Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors

Chronicle. Nov. 2022. 192p. ISBN 9781797214290. $24.95. TRAV
This book by Mapp (founder of Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit that connects Black explorers to nature and the outdoors) will lure readers with its glimpses of the author’s family history and picturesque descriptions of her youthful adventures frolicking on a family-owned California farm. More than 30 other writers from ages 10 to 98 also contribute essays about the outdoors, illustrated by vibrant images of Black people in joyful, triumphant, or still moments in indoor and outdoor settings. Each essay is inviting, conjuring up visions of abundant days spent in painted landscapes of splendor. There are even surprising bits of poetry peppered among the essays. This book is ultimately about joy and how the outdoors is in the domain of Black people, but readers do not have to be Black to enjoy it. The sense of joy and theme of connecting with nature are universal. Mapp’s personal stories, along with the other pieces, make this book a valuable addition to any library that wants to encourage exploring the healing beauty of nature.
VERDICT The contributors’ varied experience levels and expertise make this book accessible and fun; don’t miss the valuable resources mentioned in the essays. Recommended for school and public libraries.
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