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Harris Center Reads: Water

July 30, 2020
A man kicks back dockside with a good book. (photo © Ryk Venema via the Flickr Creative Commons)

Dive Right In…

Welcome to Harris Center Reads — a monthly, curated list of good reads for curious naturalists of all ages! In August, when many of us are swimming, fishing, paddling, or simply relaxing at our region’s many lakes, ponds, and rivers, we offer suggestions for books about water. Whether you’re thinking about exploring a new-to-you wetland or wondering how to grill your salmon, kick back with a cold drink of water and enjoy one of these staff favorites.

For Adults

Immersion: The Science and Mystery of Freshwater Mussels by Abbie Gascho Landis. This graceful book is a meditation on freshwater mussels, their vital role in our ecosystem, and their struggle to survive in a world impacted at every bend in the river by humans.

Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg. Recommended by the Harris Center’s land specialist and avid fisherman James Newsom, this book will make you look at the fish you eat in a whole new way. Award-winning writer and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg offers a vivid chronicle of four fish that dominate American menus (salmon, tuna, bass, and cod), and charts a path toward a more sustainable future for our fisheries.

Wading Right In: Discovering the Nature of Wetlands by Catherine Owen Koning and Sharon M. Ashworth. Illustrated and co-written by local wetlands scientist Catherine Owen Koning, Wading Right In travels along in the field with biologists and other wetlands explorers. This beautifully written book will make you want to pull on a pair of rubber boots and go exploring!

Picture Books for Kids

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul and Jason Chin. With simple poetic prose and lovely paintings of children experiencing water in all its incarnations, this work of creative non-fiction is an informative and playful dip into the water cycle.

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal. Loved by the Harris Center’s science director Brett Amy Thelen and school programs director Janet Altobello, this beautiful book brings to life the interconnected ecosystem of a freshwater pond, both on the surface and in the blue below. If you like this one, be sure to check out the other titles by this talented author-illustrator team: Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt and Over and Under the Snow.

The Way of the Willow Branch by Emery and Durga Bernhard. Who hasn’t dropped a stick in a stream and wondered where it will travel? This sweet read with remarkable illustrations follows a willow branch on its journey from stream to river to ocean.

For Middle School Readers

World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky and Frank Stockton. A unique blend of graphic novel and non-fiction storytelling, this compelling read for young people will get them thinking about the future of our oceans and all the life they support.

Where to Find These Books

BUY. We’d like to give a special shout-out to our local bookseller, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough! They’re open for in-person shopping, and they’re also offering curbside pickup.

BORROW. In addition, many local libraries have re-opened and/or are offering curbside pickup, as well as a wide variety of eBooks and other digital options. Check with your town library for more information.