Vitamin N is the short title for Richard Louv’s latest book about getting people, especially kids, back out into nature. The extended title is a long one: Vitamin N: 500 Ways to Enrich the Health & Happiness of Your Family & Community* (*and Combat Nature-Deficit Disorder). On the cover is also the statement “The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life”.
The cover boasts a lot and in some ways is a bit too crowded and would have benefited from a bit of simplification. But the lengthy claims are fulfilled throughout the text.
While I didn’t take the time to count if there are a full “500 ways” presented in Vitamin N, I did find dozens and dozens of wonderful ideas throughout the book.
The book is broken down into eight parts, each with a related focus and several tips. The format of these tips is to showcase an idea with a paragraph or two. Supplemented with these ideas are extended thoughts with other people’s voices and essays about real-life examples.
Most of the ideas represented in Vitamin N center around families and their extended networks, but also on building communities. This is especially important as not only have we been losing our connection with nature, but we’ve been losing our ability to communicate with our neighbors, even more now with social “networking” taking the place of real face-to-face interaction.
This book is full of great ideas and is easy to pick up and find a few ways you can connect to nature immediately. A few (or even several) ways are a bit cost-prohibitive, but the majority can be done on the cheap and don’t require a lot of latent natural knowledge or skills.
You won’t need to or even want to try all the ways, but Vitamin N is a worthy addition to your nature library and would make a great gift for anyone who has a direct influence on children.