Synopses & Reviews
At no time in human history have we been more disconnected with what lies outside our front doors. Within just a century, our relationship with our surroundings has transformed from one of exploration to one of disassociation. In This Book Was a Tree
, science teacher Marcie Cuff issues a call for a new era of pioneersand#151;not leathery, backwoods deerskin-wearing salt pork and hominy pioneers, but strong-minded, clever, crafty, mudpie-making, fort-building individuals committed to examining the natural world and deciphering natureand#8217;s perplexing puzzles.
Within each chapter, readers will discover a principle for reconnecting with the natural world around them, from learning to be still to discovering the importance of giving back. With a mix of science and hands-on crafts and activities, readers will be encouraged to brainstorm, imagine, and understand the world as inventive scientistsand#151;to touch, collect, document, sketch, decode, analyze, experiment, unravel, interpret, compare, and reflect.
and#8220;Marcie Cuff makes nature even more fun than the way you find it. This is aand#160;book about imagination and creativityand#8212;and getting dirty. The projects in Thisand#160;Book Was a Tree
remind me of the dozens of ways we can all connect with theand#160;natural world on a daily basis. And since Marcie writes from the heart, you canand#160;just feel the satisfaction and even joy youand#8217;ll get from connecting a little bit moreand#160;with the world around you. She has ideas that everyone can try alone or withand#160;friends or family. Sheand#8217;s going to make a lot of lives simpler, happier, and moreand#160;plugged in to the world thatand#8217;s all around us.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;David Yarnold, President and CEO of National Audubon Society
and#8220;It really is good to get dirty, and this is a wonderful guidebook to exactly how!and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home
and#8220;Somewhere, in a book of advice on aging, I read a fine adage: Do somethingand#160;real every day. Thatand#8217;s good advice for people of every age. From the title of theand#160;book, through all of its pages of ideas and adventures, Marcie Chambers Cuffand#160;helps us remember whatand#8217;s real and what makes kids and their families feel fullyand#160;alive in a virtual age.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle
and#8220;Whether you live in a twenty-story building in the middle of the city or on aand#160;twenty-acre preserve, this beautifully illustrated book urges us all to exploreand#160;the outdoors like never before. Full of fun, simple ideas and endless inspiration,and#160;Cuff and#8217;s book will help all ages get creative and get connectedand#8212;to nature, toand#160;the process, and to the world in which we live.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Bernadette Noll, author of Slow Family Living
and#8220;A book that wonderfully captures the wandering and wonderment of myand#160;youthand#8212;and brings it to life again. Part project, part prose, what was destined forand#160;my eleven-year-old niece in New England has managed to linger on my deskand#160;for too long. I might even keep it for myself!and#8221;and#160;and#8212;M. Sanjayan, lead scientist at the Nature Conservancy and TV host
and#8220;This book still is a tree: to climb, survey, and touch the simple wonders of nature.and#160;Marcie Chambers Cuff gives us back the physical world: Most of all, sheand#160;returns it to our children.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Adrian Higgins, garden columnist for the Washington Post
and#8220;This Book Was a Tree is full of sparks to reignite your curiosity and engagementand#160;with the natural world around you.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Toby A. Adams, director of the Edible Academy atand#160;the New York Botanical Garden
and#8220;If we forget where we came from, we are lost. Marcieand#8217;s book offers a path homeand#160;and endless opportunities to learn. We love what we know, so we have to beginand#160;with the knowing, and this book can help you begin. This Book Was a Tree canand#160;help anyone begin to love the natural world around them and want to be partand#160;of it.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Ellen D. Ketterson, distinguished professor of biology andand#160;executive producer of Ordinary Extraordinary Junco
and#8220;If orangutans, Asian elephants, and crows can improvise creative ways to interactand#160;with nature, Marcie Cuff shows us: so can we! You are very lucky that youand#160;have picked up this book. Now go get your hands dirty and have fun!and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Melanie Choukas-Bradley, naturalist and author of City of Trees
and#8220;Marcie Cuff and#8217;s book is a treasure! Even a diehard nature lover like me foundand#160;new inspiration and ideas for getting my kid to put down the screens and comeand#160;outside and explore, ask questions, and get our hands dirty while learningand#160;about this magnificent planet we share. Any parent who is frustrated by theand#160;draw of todayand#8217;s relentless gadgets should bring this book home.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Annie Leonard, author and host of The Story of Stuff
