If you would like to schedule an interview with Sandi Schwartz or receive a copy of Finding Ecohappiness for review, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or Kent Sorsky Of Quill Driver Books/Linden Publishing at kent@LindenPub.com.
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CONTACT: Sandi Schwartz, email@example.com
New Parenting Book Prescribes Nature-based Fun to Improve
Mental Health and Mood in Children (and Parents)
In our always-on, pressure-cooker culture, children are at special risk for mental health threats. From too much screen time, to navigating social media, to obsessing over grades and extracurricular activity overload, children face enormous stress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year one in five American children — 15 million kids — are diagnosed with a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder.
Fortunately, a powerful therapy to protect childhood mental health exists right outside everyone’s door, argues environmental journalist Sandi Schwartz in her new book Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer (Quill Driver Books, publication date May 3, 2022).
Written from one parent to another in an easy, nontechnical style, Finding Ecohappiness clearly explains the science of how nature improves mental health, while giving parents practical tools to help their children manage stress, anxiety and mood.
“Humans evolved to live in nature, not indoors staring at screens all day. We all have a powerful instinct to experience nature, so creating a daily nature habit can help us feel more balanced. I have found in my own battle with stress and anxiety that connecting with nature can soothe anxiety, calm the mind and promote feelings of joy. I call this connection ecohappiness, and am excited to share this information with others,” says Schwartz.
Nature deprivation is particularly harmful to children and their developing young minds. Children naturally want to play outdoors. Too many children today shuttle from school to extracurricular activities to screen time without the outdoor time most adults took for granted during their own childhoods. We’re not just subjecting our children to unnatural levels of stress while they’re at a vulnerable age — we’re also taking away the time with nature that can help them manage stress.
Finding Ecohappiness guides parents in simple, practical ways so they can help their children develop regular habits of reconnecting with nature to reduce stress and boost mood. These activities are simple, fun for children and easily accessible to all families, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status. Finding Ecohappiness lays out an easy-to-follow plan for incorporating principles such as awe and gratitude, mindfulness, creative arts, outdoor play and adventure, volunteering, food and animals into your children’s daily routine, helping them thrive and live a happy, balanced life. Each chapter also includes an activity checklist and additional resources for further exploration.
Engaging activities highlighted in Finding Ecohappiness range from hiking and bike rides to visiting nature centers and science museums to volunteering outdoors to embarking on ecotourism adventures. Schwartz also introduces readers to unique nature relaxation activities like cow cuddling, animal yoga, forest bathing, float therapy and earthing. But daily ecohappiness can be refreshingly simple — even something as easy as creating a backyard garden can improve children’s mental health. Nature isn’t just for kids, either — doing these activities with your children will tremendously improve your own well-being, too.
A must-read for all families, Finding Ecohappiness will help protect children from feeling stressed and overwhelmed; manage children’s issues with stress, anxiety and mood; and improve family togetherness.
Sandi Schwartz is the founder and director of the Ecohappiness Project and journalist specializing in parenting, environmental and wellness topics. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, National Geographic, Library Journal, Booklist, Yahoo!, MSN.com, Good Housekeeping, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Scary Mommy and more. She began her career at the United States Environmental Protection Agency and National Academy of Sciences. She is also the proud mom of two school-aged children. Learn more at www.ecohappinessproject.com.
Title: Finding Ecohappiness: Fun Nature Activities to Help Your Kids Feel Happier and Calmer
Author: Sandi Schwartz
Publisher: Quill Driver Books, an imprint of Linden Publishing
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Price: $19.95 US
Category: Family & Relationships / Parenting
6″ × 9″ trade paperback, 306 pages, 77 color photos, index. Also available in e-book formats.
Available from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, IndieBound.org and wherever books are sold.
