This is THE BEST John Muir biography for children. It is informative, engaging, and succinctly written . . . Teachers, parents and nature lovers are going to love it, right along with children.
— Jill Harcke – Co-producer of the John Muir Tribute CD
. . . Muir’s words continue to inspire as educators and wilderness enthusiasts relate the wild-bearded man’s tales to new generations. Among those who have carried the torch lit by Muir is naturalist Joseph Cornell, a man to whom childlike wonder and explosive bursts of enthusiasm are no stranger. Best known for his Sharing Nature With Children series, Cornell has written a new “autobiography” of Muir titled John Muir: My Life with Nature. In this book Cornell channels Muir’s spirit by drawing the content of this first-person narrative from Muir’s own writing. Cornell tells the story as if Muir were alive today, borrowing phrases and lifting stories, but he has simplified , shortened , or combined passages to make the narrative accessible to younger audiences.
Having the tales of a legendary storyteller spun by one of today’s most highly regarded outdoor educators creates quite an effective educational tool. Cornell knows that the value of a good story is its ability hook or draw in the reader. . .
— Taproot – Rob Andrejewski (Fall/Winter 2003)
“No one brought nature to life like John Muir,” writes Joseph Cornell, the author of John Muir: My Life With Nature. “His great love for all living things gave him a rare understanding of the natural world. When Muir spoke of his encounters with wild animals, trees and mountain storms, his listeners said it felt as if they were there, experiencing the adventure with him.
“To stay true to the spirit of Muir, I have told the story as if he were alive, telling the tale himself, using his own words and colorful expressions as often as possible. I have, however, simplified and condensed his words to make them more accessible to young readers. I have also linked the events to keep a smooth narrative flow.
“Muir today is remembered as the father of America’s national parks. His love of nature continues to inspire people everywhere to take up the cause of preservation.”
This book offers an ideal way to introduce Muir’s story and ethos to groups of all ages. Included are suggested activities to explore Muir’s philosophy and approaches to nature. Highly recommended!
— John Muir Award News – The John Muir Trust (Autumn 2006)
John Muir: My Life With Nature uses many of John Muir’s own words to tell his timeless stories of the adventures of his life, in such a way that everyone can enjoy them, teacher and student alike. In this book, one gets to explore what shapes responsible environmental ethics, and helps us understand what molds a worldview that will create future stewards of our planet. By the time most readers finish this book they will want to go out and experience nature much like Muir did, and how Joseph Cornell’s teachings have inspired us since his first book, Sharing Nature With Children did in the 1970’s.
This book is written so as to inspire at any age, and is a certain prelude to wanting to read all of John Muir’s writings and then to use Joseph Cornell’s books to go out into nature and do activities with friends, children, and students to help foster a deeper understanding of the world around us. Many would say that Muir still lives through Joseph’s heart, you would just have to see one of his living history presentations, or the spark he instills in people with his childlike love for everything in the natural world.
At the end of the book Joseph has included some related activities that teachers, parents and students cand do anywhere. This book would serve well as both an evening reader at home for small children, or a classroom book, or one that young people could read on their own or as part of a unit.
— Clearing Magazine Don Wilkinson (Winter 2002)
“Engaging” and “inspiring” describe not only the visionary environmentalist John Muir, but also this delightful book. Gearing this volume to young readers, Cornell condensed and simplified Muir’s letters and articles to tell his first-person account of the father of America’s National Parks. What will captivate young readers most is the passion Muir had from boyhood for nature and all created things. This same passion brought him into contact with bears politer than himself, put him in the middle of wild storms, and compelled him to tramp through Yosemite, one of his favorite places. Eight “Explore Activities” involve readers in further exploration with nature and would be useful for classroom teachers or homeschoolers. Captivating drawings and extant photographs enliven the books pages. The best endorsement for this title is the student who couldn’t wait for me to review it, because she wanted to read it before an upcoming trip to Yosemite. Recommended
— The Book Report – Leslie Schoenherr
. . . Here in 61 easily read pages is an encapsulation of John Muir, written in first person autobiographical form by Joseph Cornell. Cornell weaves Muir’s own words from journals into a story that is accessible to the young reader. Fifteen additional pages take the reader on a journey to start their own journaling adventure, and involve them in interesting ways to explore the facts that make up the history of Muir’s life. Exercises like these make an interesting jumping-off point for young writers from upper elementary through early high school.
