I very rarely buy books that aren’t specifically eco-friendly. But a few months ago I became a wee bit mesmerized with a book I saw at Powell’s and bought it – How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith. Since this is not a green book in particular, I’m not going to write a full review, but I do think this is a book that should be on every kids’ bookshelf.
What the book is about:
How to Be an Explorer of the World challenges kids (and adults) to observe their world with eyes wide open. Smith proposes various missions such as, “To document and observe the world around you. As if you’ve never seen it before. Take notes. Collect things you find on your travels. Document findings. Notice patterns. Copy. Trace. Focus on one thing at a time. Record what you are drawn to.”
The book includes a series of interactive prompts and is wonderfully hand-illustrated in shades of black, white, gray and orange. There’s plenty of space for kids to jot down thoughts, keep graphs and lists and doodle. It’s a book that’s meant to be lugged around, messed up and written in.
Many of the activities and explorations proposed have a decidedly nature slant which encourages kids to get out there into the world rather than allowing them to sit still in front of the computer or TV.
I hyper LOVE this book. It’s probably one of the best ever that I’ve seen for kids and unschooling families will really like it. There’s a heavy push in the book to question everything, which is really refreshing. Kids will like the cool found art pictures and everyone will love the various quotes scattered throughout, all of which encourage us to live life a little louder.
A better way to get an idea of how flipping cool this book is, would be to browse through it, so I took a few pictures. However, I can’t find the camera, so I had to take some with my phone – sorry the pics are kind of blurry. Still, blurry or not, the gallery below should give you a good idea of what this book is about.
Smith is also the author of many other cool books that can help teach kids to think outside the box such as…
- Wreck This Journal
- The Guerilla Art Kit
- Tear Up This Book!: The Sticker, Stencil, Stationery, Games, Crafts, Doodle, And Journal Book For Girls!
- And more! See more of Smith’s work at her website.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Overall, I’d give How to Be an Explorer of the World a five on my typical rating system (the best score). From an eco-minded perspective, the book is not printed on recycled paper (from what I can tell) and it’s not overly focused on green issues, although it does slant heavily toward reuse and recycling, so technically on an eco-scale, it’d loose a point.
However, the book is not meant to be a green book. What it does do, very well, is encourage exploration, insight and active participation in the world. Many of us, kids included, get caught up in a lackadaisical passing through the world we occupy – which is sad and lame. Kids today are way overly involved in technology, sitting around and experience a rampant lack of playtime and adventure. This book can help combat these issues. I highly recommend you pick up a copy for your family.
+ Get the book – How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum