Wednesday 11 December 2013

Children Become What they See

Starr Meneely is the author of the recently-released children's picture book, What A Lovely Sound! This is a sweet story about Melody Jane, a young girl who travels out of the city and finds music in nature.

Today Starr is sharing a guest post on children and nature, as well as offering a copy of her new book to one lucky reader. Enjoy her post, and enter the giveaway below!


When my son was small we sat one afternoon waiting in the car for my husband to run an errand. I heard his sweet little voice comment suddenly from the back seat:

“Look! the trees are hugging!”

I looked up and out of our car. We were sitting next to a row of trees and the wind was tossing these tall elegant conifers backwards and forwards. I noticed what he saw and couldn’t help but smile. Where the trees met at the top, as they swayed in the wind, they did indeed look like they were hugging.

Once again, like so many times throughout my mothering, I marveled at the way a child sees the world around them and I was reminded just how important it is to give them beautiful things to look upon. It is, after all, the things that they see and hear and feel that become a part of who they are.

THERE was a child went forth every day;

And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;

And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

-Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass

Sometimes I believe that life is not unlike this little verse. Of course, imagination and beauty can be found anywhere but our senses are heightened when we sit in Nature. Our thoughts soar above us and our hearts expand around us. We become just a bit of what we see and where we are.

I take my children outside because I want them to learn how to feel...wind, rain, mud, grass, cold, hot, and the freedom of wide open spaces.

I take my children outside because I want them to learn how to hear...birdsong, running water, the way their voices bounce all around them in magnificent echoes.

I take my children outside because I want them to see...tiny, up close, minute little things and vast, expansive, gigantic spaces.

Nature has a gentle way of inspiring imagination and creativity that cannot be replaced by anything else. We find nuance of colour, shading, light, and shadows that cannot be re-created indoors. We ramble around shapes, textures, edges, and curves that fall in and out of our eye line. These are the things that structure the way we think; build the way we live. These are the things that shape our children’s dreams and inspire their imaginations. I take my children outside because I want them to see beauty and become what they see.


Starr Meneely is generously giving away one copy of her children's picture book, What a Lovely Sound!, signed by both the author and the illustrator. For a chance to win, enter via the Rafflecopter system below.

This giveaway is open worldwide and will close Sunday, December 15th at 11:59pm EST.

About the Author

Starr Meneely is the author of the children’s picture book “What A Lovely Sound!” (illustrated by Susan Merrick). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Alaska where she studied under Dr. Timothy Smith. She owned the Littlerose School of Music in Anchorage and taught at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy. Starr writes children’s books in a little village in Surrey UK, where she lives with her husband and four children. She loves to hear from readers both big and small.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. What an adorable thing for a child to say and observe. And so true, too!

  2. So glad I found your blog. I love just letting the kids create their own play in nature. No playground so jungle gym. They create their own.

  3. I love to walk along the green belt with my little one. She sees bugs and birds and leaves that I would have skimmed right past. It takes forever to walk anywhere, and I love every second.