John Muir: America's First Environmentalist

by Kathryn Lasky

Hardcover, 2006

Status

Available

Local notes

921 MUI

Collection

Publication

Candlewick (2006), 48 pages

Description

A biography of John Muir, naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, whose travels, speeches and writings led directly to the creation of the Yosemite National Park in 1890 and other national parks that followed. From the meadows of Scotland to the farms of Wisconsin, from the swamps of Florida to the Alaskan tundra, John Muir loved the land. Born in 1838, he was a writer, a scholar, an inventor, a shepherd, a farmer, and an explorer, but above all, he was a naturalist. John Muir was particularly devoted to the high cliffs, waterfalls, and ancient giant sequoia trees that, through his careful influence, were set aside as the first national park in America - Yosemite. Here is the life story of the man who, moved by a commitment to wilderness everywhere, founded the Sierra Club in 1892, a conservation group that carries on his crucial work to this day.… (more)

Original language

English

Physical description

48 p.; 10.25 inches

ISBN

0763619574 / 9780763619572

Barcode

5543

User reviews

LibraryThing member isaacfellows
I especially appreciate the art in this one; the partially unfinished notebook feel of the paintings gives them a dynamism like that of the natural world itself. Muir's life story is engrossing as well, especially his early interest in inventions. It would tie in well with projects about observing nature or conceiving of outlandish inventions.… (more)
LibraryThing member cldruhot
America’s First Environmentalist by Kathryn Laksy is a beautifully illustrated book about John Muir. This book is about the life of John Muir from a young age until his death. John Muir was an active child born in Scotland, he was enthralled by nature and tried to spend as much time in the wild as possible. Muir was also an active learner, who could not get enough books to read and learn from. Eventually moving to America with his family, he became even more engrossed by nature and at an early age started to invent different contraptions, such a “star clock.” Muir eventually travelled across the United States, with each step, becoming more and more fascinated by the nature around him, and documented everything that he seen. Muir eventually became the first environmentalist because of his writings and cause for conservation; bills were passed to create national parks, creation of the bureau of forestry, and the Sierra Club.
This would be a great book to start the process of teaching the different biomes in the United States that John Muir visited. Explain to the students that there are several different kinds of biomes or large ecosystems within their state. Each biome has its own group of plants and animals that inhabit the region. Help the students make a list of these diverse regions such as deserts, mountains, prairie, woodlands, wetlands, oceans, etc. Have the children split into groups each assigned a different biome. Have the children use the library and internet to do research on eight different plants and animals that live in their biome group. Each group will then do a PowerPoint presentation on their biome and present it to the class.
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LibraryThing member dknapp
This book was about the life and works of John Muir. As a young boy, he loved to spend time outdoors observing nature. He grew up in Scotland but at a young age his father took him and his brother to America to be a farmer. They moved to Wisconsin. His father made them quit school to work on the farm but John worked in his spare time teaching himself math, reading novels and creating inventions. At age 22, he left his father's farm to take his inventions to the Madison state fair. He went to university till the Civil War broke out and he went to Canada to keep from fighting. After the war, he returned to the states and traveled extensively. He helped protect and create Yosemite National Park and created the Sierra Club.

This book was interesting to me because it sounds like something I would like to do if a person really could survive without money and travel around seeing all the beauties of nature. The illustrations were good and made me want to go out and see the nature around me.

