dying, we disagree.

Few things are as pleasant as spending winter hours curled in a comfortable chair by the wood stove reading a real book.

Even better is sharing a book with a child or grandchild. A new sharing book is Walking With Bigfoot, a Beginners Guide to the Common Trees of North America by Sharen and Mark Mellicker. It can be ordered online.

Many years ago nature study was just that. Naturalists urged people to learn outdoor specifics, such as how to identify trees, fish, rocks, birds, or some other object. Later came a movement where specific knowledge was de-emphasized and considered less important than just going outside and absorbing nature. In recent years there’s been a blend of the two. Often having some specific knowledge of aspects of nature helps create understanding of our environment.

Walking With Bigfoot is a children’s book well suited to winter reading. It helps kids learn specific tree species and various details about each one while enjoying the travels of Bigfoot through forests. It’s a fact filled story book that will pique the interest of folks of all ages in trees.

Another favorite is Emily M. Stone’s Natural Connections, Exploring Northwoods Nature Through Science and Your Senses. It can be ordered online from the Cable Natural History Museum.

Iowa native Emily Stone is Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum in Wisconsin.   Her book follows north woods nature through the four seasons. The book, from her columns, is filled with reflections, facts, and illustrations of plants, insects, birds and more drawn by children.

Winding Pathways encourages you to don warm clothes and go outside and play during cold winter months. Then, come inside to enjoy a cup of cocoa and the fireplace or furnace’s warmth while reading a truly enjoyable book.

Summer Reading

Take in some great summer reading! Cornelia (Connie) Mutel, Winding Pathway’s good friend, sent us her most recent book, A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland.

Her book weaves three themes together that encourage readers to enjoy woodlands and embrace actions to lessen climate change.

Connie is a gifted nature writer who transforms her observations into delightful prose that reminds us of Joseph Wood Krutch‘s style. Her book is a pleasant way to learn about and enjoy a woodland as it progresses through seasons and responds to weather.

As the title implies, she relates changes in her woods caused by climate change. Nature is neither politically correct nor untruthful. A knowledgeable observer, as the author is, recognizes alarming signals of a warming planet communicated by vegetation and wildlife but often unnoticed by those less informed.

Finally, she weaves her personal story into a blend of woodland delight and climate concern. She bemoans her reliance on fossil fuel to get to and from work and to run her air conditioner, expresses joy at sharing woodland hours with grandchildren, and relates her long term cancer relationship with earth health.

Sugar Creek Chronicle is a lovely book about a serious environmental threat. Perhaps its major virtue is how the author blends joy of nature’s beauty, concern about the planet’s future, and a love of life that encourages readers to lessen  the impact of climate change.
University of Iowa Press Bur Oak Series
ISBN: 978-1-60938-395-4

Marion’s all time favorite summer series is by Jean Craighead GeorgeMy Side of the Mountain, The Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful’s Mountain.

Other good books to read this summer:
The Intelligent Optimist”s Gide to Life.  Jurriaan Kamp. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. 2014. ISBN: 978-1-62656-275-2

Places of Quiet Beauty: Parks, Preserves and Environmentalism. Rebecca Conrad. University of Iowa Press. ISBN: 0-87745-558-9

Their Name Is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World. Johann Christoph Arnold. Plough Publishing House. ISBN: 978-0-87486-630-8

The Gift of Winter Reading

Bring nature inside this winter with a selection of books from two “nature friendly” stores. Winding Pathways encourages readers to shop locally to support small community businesses. Happy reading!


Julie Welcomes Guests to New Bo Books

Step into the warmth of winter reading with a great selection at New Bo Books.

Books at New Bo Books

New Bo Books is a local bookstore affiliated with Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City. Check out their wide array of current adult topics and children’s classics for this Holiday Season.

For Children

A Leaf Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas. ISBN 9780761362036. A leaf is a leaf – or is it more? This poetic book helps little ones explore the role leaves play throughout the year.

If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay. ISBN 9789762447213. Inspire those you love; either a seed or a dream, planted and nurtured can grow. Beautiful illustrations!

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies. ISBN 9780763655495. An illustrated treasury of poems that reflect what children learn in their first encounters with nature.

Adult Nonfiction

Mountain Eyes by Scott Peters. Self-published. Wonderful photography and insightful reflections on man and nature from Scott Peters’ travels in Alaska, Patagonia and the Pacific Crest Trail. Number x120.

American Canopy by Eric Rutkow. ISBN 9781439193587. A broad historical study of the deep connection between America and its trees, from the colonial era to present day.

Indian Creek Nature Center Sign

After a brisk walk on the trail stop in to pick up some great winter reading.

Books at Indian Creek Nature Center

 Indian Creek Nature Center features a variety of books for children and adults. Certain general adult topic books are on sale for 20% off until gone. They also carry great nature/science kits for kids (Animal Tracks, Science on a Nature Walk, Going Green). New this year are all natural with bark still on building block sets and origami projects and books.

Just out: The Tallgrass Prairie Reader. Edited by John T. Price – University of Iowa Press ISBN-13 9781609382469. A wonderful collection of literature from and about the Tallgrass bioregion with voices and perspectives from the days of buffalo and immense prairies into the present. Individual writers honor the Tallgrass Prairie from their unique experiences and perspective.

Children’s Books

Hunting Red by Jean Snodgress Wiedenheft. ISBN 9780615907925. Inspired by the plants, animals and landforms of Indian Creek Nature Center, Hunting Red takes you on an adventure looking for the color red as it appears in nature.

The Prairie that Nature Built by Marybeth Lorbiecki. ISBN 9781584694922.  Romp through the prairie above, below and all around while also discovering unique creatures and fragile places. This beautiful richly illustrated book also comes with a scan code to get the free pop-up app. Watch the animals pop up from each page!

Adult Nonfiction

The Locavore Way by Amy Colter. ISBN9781603424530.  Discover and enjoy the pleasures of Locally Grown Food. Learn how to source, experience and savor the freshest foods from your area.  Features sustainability, and organic and humanely raised food.

Home Herbal Remedies by Melanie Wenzel. ISBN9780778804895.  Recipes, treatments, sources and identification guide with photos. Exceptionally complete guide written by a homeopath expert.

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