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Forest Bibliography


Title of Lesson: Using Forests as a Theme for Literature: 
An Annotated Bibliography of Suggested Books

by Earl Brogan, Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, Co-Coordinator Writing Initiative Program

Please keep in mind the importance of setting when looking at the opportunities you have available to you for writing using the forest theme.  The school forest is not just a place to write about, but offers characters, potential motivations, opportunities for observation and seeing, and issues as well.

Annie Dillard:  Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Dillard’s essays are all about seeing and making sense of the world around us.  She raises questions on ethics, philosophy, and even theology that grow out of her observations of the natural world.  Her essay “Jest and Earnest” is a staple in college texts but is very accessible for high school students.

Annie Dillard:  For the Time Being
This most recent work by Dillard again combines close observation of the natural world and science (including a fossil hunt in Mongolia) with the raising of important theological questions.  

Loren Eiseley:  The Immense Journey 
In essays such as “The Secret Life” from this collection, Eiseley discusses nature and our place in it beginning with an autumn walk and including an encounter with a sunning snake as a springboard to discovery.

Loren Eiseley:  The Star Thrower 
This later collection includes essays as well as poetry by Eiseley on the topics of nature and science.

Bernd Heinrich:  Ravens in Winter 
A New England Professor writes on his observations of ravens in forests much like ours.  This and his later Mind of the Raven look into topics such as animal behavior,  wildlife studies, population sampling, and the nuts and bolts of a wildlife study including finding raven bait and the construction of observation blinds.

Gary Snyder:  Mountains and Rivers Without End
Snyder, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and essayist, writes about the land and our place on it.  Native American cultures, Eastern philosophy, logging, fire spotting, hunting, and fishing all show up in his work.  This is very accessible work.

Gary Snyder:  A Place in Space
Essays on what Snyder calls the “practice of the wild” in our lives.

Chris Stall:  Animal Tracks of the Great Lakes States
A great small guide to mammals, turtles, amphibians, and birds for our region.  This is a portable, well illustrated, and well written spring board to writing assignments.

James Halfpenny:  A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America
This guide, illustrated by Elizabeth Biesiot, is also good, but covers a lot of animals we’ll never see up here.

Henry David Thoreau:  Walden
The classic on living close to nature offers modeling opportunities for writing exercises.

Richard Adams:  Watership Down
This epic adventure with rabbits and other animals cast as the characters offers another way to use the natural world as a basis for creative writing.  Just what was that fox whose tracks you identified with the Stall book really up to?

Tove Jansson:  Finn Family Moomintroll
Although a children’s book, this tale set in a woods much like ours uses a variety of characters that can lead to writing on major issues or modeling stories set in our own landscape.

Tove Jansson:  Moominland in Midwinter
A continuation of the Moomins’ adventures and a tie in with snowshoes or cross country skis.

A. A. Milne:  Winnie the Pooh
Again, children’s literature, but a modeling opportunity and, perhaps, a Woozle hunt.

John Clifford and Robert DiYanni, Editors:   Modern American Prose
This anthology contains work by Dillard and Eiseley, as well as others like Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Selzer, and Lewis Thomas.

Please keep in mind the importance of setting when looking at the opportunities you have available to you for writing using the forest theme.  The school forest is not just a place to write about, but offers characters, potential motivations, opportunities for observation and seeing, and issues as well.

 


Last Update: June 16, 2008
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