Throughout the book there are surprising connections in the story of John Muir’s life to our lives today.
“The idea of preserving land for its own sake was new to most people. Many people opposed the idea – those crying the loudest – were the ones making the biggest profits off our wild lands.”
Who would guess that those thoughts came from the mind of Muir – in the late 1800s! It could have been written today. The discerning teacher can use passages from this book as prompts to help students connect Muir history to current events and their own lives. I highly recommend this book for a classroom library or personal bookshelf.
— Clearing Magazine (Spring/Summer 2004)
This book will convince parents and teachers that contact with Nature is essential to mold youngster’s souls.
— Dr. Nicia Magalhawes, Pres., ECO-Assn. for Environ. Studies, Brazil
Joseph Cornell’s latest book will dazzle young minds with the amazing adventures of John Muir.
— Cleveland Justis, Dir. of Education, Headlands Institute of the Yosemite National Institutes
Joseph Cornell brings John Muir’s voice to children with purity and grace, in words that carry the spirit, enthusiasm and wonder that Muir felt and shared with all. Muir and Cornell are great natural collaborators across the centuries.
— Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., Former National Director, Project WILD and Project Learning Tree
John Muir’s life is well chronicled in this enjoyable biography. The author states in an opening note that the account is written in the first person using John Muir’s “own words and colorful expressions as often as possible.” The narrative traces Muir’s early life from his first efforts with inventions and creative endeavors to his attempts to make the world more aware of the beauty of nature and the need to preserve it for future generations. It includes Muir’s accounts of his many hiking trips, mountain climbing expeditions and camping challenges throughout the U.S. and the world.
This easy-to-read biography was written specifically for students, using a simplified vocabulary. It is filled with photos of John Muir as well as pencil sketches that the naturalist left us. An end section lists ideas for parents and teachers to utilize the book for more than just a text. The book also includes a map of Muir’s travels, a chronology of his life, and a complete listing of credits and further reading ideas. It could easily be used as a class study at many levels from elementary to middle school.
— KLIATT (March 2001)
This very warm and loving story of John Muir reminds me of how important a human life can be for the future when it is filled with engagement and passion for the secrets of nature.
— Ingrid Gulve, Swedish Nature School educator
This is a joy of a book, thanks to Cornell’s masterful renderings of Muir’s words and message. Reading this book is like inviting Nature’s Greatest Friend to go for a walk with you.
— Garth Gilchrist, Muir performer and environmental storyteller
Seen through the eyes of Joseph Cornell, Muir teaches us to be still and listen to the songs of the rivers, mountains and trees that gently provide us with their living wisdom and sense of oneness.
— Brian Manske, (Save Our Future) Environmental Fdn., Hamburg, Germany
John Muir: My Life With Nature is one of the best introductory biographies into the life of this great and influential American naturalist available to young readers today. Told in his own words, the text was compiled and aptly presented by naturalist Joseph Cornell who does full and complete justice in presenting the reader with an accurate and revealing presentation of John Muir’s personality, life, thought, and accomplishment. Although designed specifically for young readers, John Muir: My Life With Nature will also be appreciated by adults with an interest in this unique and impressive man and his contributions to public awareness of the need for conservation and wildlife preservation.
— The Midwest Book Review – The Children’s Bookwatch (Nov. 2001)
Nature educator Joseph Cornell brings the words of a famous American naturalist to a new audience in John Muir: My Life With Nature. Cornell explains in an author’s note that he has retold the story of Muir by taking the first-person perspective as the naturalist speaks of his encounters with wild animals, trees, and mountain storms. Through text that is filled with adventure and enthusiasm, many events in Muir’s life such as a chance meeting with a rattlesnake and an exploration of the Glacier Bay region are highlighted. Sketches, photographs, and maps accompany the text to provide readers with a sense of time and place. The book’s interesting format tells the story of a unique man who heightened public awareness of conservation and wildlife preservation.
— The Reading Teacher(Nov. 2001)
This appealing and easy to read book is based on the journal writings of John Muir, as retold by famed naturalist Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature With Children.
Filled with photographs, lively illustrations, and sketches from Muirs journals, this book lets young readers get to know John Muir as a real person, and helps them understand his love of nature.
— Clearing Magazine (Fall 2000)