by Gerald & Loretta Hausman

Trumpeter Books, $15.95, 148 pages

A Mind with Wings tells the solemn tale of the life of Henry David Thoreau for teenagers. The co-writers contend that “No writer since Thoreau has covered more sacred, scientific, political, or natural ground.” Whether you agree with him or not, one cannot help but be struck by the influence of his ideas which still fuel a burgeoning counter culture. His thoughts, though sometimes radical, are usually more rebellious than revolutionary. A parent would probably not be surprised to find out that their teenagers have already heard them expressed, but they may want to caution the young not to take rash actions. As presented, Thoreau did not always wait until he was ready.

A Mind with Wings is a moving tribute to man whose ideas were shaped by experiences in the outdoors. Thoreau went to the woods to see what they would teach him and to better understand himself. As told here, Emerson said he went to Walden as a student and returned a teacher. He later went on to express his ideas and the lessons learned in writing. As stated here, he was the first to argue that people needed parks. The book does collect some interesting anecdotes from his life, including some of the mistakes he made and failures he overcame. It is nice to know that many of his dreams have since been embraced.

Ryder Miller