A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History
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A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  172 ratings  ·  38 reviews
From the author of the beloved classic The Great Kapok Tree, A River Ran Wild tells a story of restoration and renewal. Learn how the modern-day descendants of the Nashua Indians and European settlers were able to combat pollution and restore the beauty of the Nashua River in Massachusetts.
Paperback, 40 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1992)
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Lisa Vegan
This is a terrific book for activist kids or as a motivator to show how a very few people can make a very big difference in making the world a better place. I would have appreciated some extra material in the back with ideas for kids, with more detailed information about the clean up efforts, etc.

I absolutely adored the illustrations, both the large paintings on one side of the page and the tiny miniature paintings on the other side of the page. The two maps are also done well, and I always enj...more
This story was selected as one of the books for the September 2012 - Ecosystems reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.

I nominated this book because I discovered that it was about the Nashua River and discusses the area where I grew up. For my entire childhood, I lived on River Road, less than a quarter mile from the river as the crow flies. As I grew up in the 70s and 80s, I saw the river undergo quite a transformation, but even then, we would never want...more
By turns beautiful, tragic and inspiring, this is the story of the Nashua River from the time the first native peoples discovered it, through European-American colonization, to the pollution of the industrial revolution and beyond, the destruction, and finally the restoration thanks to the efforts of Marion Stoddart and the Nashua River Cleanup Committee in the 1960s.

The illustrations are very nice. I appreciate how the larger picture shows the changing river conditions, while the border around...more
Cheryl in CC NV
I dunno. Important, interesting, lovely... but just kinda randomly superficial. Step by step through the history of the river, yes. Exploration of the entire ecosystem of the river, including the humans, yes. Lots of details in the sketches in the borders of relevant context, yes. Discussion of some of the strategies of the activists that saved the river, yes. But I never felt engaged, and I never felt like I was actually learning anything that meant anything to me - despite the fact that, of co...more
A River Ran Wild: An Environmental History by Lynne Cherry is the story of a successful local campaign to combat pollution due to human activity, manufacturing, and waste dumping, and to restore the beauty of the Nashua River in Massachusetts.

Cherry's illustratins are done in watercolors, colored pencils and Dr. Martin's watercolors. Pciture show the changing river conditions, including buildings, bridges, trees, roads and factories. Detailed borders show animals, tools, farm implements, manufa...more
This was an interesting book because it demonstrated the Native American culture and the history of how they lost their land to the English settlers, while also educating how the Nashua River suffered environmentally from this. The illustrations show a Native American village and include smaller illustrations of tools the Native Americans used. This book is based on a true story and accurately depicts what the Native Americans went through during this time in our history. I also like that the bo...more
Oct 10, 2012 June rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: environmental readers
Recommended to June by: Children's Books (Goodreads Group)
I enjoyed this more than The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest. Maybe because it was non-fiction it didn't strike me quite as didactic. I also enjoyed the hopeful nature of the book that one person can create a movement and make a difference; that a dying river can be brought back.

My one criticism is that since it is a children's book, I wish Cherry had included something about the 500 youths who worked for 5 months clearing trash from the riverbed and banks in the story and not...more
Like The Great Kapok Tree, this was a great book. The focus is different is this one, instead being on a river that progresses from pre-colonial inhabitation to the present. The river undergoes a transformation from pristine to choked with pollution while its inhabitants undergo a transformation from respectful symbiotic members of the river ecosystem to unthinking destructive users of the river to educated careful stewards of the river. Its overall tone is hopeful, but it does make the reader t...more
Graham Lazar
Written by Lynne Cherry, author of "The Great Kapok Tree," this is a seminal text of children's environmental literature. With these two texts, Cherry has positioned herself as one of the leading voices in the genre.

"A River Ran Wild" is a rare bread within the genre, as it is both a traditional cautionary tale of human wastefulness as well as a story of collaboration and human redemption. The text relates the story of the Nashua River watershed of Massachusetts, which was symbolic of tragic ep...more
Jan 12, 2013 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: budding environmentalists
Recommended to Joan by: June Krell
This clearly is not on the same level of poetic writing as The Kapok Tree but it wasn't meant to be. This is straight nonfiction. But it does a great job of what the author meant it to do. She tells the story of a specific river, its beginnings and degradation, then the repair of the ruined river. Since the author is also the illustrator, the pictures and text work perfectly together, complementing each other with new info. Around one page are illustrations of the various animals that live along...more
Brittny Nguyen
This book is an informational text that can be used with 3rd-4th grade. The book is about a river that was used as a resource to survival for Native Americans. The story goes into details on how settlers moved in and slowly destroyed its resources by polluting the water with their factories, cutting down all the trees, killing all the animals, and so forth. Eventually as the years passes, advocators protested to help revive the river to its natural state - and they won! I really enjoyed this boo...more
Alexandra Chauran
This book was way less of a downer than the rest of the environmentalist books of this genre. This is the story of a real river that got polluted and nasty which, prompted by a dream, was cleaned up again. It was a little long for my three year old, but was still enjoyable.
Jourdan Aanenson
This story is the story of how Native Americans settled in the land of America first and how they were conqured by the English settlers.

