New Book Announcement: Toss, Kick & Run
Lawn Games Book Represents Change of Pace for Pesticide Activist
FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS NOW I have focused my energies through the SafeLawns Foundation to educate folks about how to grow lawns naturally. Beginning in 2012 I’m thrilled to announce my career emphasis will alter slightly with the publication of a ground-breaking book tentatively titled: Toss, Kick & Run! Get Outside and Play the 40 Greatest Lawn Games of All-Time, which was co-written with actress and best-selling author Victoria Rowell.
Rooted in the desire to inspire people the world over to use — rather than just look at — their lawns, parks, playing fields and playgrounds, the book and media campaign will focus on old-fashioned fun. Set for publication by Storey Books (a division of Workman) next spring, the book will arrive on the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the world’s first video game known as Pong in 1972.
Nothing against video games unto themselves, but when doctors and psychologists take the full measure of the impact of electronic devices on children they find the very nature of childhood itself has profoundly changed. Our kids are suffering, both physically and emotionally, as a result.
This new book, featuring awesome outdoor games from around the world, gives parents the tools to, as the title suggests, get outside and play — most often with their children. The rules, history and anecdotes are included for all the classics, from Badminton to Bocce and Croquet, to more obscure pastimes such as Quoits, Kubb and Double Ball.
“The book is a rollicking ride down memory lane,” said Rowell, who like me was born and raised in rural Maine in the 1960s before starring in numerous films and television programs including Diagnosis: Murder and Young & the Restless. “The book is also more than nostalgia, however. It’s a celebration and guide to activities that bond families, teach essential life skills and nurture an appreciation for all the great outdoors has to offer. I see a place for this book in every library, school, daycare center, boys and girls club, senior facility and, of course, at home.”
I can tell you Vicki and I had an absolute blast in our face-to-face writing sessions, laughing aloud at childhood memories of Kick the Can, Red Rover or Dodgeball and Double Dutch — which I, for one, could never master. The pages are filled with personal reflections and also discovery; neither of us had ever heard of at least 10 of the games we included in the book before we sat down to do our research.
Typically, I guess, for both of us, we don’t intend to let the book be the whole show. Full-blown family festivals are in the works, along with media tours, book fairs, games demonstrations, as well as web sites, videos and more.
And for those of you who may be asking by now . . . “What about SafeLawns?” I can tell you the core message will not be lost. When parents bring their families outside to play old-fashioned games, they ought to be doing so in a toxin-free environment. We’ll get that point across clearly.
We’re also going to need your help. As we organize a new campaign — with the working title Lawn Games for Life — we’ll be looking for volunteers, staffers, sponsors and partnering organizations. We’ll be networking in with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move movement as well as numerous other organizations with the common goal of reducing childhood and adult obesity and disease.
We’ve been told time and time again this book is a missing link. It’s not enough just to go outside, but rather it’s better to be out there having fun with these time-honored games the same way we used to when we were kids.
The data shows that children today spend 75 percent less time outside than we did. That’s nothing short of tragic.
We hope this book and campaign can begin to change that.
Note: We’ll keep you posted on release dates, book signings etc. as the information becomes available. Email me at Paul@SafeLawns.org if you’d like more information about getting involved with our campaign.