This book could be used in the classroom to emphasize the need for preserving nature. It would be good to have the children possibly draw a map of all the places John traveled and things he might have saw.
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LibraryThing member jodyjlittle
This picture book biography recounts the life of the environmentalist, John Muir. The story begins with Muir's childhood in Scotland, and his family's move to America in 1849. John's father was often violent and not always supportive of John's desire to learn. John decided to learn on his own. He woke early to read and to create amazing inventions. When the Civil War broke out, John escaped to Canada to avoid having to fight in the war. After the war ended he returned to the United States and worked at a factory that built carriage parts. John was badly injured there, and lost his eyesight for awhile. When he sight returned, John decided to begin a cross-county adventure to Florida to explore the land and the wildlife that he loved more than anything. John was amazed at the palm trees and the strange birds. Next he traveled to California where he fell in love with the Sierra Mountain range. John would spend most of his remaining years in California learning about the land, animals and glaciers and writing down his thoughts on how to preserve the wildlife that he so loved.… (more)
LibraryThing member gildallie
A book to tell the story of the legendary John Muir. How he was Scotland born, then his father took he and his family to Wisconsin. His father was rather strict and didn't believe in any extraneous reading beyond the bible. John Muir was at first an inventor, making several contraptions to assist with time. He eventually takes off for the state fair without assistance from his father. He decides to continue on beyond there, travelling down into the Florida swamps where he contracts malaria. After being nursed to health he heads West to California, falling more and more in love with the wide spaces and high mountains of the lands around him. He lives in California for awhile, taking up the position of sheepherder, doting especially upon the Yosemite valley. Eventually he heads north to Alaska with his little dog "Stickeen".
When he reaches fifty years old he decides to devote his life to preserving the lands he loves. Writing and enmeshed in the cause of conservation. He ushered several distinguished americans through his beloved lands, including Theodore Roosevelt, whom he convinced to create a bureau of forestry to manages and protect the trees of the preserves.
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LibraryThing member KellyBryan
The book is very accurate as it includes quotes from Muir’s own writings. I believe that it is important for children to learn this information because we are in desperate need of saving our planet and the children are our future. They need to be inspired by the environment if we are to do anything about it. Interest of the book would depend on how the teacher presents it. I could see how some children might not be interested in reading it because of how it’s about a person they do not know. If a teacher can present this information in an interesting fun way then I believe students will be interested in this book. I agree with the author’s main arguments. She portrays John Muir accurately and it is clear of her goals to educate children on environmentalism.

This book is a great way to start an environmental lesson as well as to learn about one of the great environmental leaders. Children should be inspired by the environment and it is our job to help them with that.
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LibraryThing member numbak01
This book tells a true story about America’s first environmentalist, John Muir. It explains his dedication to the Earth throughout his life in this inspiring tale that also tells about his legacy. He was a great contributor to the most influential grassroots environmental organization in America. The author takes quotes from the diary he wrote in during his tens of thousands of miles journey through the wildest of nature.… (more)
LibraryThing member champlin
Information Book. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, is most noted for his influence on the creation of the first National Park at Yosemite and promoting the conservation of "wild nature." He opposed those who believed that man was called to take dominion over the earth and that all things were meant for man's use. Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth's resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and begat ultimate loss and poverty by all. His passion for discovering the bounty of God's creation led him from Wisconsin to Florida to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the glaciers of Alaska. This picture book biography of Muir's life takes us from his childhood through the founding of Yosemite National Park. He lived much of his life in the wilderness he so cherished. The acrylic paintings by Stan Fellows reflect the beauty that drew Muir to the wilds of nature. This book would serve as a good stepping off point for learning more about environmentalism as well as inspiration for children to keep their own nature journals. The idea that man can do as he pleases with creation has lost sway in most Christian circles, replaced with the idea of man as steward of creation. John Muir did much to bring this change about.… (more)
LibraryThing member katykids
Informative and entertaining, the story of John Muir is one to inspire the reader to appreciate and respect nature for what it is. With watercolor illustrations, the story is easy to understand, and motivational.
LibraryThing member cejerry97
This story is about John Muir and his experiences/fascination with nature. It tells how John accomplished things such as building a sawmill and studying and writing about glaciers. John was also devoted to the cause of conservation and helped with the creation of Yosemite National Park. This book goes along with the seventh second grade standard, and the third standard for third grade. Would be great during a social studies unit or when learning about nature!
Illustrations: painted
Type: Picture book - advanced
Genre: Biography
… (more)
LibraryThing member funkigurli
This book was about the life and works of John Muir. As a young boy, he loved to spend time outdoors observing nature. He grew up in Scotland but at a young age his father took him and his brother to America to be a farmer. They moved to Wisconsin. His father made them quit school to work on the farm but John worked in his spare time teaching himself math, reading novels and creating inventions. At age 22, he left his father's farm to take his inventions to the Madison state fair. He went to university until the Civil War broke out and he went to Canada to keep from fighting. After the war, he returned to the states and traveled extensively. He helped protect and create Yosemite National Park and created the Sierra Club.