and#8220;This Book Was a Tree is a strong and creative shout-out to all of us who areand#160;artists, teachers, naturalists, parents, and simply humans. This book begs us toand#160;put down our button-pushing gadgets and challenges us to reconnect to natureand#160;through pages of timeless projects, creative acts, and deep thought. From guerrillaand#160;gardening to pinhole cameras to phenology, Ms. Cuff covers it all with theand#160;expertise of a scientist and a mother. This is not another book of and#8216;nature craftsand#8217;and#160;you can do with a paper plate or a corn husk. The introduction alone may bringand#160;you to tears with an urgent message speaking of global damage, environmentaland#160;degradation, and ozone depletion. The author invites us to keep a foot in bothand#160;worlds knowing that we can come to our senses through purposeful and funand#160;exploration of the natural environment around us, no matter where we live. Iand#160;applaud This Book Was a Tree for being a tree first and giving the author theand#160;pages to share with us the most important message of our time.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Amy Butler, director of education for the North Branch Nature Center andand#160;founder of ECO (Educating Children Outdoors)
and#8220;It becomes obvious early on that writing This Book Was a Tree was a laborand#160;of love for author Marcie Chambers Cuff. The passion in her words and convictionand#160;in her messages are real, and comforting. Her message is simple: Stepand#160;away from the A/V technology of the twenty-first century and go outside toand#160;experience the natural world. Overcome the inertia of home comforts and goand#160;out and get dirty, poke things with a stick (dead things, which is how all wildlifeand#160;biologists get their start), look around, use that acorn between your shoulders,and#160;and become creative, think on your own. This book is not just for city folk, norand#160;is it just for kids. Itand#8217;s something to be shared between parent and child, teacherand#160;and student. It belongs at home and in schools. Itand#8217;s projects and adventures toand#160;be shared for years and among generations.and#8221;and#160;and#8212;Michael J. Petrula, research and management biologist,and#160;Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation
“Both daring and meditative, How to Be an Explorer of the World
is part Maira Kalman, part Wendy MacNaughton, part its very own kind of whimsy, delivering — beautifully — exactly what it says on the tin, with an invitation to be just a little bit more alive each day.”
"Get your creative juice's flowing with the 94 ideas in The Book of Doing."
"(An) inspirational manual to unlocking creativity."
—Better Homes & Gardens
"The first steps to turning your dream into reality."
"If ideas are fuel for your business, here's a book to help fill up your tank."
"Pretty terrific guidelines for life in general."
"My newest dream book."
From the author of Wreck This Journal, an interactive guide for exploring and documenting the art and science of everyday life.
Artists and scientists analyze the world around them in surprisingly similar ways, by observing, collecting, documenting, analyzing, and comparing. In this captivating guided journal, readers are encouraged to explore their world as both artists and scientists.
The mission Smith proposes? ?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.?
With a series of interactive prompts and a beautifully hand-illustrated two-color package, readers will enjoy exploring and discovering the world through this gorgeous book.
When did you last take the time to do the things you loved as a child: crafts, games, getting your hands dirty? Or feel the same delight and wonder that you took from your favorite childhood activities?
Despite the joy we gained from these pursuits, in our adult lives, we've left them behind-they're too frivolous, we're too busy or too old, and there's too much "real" work to do. It's time to change this mind-set. It's time to rediscover the things you love to do, because they energize, center, and connect you with the world in a meaningful and positive way.
The Book of Doing offers a collection of ideas and activities that encourage you to use your life as a canvas and explore your creativity through everything you do-to create and make, to explore and experiment, to play and build, to paint and cook-to do. Go ahead. Roll up your sleeves and get to it. It's time to do the things that make you happiest.
About the Author
is the publisher of Advertising Age
, a trade magazine that showcases creativity and brand strategy for companies around the world. Her professional and personal paths have ignited her passion for creativity and its power to inspire joy in everything we do. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Scott; their children, Max and Maya; and their chocolate lab, Rosie. For more information, see www.bookofdoing.com.
Adam Turnbull is an artist and designer from Sydney Australia based in New York. His work takes interests in social commentary, design, illustration and art. He illustrates a weekly blog Ten Cent Dime documenting life in New York among other things.