This is great book to use in a classroom with Native American students. This relates them to where they came from and why Native American people are so important. The use of the pictures in this story are great because they show what Native American people did when they first made their settlements in American. This book can make Native American students feel we...more
Lindsay Bunchman
This is a great book to read when addressing environmental issues with students. The story helps students question whether the progress made during the industrial revolution was worth the environmental cost. It is particularly relevant to teach now while the U.S. deals with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The happy ending in the book could be encouraging to students living in the Gulf area right now, since they will be able to see that it is possible over many years to recover from such a disaster...more
Brooke Devarennes
I love this book because it really shows how humans impact the environment. It also includes illustrations of various objects and they are all labeled (teaching how to label objects in a picture). This is great for social studies because the book starts with the Native Americans and explains the tools they used, what food they ate, etc. It progresses into more sophisticated tools, different people living in the area, European influences, New Century, and The Industrial Revolution. It focuses on...more
Great book, very interesting learning the history of the Nash-a-way river and all those that inhabited the surrounding area. Great children's book, very good environmental piece.
I am using this book (at the recommendation of a friend!) in a class I am teaching later this week. I really appreciate the message of this book and the pictures are beautiful!
A gorgeous, richly illustrated book about the Nasseau River. The details in the illustrations make this a book kids can get lost in. It's also a true environmental story with a happy ending-- the rare kind of story that kids need to hear to feel hopeful and empowered.

My only complaint is that although Cherry made it clear that the Nasseau Indians were the first people to settle on the banks of the river, she still used the word "settlers" to mean White settlers. Not only is this racist, it was r...more
Marie Buschke
It was sad and nice. I could almost smell the river.
Jun 06, 2011 Steve rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Steve by: Learn United, Real Men Read
Real Men Read assignment. A tough book to bring to life for 3rd graders.
An 'agenda' book that basically views western industrialization as the root of all problems.
One thing that was nice is that each page covered one period of history with many pictures representing that period. This gave the chance to focus the kids on one or two topics per page.
Not my favorite book to try to entice kids to read.
Karen Siddall
What a wonderfully, intricate little book! A simple story of success and hope for the environment... and one that won't give little ones a sense of doom and imminent disaster. Several pages of full-size illustrations and each text page is bordered with interesting and intricate drawings of items representational of the time. So much to look at with so much detail!
Audrey Harlan
This is a great book to use when teaching about the environment and its history. The book discusses the history of our world and how people have affected it. Students could perform a fun activity while reading this book. The book really hits home when it talks about the things people have done to damage it. It also discusses what we can do to help.
This one is for fourth grade and younger. I can't see this one replacing If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..., but it does offer a good message and the pictures are good, plus the border has a lot to look at. Tells the story of a river in the northeast which has suffered over the years thanks to pollution and the efforts to clean it up.

Barbara Brien
Having grown up in town built upon the Nashua, this story hits home. I recall being told that the fish in the Nashua could not be eaten, that the water in the river was dirty. It makes me glad that someone cared enough to clean it up.
Apr 07, 2008 Alisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: social studies teachers
Shelves: childrens
good story about the effects of humans on nature. great illustrations. i use this book with my elementary teacher candidates to demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach to teaching history/geography with literature.
Just a great all-around kids book which shows many different human follies but also shows how we can correct some of them if we want to. Main themes include conservation and pollution.
This book ties literacy to Native American studies for the classroom. It studies the environment back when Native Americans lived on the land (before being kicked off).
Making Meaning Grade 5 Resource Kit

Great book! Loved the illustrations and the story. Documentation is also provided. I really like this one!
An awesome children's lesson about the environment and the importance of taking ownership if maintaining and improving the earth. A story of hope.
I was hoping for the vocabulary building I saw in Armadillo from Amarillo. It wasn't there. In that sense, this book was a let down.
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