Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sense of Wonder” as Want to Read:
The Sense of Wonder
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sense of Wonder

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  691 ratings  ·  97 reviews
An inspiring meditation by one of the best nature writers of the twentieth century, richly illustrated by lush, color photography


Rachel Carson shares her prescription for developing a lifelong respect for nature in this deeply personal essay, lavishly expanded and paced by Nick Kelsh’s vibrant photography in this posthumously published edition. Using her personal adventur
...more
ebook, 111 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published 1965)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sense of Wonder, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sense of Wonder

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,095)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rachel Terry
I read this as I sat outside at the playground on a 65-degree January day. It doesn't seem right to read it inside. Carson's writing is so beautiful, and her descriptions of things as minute as green aphids and sand dollars are so majestic that the book made me want to pay much closer attention to everything around me. The Sense of Wonder is about helping children to see the magic in nature so that when they are older they'll want to learn more about it.
Jim
This is written to/about her nephew & the sense of wonder she enjoyed with him exploring nature when he was a child. According to the forward, she intended to expand on it, but I'm glad she didn't. She repeated herself a bit as it was. Excellent advice on introducing a child to nature, though. Something every adult who guides a child should read.
Richard
A very short memoir that Ms Carson intended to expand but death came before she could. She describes her days and weeks on the Maine seashore and the wonder she felt examining rocks, sand, crabs, stars, clouds. She tries to instill in the reader the responsibility adults have to help children discover the wonder around them. I wish I had read it as a young father. This book is hard to find, but, Amazon has it a paper back and Kindle.
Christopher Matthias
Chills of Delight

Rachel Carson is a master of capturing the reader's attention and holding it while filling them with a yearning for a deep relationship with the natural world. Her writing is simple, unassuming and accessible to a young and open mind as well as an older steadfast hardened reader.
As she strives to instill a lifelong love affair for discovery into young Rodger, she does likewise for the reader fortunate enough to tag along.
A short and simple work worthy of any reader's time.
Esmeralda
Carson retells developing a relationship with her nephew Roger via experiences in nature. There are rich descriptions of hikes. The latter half of the book advocates a way in teaching which stems out of natural curiosity.

Naming things and knowing lists does not instill motiviation or inspire. Her point is to joyfully share what you enjoy and be sensitive to what someone else wants to take on.

She reminds one not to be lazy. Rain, sleet, snow, thunder, go outside, get dirty and do things that ar
...more
Literary Mama
From "Essential Reading: From a Child's Point of View" by Literary Mama staff:

Transporting us to a new emotion and part of the world, Blog Editor Amanda Jaros offers a peek at the intrinsic value of Mother Nature's gifts: "Nothing is more awe-inspiring than seeing our natural world from a child’s point of view. In her book, The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson explores the sea and woods of Maine with her young nephew. She shares how profoundly vital it is for children to encounter nature on their
...more
Samantha
Absolutely beautiful. It made me think of who gave me my sense of wonder in the natural world and how I could pass that on to my children. It also started me thinking about where I can find more of that wonder here in a much more manicured setting than where I grew up. I vowed to be much more creative and get out more. An excellent book.
Koroviev

This is a very short essay about maintaining the sense of wonder we are born with. Most of the book is pictures, and there is not much information, but makes for joyful reading. The part I liked the most:

" What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe andwonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence? ...
I am sure there is something much deeper, something lasting and significant. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties
...more
Dana
Favorite quote

"A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is often dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughou
...more
Kerry Kenney
This is an excellent book to give as a family gift. I recieved it as a baby shower present and was delighted with it.
Sarah
A stunning book - for both its words and its pictures.
Lovely to share with children.
Meredith Henning
Just picked this up from the hold shelf!
Maureen
Rachel Carson wrote "The Sense of Wonder" toward the end of her life. Originally an essay titled “Help your Child to Wonder”, her spare, exquisite prose invites you to a stream-of-consciousness ramble along a northern shore and through the wet Maine woodlands in spring. The accompanying photos are luminous, detailing grass blades and tide pools through a child’s eyes, as the words draw adults along to recapture a long forgotten sense of mystery and awe, to be shared – in turn – with the next gen ...more
Kiwi
2008 Reading: I can't...I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get a proper review out for this. I've been waiting to read 'The Sense of Wonder' for years, somehow, and I finally got to it near the very start of this year. I read it out loud to one of my dear-heart friends as she was packing to head to England for winter/spring/some summer (and I, for the first time in three years, was not headed there for the same time frame).

My dear-heart friend knows me well and has known me well since mid-adolesc
...more
Jodi
A classic look at the awe-inspiring nature all around us, and the reminder to share this beauty and wonder with children. A couple passages I especially liked: "It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century or even once in a human generation, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be seen many scores of nights in any year, and so the ligths burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty over ...more
Ganesh
The imagery at the beginning of this book is absolutely divine. (You can read the first few pages on amazon.com.)