This book was interesting to me because it sounds like something I would like to do if a person really could survive without money and travel around seeing all the beauties of nature. The illustrations were good and made me want to go out and see the nature around me
… (more)
LibraryThing member mtimmzimmerman
This biography of John Muir is ideal for school aged children. It clearly gives students an idea of who John Muir was and the contributions he made to America. The environment is a popular topic in today's society and classrooms. This book tells children how national conservation first began. It is a great addition to any teacher's bookshelf.… (more)
LibraryThing member dimalmani
This book biography narrates the life and the works of John Muir. The book is precise as it comprises quotes from Muir’s own writings. This book goal is to educate young students between 2nd-5th grades about the environment. This book could be a good way to be included in science environmental lesson plans.
LibraryThing member jdieder104
Protecter of the land, conservationist and environnmentalist. John walked thousands of miles across America. He saw first hand how corporation, speculators and others threatened the land. John became a spokesman for the land. Founding the Sierra Club, over 750,000 members today, to build a strong conservation policy to protect the forest and meadows. President Harrison on John's recommendation made Yosemite a National Park. Theodore Roosevelt under John's guidance made created a bureau of forestry to manage and protect the trees of the forest, National Park Service. A great outdoorsman, good book to discuss the founding of the National Parks and what they mean to us today. Talk about conservation and environmental awareness.… (more)
LibraryThing member nicholspdx
An important book about an important man. Any young reader showing any curiosity for conservation, the outdoors, or just learning about the good things one person can accomplish should be encouraged to read this book.
LibraryThing member elmartin
This detailed depiction of John Muir's life allows the reader to gain deeper insight into this legendary environmentalist. His impact on history and nature are insurmountable, which this book highlights. The specific stories and situations are engaging to read. And, the paintings are absolutely incredible!
LibraryThing member BKPietz
Even though I wish that they were not true in the first place, I like when children's book include hard truths. The author could have just as easily left out the parts about Muir's abusive father, but I think this sends an important message to children that even though their past may be hard or bad they can still lead an amazing/purposeful life. I never realized what an ingenious, inventive, and hard-working person Muir was, and just how many areas of interest and research he engaged with. I also never thought about how long ago he lived and am actually jealous of the thousands of miles he walked in his lifetime.

I did enjoy the illustrations, but I wish this book would have included, if possible, real drawings of Muir's inventions, real photographs of him, real artwork that he did, etc.
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LibraryThing member matthewbloome
This was really a well-researched text. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I learned an awful lot about the man behind our greatest national parks and the Sierra Club. This was a bit longer than the other picture book biographies that I've read, so it might suit older elementary and middle school grades better than a younger audience, but it's well worth the read if your given the chance.… (more)
LibraryThing member susan.mccourt
This is a beautifully illustrated story of the life of John Muir. We experience the U.S. wilderness from Wisconsin to Florida to California through the eyes of Muir. Many of his writings punctuate the story. The story focuses more-so on his love for the wilderness and inner drive than it does on his accomplishments in history. An epilogue and other author's notes describe his founding of the Sierra Club, and we get the sense he was well-known and respected. But the beauty of this book is that we get the feeling of love and reverence that Muir had for the outdoors, understanding the motivations behind his external accomplishments. This would be a good companion to a nature walk or climate unit that covers the varied ecosystems in our country. It would also be a good jumping off point for a study of the environmental movement. The book is labeled "age 7-10" but it struck me as more of a 4th or 5th grade read.… (more)
LibraryThing member charlottestudent
This would be an excellent book to go with a unit about the environment, history of national parks, and caring for the earth.
LibraryThing member ekrynen
It would be great to research the different places Muir explored in his lifetime. I would also show students photographs to help them understand what Muir saw on his adventures.
LibraryThing member Annalisebradshaw
This is the story of John Muir who was a famous environmentalist in the 1800s. The story follows his life, his passion for the wilderness, and eventually his influence on President Theodore Roosevelt to enact the bureau of forestry so that wilderness areas could be preserved.
LibraryThing member canderson15
This book is a good look into one of the very first environmentalists, John Muir who traveled around the united states investigating and cataloging all of the different environments that he could find. This book would be good to look at the beginning of a unit looking at different environments that exist around us, such as the forest, swamp, and wetlands as well as the mountains and the artic. Students would be able to research a specific environment that they could find in the community around them and then the class could have an exploratory day where students can catalog and record their findings of the different plants, animals, and conditions that they observe. They will then create a report that they will share their expert information with the class about what they have observed. This can lead to a discussion about how we can best treat the environment that we live in.… (more)
LibraryThing member mrcmyoung
There was a lot I didn't know about John Muir before reading this book. His father didn't want learning to distract John distracted from farm work, so he was told he had to wake up early in the morning if he wanted to study. So John woke up at 1:00 am every day to teach himself math and science. He was an inventor, creating saw mills, clocks, and a bed that tilts up to wake you in the morning (maybe to help him make his 1:00 am study appointments). He was a draft-dodger, heading up to Canada to avoid fighting in the Civil War. But more than anything, he was passionate about nature, and Lasky and Fellows bring this passion to life. I wish I could have known Muir, a man who packed a change of underwear, a comb, a bar of soap and a journal and trekked across wilderness for thousands of miles.… (more)

Pages

48

Rating

(24 ratings; 4.3)
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