Quill Driver Books • 2006 S. Mary St., Fresno CA 93721 • 1-800-345-4447
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CONTACT: Sandi Schwartz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Book Cover Images
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“Anxiety and depression are spreading among children and teens, particularly in the midst of the pandemic, racial inequity, and political turmoil; screens are dominating children’s lives, between online classes and time spent at home, isolated from peers, journalist Schwartz argues. She cites studies that suggest that connecting with nature on a regular basis reduces stress and boosts mood, and proposes here that spending time outside is a good antidote to anxiety and depression in children (and their parents). The book’s main topics are mindfulness, awe and gratitude, outdoor play, creative arts, animals, food, and volunteering, and it suggests that parents and children spend time together in nature, via activities like outdoor labyrinths, walking meditations, forest bathing, and float therapy. Each chapter ends with an activity checklist and a list of resources and organizations for digging deeper. Caregivers of all kinds are sure to find a nature-related activity they can enjoy with children, and Schwartz’s scientific data is both fascinating and enlightening. VERDICT: A fun resource for adults and children who love the outdoors. Those who want to start making regular time for nature and the outdoors in their household will find this an easy guide.—Library Journal
“It’s a stressful world out there, especially for many kids. Schwartz, who suffered from anxiety herself as a child, looks to the natural world for relief. Being outdoors has been shown to slow breathing, lower blood pressure, and sharpen focus in adults, and the author contends that kids will experience the same benefits. Schwartz focuses on seven different practices and offers clear suggestions on how parents, grandparents, teachers, or youth leaders can incorporate nature into each. She begins with mindfulness, suggesting outdoor yoga, meditation spots, breathing into flowers, and walking barefoot in grass or sand to calm one’s thoughts. The author encourages awe and gratitude by exposing children to rainbows and waterfalls and promotes outdoor play and exploration. Creating nature pictures and journals can make kids more aware, interacting with animals promotes calm, fresh fruits and limited sugar balance the body, and volunteering nurtures the soul. Each chapter ends with a checklist of activities and a list of related books and organizations. Colorful illustrations and practical suggestions make this book a handy parenting resource.”—Booklist
“Finding Ecohappiness is therapeutic. It goes beyond the typical parenting book, providing the science behind the activities it recommends for families. Activity checklists offer up suggestions to parents who might be “stuck” coming up with ideas for engaging play. Highlighted in call-out boxes are sample questions meant to help make teachable moments easier to identify and implement. Links to helpful resources are included throughout, as are beautiful full-color images that align with the author’s message of how tapping into nature and its healing benefits can bring calm to even our little ones in ways that affect their wellbeing from the inside out. The awe of childhood as it should be experienced is found on each page from beginning to end. Schwartz’s book is an exciting and meaningful guide sure to help its audience navigate this important, life-affecting part of the parenthood journey. Highly recommended!—Nonfiction Authors Association Book Awards Program
“As a mom, I saw first hand how connection with nature lightened everyone’s mood. Finding Ecohappiness is a beautiful and informative guide to calming our mind and replenishing our souls in nature for ourselves as well as our children.”—Kyra Sedgwick, actor/director
“In a time when children are under unprecedented environmental and social stress, Sandi Schwartz makes an impassioned and practical case for focusing on nature connection as a way to build their mental health, resilience and happiness. Finding Ecohappiness is, in short, a prescription for reducing the loneliness of our species.” —Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, Vitamin N, and Our Wild Calling
“Finding Ecohappiness opens our eyes to the healing, transformative and healthy influences nature has ready for us. Bring this into your life, read it carefully, the secrets to our happiness are all around us.”—Elisha Goldstein, PhD, author of Uncovering Happiness
“From float therapy and meditation gardens to tree hugging and forest bathing, Schwartz makes a strong case that anybody can find happiness, peace and joy in nature—and she will show you exactly how!”—Linda Åkeson McGurk, journalist, blogger, and author of There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather
“I highly recommend this book to any family interested in accessing the many benefits of the natural world. Sandi Schwartz’s writing style is enjoyable and easy to read while also providing a thorough introduction to how nature is so good for people. She guides the reader through the extensive research and theory in a way that is informative and accessible. The tips and activities are practical and simple to adopt, while also being assured to help any child or family gain the full health and happiness benefits nature provides.”—Dennis Kiley, founder, EcoPsychology Initiative
“Finding Ecohappiness is a welcome and needed addition for every home and classroom. This book is thoughtfully and carefully crafted. It is a comprehensive and practical guide that advises and shapes opportunities to incorporate nature into families’ lives in ways that will make sense for each individual family. Tools and tips are shared throughout, and the checklists and resources at the end of each chapter are ready-made for busy parents, teachers, and caregivers. Bravo!”—Harriet Shugarman, award-winning author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change