Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story

Suzanne Slade
Illustrator:  Jessica Lanan 
Sleeping Bear Press, 2017   ISBN: 978-1585369867

From a very early age Anna loved nature. She loved to be among the trees, to feel the squish of mud between her toes, to raise tadpoles, and to watch nature’s miracles unfold around her.  Sitting quietly and watching meant that she learned many of “nature’s secrets,” which made her love of nature grow even more.

Anna lived in a time when girls were supposed to get married when they finished school, but Anna wanted to do more, and to learn more about nature, so she went to college where she learned about plants and insects. Women were actively discouraged from studying science, but Anna did not let anyone put her off and she kept on learning. To advance her knowledge she began to draw as well.  Wanting to share her discoveries with others, Anna created illustrations for an insect book so that other people could learn about the fascinating bees, beetles, and other insects that share our world.

Then Anna discovered that none of the local schools she visited had any nature classes and she decided that she had to do something about this unacceptable state of affairs. Anna began to teach teachers about nature so that they could then share their knowledge with their students. Believing that the best way to learn about nature is to be out in it, Anna encouraged teachers to take their nature studies classes out of doors. After all, hadn’t she learned a great deal herself simply by sitting and watching?

This wonderful picture book biography introduces young readers to the life and the achievements of an extraordinary woman who dared to follow her passion. She did this even when it meant that she had to push – hard – against an establishment that was reluctant to accept her and that did not want to change.