As I read this book, I remembered how delighted my little cousins and I were years ago when we spotted pale green frog eggs glowing at the bottom of a tiny pond near my house. And I remembered taking walks through forests with men I loved, and I remembered loving them for their sense of wonder for everything wild.

This is my favorite part of Rachel Carson's essay:

"A child's world is
...more
Mark
This is a great book, an essay, really, with beautiful photographs interspersed. Carson clearly had some things figured out about introducing children to the natural world, and her advice is equally sound for reengaging with nature yourself. She has some great insights in this short piece as well, one of my personal favorites from when she is discussing how the wonder at a natural phenomenon is much more important than being able to identify the name of the plant/animal/whatever: "If facts are t ...more
Ken-ichi
Oct 10, 2009 Ken-ichi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents
This is a beautiful little book (more of an essay, really), about cultivating a small child's sense of wonder with the natural world, though I think it should renew or awaken that sense in all readers. I especially appreciated Carson's acknowledgement of emotion as the "fertile soil" in which knowledge and wisdom grow, and that she urges parents and children (and everyone else) to seek out questions and mysteries when exploring the outdoors, rather then stressing over names or scientific facts. ...more
Donna
The title caught my attention and after reading she was the author of Silent Spring I decided I needed to give it a listen. This is best read or listened to if you can be outside in a quiet park…. For me it slowed me down …it seemed meant to relax me and look around and appreciate all that is naturally outside..birds, trees, plants..etc…

I wonder how much more she would have written had she not passed away during this writing.
Vanessa
I enjoyed Rachel Carson's reflections on nature and sharing that with a child. She recounts the time she spends with her young nephew Roger on the coast of Maine, and I was inspired for the first time to learn more about her life and work. As a scientist, writer, conservationist and woman, she was truly inspiring. Well worth the time to read and reflect. If you have 30 minutes to spare, read it. You won't regret it!
Stasia
This is a super sweet little book. It's more of an essay than a book, really, and it took me about half an hour to read, slowly, while stopping to look at all the beautiful pictures, but it's such a lovely reminder to look at the world with open-eyed wonder (and to help instill that wonder in others).
Chorus &
Her connection to outdoors is palpable. She draws you in with such delightful detail of her time spent outdoors. A beautiful book for any outdoor lover or educator looking for inspiration into their practice. Audiobook is now in my collection because it's just so poetic.
Jessica
The edition I read was a pleasure. It was from The Nature Company with photographs by William Neill. I think he and Rachel Carson were made for each other. I did close the book feeling wonder - as in a new curiosity for this earth, as well as awe. A beautifully written resource of simple ways to connect with the world around us and help our children to do so too.
Lisa
Here are words of 'living music' that embody my own aspirations to never lose my sense of curiosity and awe at the mysterious, magical, miraculous world around us. To look, to see, to wonder, to think, to feel, to listen - to find all that makes life sweet and full and rich. Beauteous.
Jason
Rachel Carson urges us to instill in children a sense of wonder for the natural world - for things both large and small. She wants people to patiently observe, to listen, to explore and experience, to appreciate and enjoy. I recently had the opportunity to observe humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank. It was a moving experience, one that inspired me to worship the Creator of those marvelous creatures(Psalm 104: 24-30). May the Lord grant that we will see more clearly and consistently the beauty of ...more
Ann
A few favorite quotes:

"He sat quietly on my lap for some time, watching the moon and the water and all the night sky, and then he whispered, 'I'm glad we came.' " (31)

..."I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength." (54)

"In th
...more
Amanda
Mar 20, 2012 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, child care professionals, parents
So I've read this book three times in the past two days. It's short, but fantastic!

Now more than ever, it's easy to get lost in technology, and to forget the magic of nature. Rachel Carson beautifully describes the multitude of social/emotional and intellectual benefits a simple walk on the beach can bring. This book reminded me of how much fun I had walking through the woods with my mom or grandfather. Those were good times. Times I can share with students in my class and young relatives.

So ye
...more
Rebecca Jones
Calming thoughtful. A piece of art. Sensual and thoughtful. A balm for the soul. Also a sort of instruction book or lecture. Very quotable and wise. She is going on my favorite writer list.
Storyheart
"Those who dwell , as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations and concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, ...more
Frances Heneghan
Beautiful innocence in the wonder of Nature, and how to awaken it, and retain it, throughout life, by taking a child through Nature's simple wonders.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 69 70 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Geography of Childhood: Why Children Need Wild Places
  • Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect
  • Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
  • Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World
  • Settled in the Wild: Notes from the Edge of Town
  • Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day
  • Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature
  • Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education (Nature Literacy Series, Vol. 1) (Nature Literacy)
  • Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature
  • Biophilia
  • Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature
  • The Open Space of Democracy
  • David Attenborough New Life Stories
  • American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau
  • Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land
  • Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur
  • The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder
  • Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild
15332
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won
...more
More about Rachel Carson...
Silent Spring The Sea Around Us The Edge of the Sea Under the Sea Wind Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson

Share This Book

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” 96 likes
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” 70 likes
More quotes…