The Sense of Wonder
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The Sense of Wonder

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  522 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Not long before she died in 1964, the noted environmental writer Rachel Carson wrote an essay for Woman's Home Companion magazine called "Helping Your Child to Wonder." In that essay--reprinted here, with photographs of natural subjects by Nick Kelsh--Carson urged parents to take their children to wild places in order to introduce them to the astonishing variety of life th...more
MP3 CD, 1 page
Published August 1st 2007 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1965)
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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.
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
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.
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
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!
Kiwi
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-adolescence. It warme...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
Jason
Aug 29, 2009 Jason added it
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
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.
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.
Kelly
One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. It was originally published as an article, so it is short and simple, yet every description says so much that it really doesn't need to be any longer (though I would probably love it even more if it was). It is geared towards parents and care-givers, neither of which applies to me, but since I see quotes from the book online all the time, and use the quotes often myself, I wanted to read the the entire piece. Her descriptions of nature are so gorge...more
Annette
In 1956, Rachel Carson published an essay titled "Help Your Child Wonder." More than 50 years later this article is even more timely. Focusing on the important role that adults have in the lives of young children, the book combines the original article with new photographs. Carson relates experiences with her three-year old nephew to illustrate the need to help young people develop a passion for learning through inquiry, senses, and exploration of nature. This is a wonderful companion to Richard...more
Nikki Baumgart
Enjoy nature

This book encourages one to stop passing through nature without even recognizing or looking closely
at it. A short book with a good message for the reader.

Jeanne Grossetti
I have read and re-read Miss Carson's The Sense of Wonder since the 1970s. This book is a poetic, beautiful, and brilliant exploration of the delights and purposes of sharing the natural world with children. There are many editions, each with its own design and photographs. The one I now own was published around 1990 by the Nature Company:

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Company-...

Jules Brugel
A wonderful quick read with some amazing nature photography.
Lucie Wednesday
Beautiful visual descriptions and even more gorgeous photos.
Becky
Read in honor of Rachel Carson's birthday.
Jess


Another lovely reminder of how much strength is derived from apprehending the beauty of the natural world. Everything I read these days seems to contain lessons in trusting intuitive understanding and relying less on the charging mind. I acutely feel my disconnection from nature in the lifestyle I lead on a daily basis and when I read accounts such as this, hope awakens in me that I can find ways, for the rest of my life, to bridge that gap and satisfy the sense of wonder that for all my disloc...more
LeeAnn
This book stemmed from an article Rachel Carson wrote during her lifetime in an effort to help adults and children enjoy nature in ways they never had before in hopes that they cease to desire more artificial things that were destroying the natural world.

Nick Kelsh came across this article and decided to publish it with photographs from the area Rachel Carson would have explored. The photographs are incredible, well picked to express the thoughts Carson wrote. Between the two, worth 4-5 stars.
Elisabeth
This was a wonderful book. I would highly recommend it, especially if you have children. I think Rachel Carson's philosophy applies to any values you want to teach your children, not just a love of nature. It's important to be excited and expressive about the things you love, the things you want your children to love.

Not to downplay a love of nature. I am trying hard not to stifle my children's love of nature with my love of a clean house.
Georgia Herod
A poetic tribute to nature and a feast for the eyes--beautiful photography captures readers' attention as Rachel Carson calls adults to
expose and stimulate the sense of wonder in children. Wooded trails, bugs and birdsong, stars and snowflakes, seeds and sprouts--oh, so much to nurture wonder--which too often we as adults lose. Carson challenges us to take a walk or sleep under the stars, with children as our companions!
Tamar
I found one copy of this book through the Toronto Public Library, I love the beauty of nature, just walking around and taking in the wonder of it. I read this while I was expecting my first little one and imagined all the adventures I would one day take her on. This book reminds you of the beauty of the simplicity of nature as well as it's vast awesomeness. A classic, specially for lovers of nature.
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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

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” 62 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.” 50 likes
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