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There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather

Cover: 'There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather'

Staff Review: "There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather" by Linda Åkeson McGurk

★★★★

How much time have you spend outside today? Many of us could clock in at less than one hour, especially on days when it’s below freezing or raining. Perhaps it is closer to an hour or two on really nice days. Current research shows outdoor time is directly linked to our health and mental well-being. If you are a parent interested in fostering a love of nature and appreciation for the natural world in your children, I definitely recommend starting with this book! Kids who grow up with a love of nature will value and protect nature in their adult lives. 

McGurk is an advocate for free outdoor play due to her experiences with her own daughters. In her book she narrates her extended visit to rural Sweden where she grew up. She takes along her young daughters, four and seven at the time, and enrolls them for the spring semester at local schools. The positive transformation in the two girls’ engagement with the natural world and their peers is outstanding to her. She claims that it’s in large part due to the increased outdoor time the girls get in school as well as the high level of social trust present in their community in Sweden. 

A journalist, McGurk backs up her statements with abundant research on the psychological development of children and the benefits of free outdoor play. She includes testimonies from other Scandinavian and American parents. She compares Scandinavian parenting norms to their American counterparts on topics including outdoor napping for infants and toddlers, the transition to school, and the freedom for kids to be unsupervised at a young age. 

I learned quite a bit about Scandinavian parenting culture, forest schools, and balancing screen time with "green time" from this book. Though it came across as a little heavy on research at times, the author’s style was very fun and easy to read. Helpful suggestions for further reading are also included with each chapter. 

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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