Over the past couple of weeks, Suzanna has often told people that we have a new book coming out and then looked over to me and grinned. That’s because every time I think about this work being public, being out there and available, I start to blush and panic. It’s a terrifying, beautiful thing to write a book, even one beautified throughout by Suzanna’s gorgeous photographs of play.
The New Adventure Playground Movement: How Communities across the USA are Returning Risk and Freedom to Childhood covers the experiences and reflections from last winter’s tour, during which we went across the USA and back again. We traversed 11,000 miles, making 16 stops and delivering 30 events – all in two months, and one tiny yellow car. The tour itself was intensely, deliberately public, but the reflections that followed felt private and so more vulnerable to share. But it’s vital that we do share our reflections, that we tell our stories, and that’s how this book came to be.
In these pages, we share stories and interviews with leaders in the new American Adventure Playground movement. These are people we’ve trained and learned from, colleagues we are honoured to consider friends. This includes Erin Davis of Play Free Movie, Erin Marteal of the Hands on Nature Anarchy Zone and Jeremiah and Erica of Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play, and many more!
These extraordinary people are putting in the hard work necessary of building this movement from seed. They’re scaffolding it, through events and programming. They’re helping it grow, with grant applications and volunteer recruitment. They’re making new connections in their local neighbourhoods and with fellow play advocates around the world. More than this, they’re staying connected to best playwork practise as it develops and making the efforts needed to stay sharp, to remain responsive to the evolving needs of the children and families they work with. We were honoured to meet and work with them to support this process in person.
Their stories will move and inspire you, and provide clear examples of how fellow play advocates are making children’s right to play a reality every single day.
The New Adventure Playground Movement is available for purchase now on Amazon, with independent retailers to follow shortly. We are very excited to be bringing this book to you, and hope you enjoy being a part of this adventure, too.
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