New Genre Personality: The Naturalist

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My new “What’s Your Genre Personality?” Quiz debuts on TPT and in the MrsReaderPants blog store in ONE WEEK! This is a major update that includes four new Genre Personalities, updated bookmarks, updated profiles, new silhouettes (MS/HS version only), and 2020 titles added to all the read-alike bookmarks. If you have already purchased the Quiz, you can get the update FREE by simply re-downloading it.

The Genre Personality Quiz will increase in price when the new version posts on June 30. If you purchase it before June 30, you will lock in today’s price and still be able to get the update FREE. I’ve also now added a digital version of the Quiz for Google Classroom!

Read more about the June 30 update.

I have already introduced you to two of my four new Genre Personalities, The Artist and The Sports Fan. Today, let’s meet The Naturalist!

WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A NATURALIST?

The Naturalist is someone who is interested in nature, the environment, animal rights, and sustainability. Naturalists love being outdoors and get positive energy from sunlight, trees, and natural bodies of water. When Naturalists are indoors too long, they may get grumpy or feel irritable. I know a lot about this Personality because though I am also an Artist and Activist, I most identify with The Naturalist.

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURALISTS INCLUDE:

  • Being outside is a huge source of energy and happiness for Naturalists.
  • They love camping, hiking, riding bikes, and swimming in natural water (lakes, rivers, the ocean).
  • They love rain and often choose not to use umbrellas.
  • They look for ways to save energy, such as turning off lights, conserving water, recycling, and composting.
  • They do not kill bugs or small critters that get into their space. They scoop them up safely and put them back outside.
  • They respect the environment and believe in leaving natural spaces better than they found them.
  • If they are not already vegetarian or vegan, they have at least thought about it.
  • When they see litter on the side of the road, they pick it up and throw it away properly.
  • They may also score high as The Activist Genre Personality.
  • They bring home stray or injured animals.
  • Their pets are rescues from animal shelters or adopted strays.
  • They are passionate about causes like animal rights, planting trees, environmental protection, habitat protection, endangered species, deforestation, pollution, and saving energy. Many Naturalists volunteer their time and/or donate money to these causes.
  • They join or start environmental, tree-planting, or recycling clubs at school.

WHAT BOOKS DO NATURALISTS LOVE?

Younger Naturalists (elementary and early middle school ages) enjoy a wide variety of books, but they are uniquely interested in books about natural science, sustainability, and animals. These students often make a bee-line for the 590s section of the library (animals). The Scientists in the Field series (various authors) and books by Steve Jenkins and Nic Bishop are popular choices for Naturalists. They also love nonfiction books about weather, endangered animals, dinosaurs, plants, and other natural sciences.

For fiction titles, offer books like Hoot and Flush (Hiaasen), Charlotte’s Web (White), and Belly Up (Gibbs) and animal fantasy titles like The Warriors series (Hunter) and The Tale of Despereaux (Dicamillo). They will also enjoy picture books and stories about real-life animals like Saving Fiona (Maynard), The One and Only Ivan (Applegate), and the Owen & Mzee books (Hatkoff).

As they become teens, Naturalists often find passions for certain issues. They may develop strong opinions about environmental issues and animal rights especially. Some will consider becoming vegetarians or vegans, while others will go ahead and adopt that lifestyle.

Teen Naturalists enjoy books like World Without Fish (Kurlansky), No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference (Thunberg), Silent Spring (Carson), and vegetarian and vegan cookbooks. Like their younger counterparts, teen Naturalists enjoy a wide variety of books and genres, not just those that are nature-related. In my experience, Naturalists tend to be strong readers who visit the library frequently.

WHO IS THE NATURALIST BASED ON?

SERA

Sera was a fifth grade student I worked with for the PYP Exhibition a couple of years ago. As a secondary librarian, I volunteered as a group mentor for the PYP Exhibition projects, and I specifically requested  a group with an environmentalist or animal rights project. The group I got was just that: four students who wanted to do their Exhibition project on the horrors of factory farming.

All four members of the group–3 girls and a boy–were Naturalists. All four were passionate about the torture that animals go through on factory farms. But Sera really took her commitment to this topic to a whole new level. At age 10, Sera was already a passionate vegan. She and a few others in her grade rallied for a “Meatless Monday” in the cafeteria, which actually came to pass. This 10-year old girl was definitely my kind of people. If she were 20 or 30 years older, we would have no doubt become fast friends.

MS. JONES

Ms. Jones was my son’s Year 4 (3rd grade) teacher in China. She was also the sponsor of the Junior School’s (like elementary in the US) Eco-Club, which my son joined the second he heard about it. The Eco-Club was a very active part of the school, and I credit that 100% to Ms. Jones, who made sure it all happened.

As an Eco-Club member, my 8-year old worked in the school’s recycling program, made eco-reminder signs for the school bathrooms, and was one of two main speakers at a school-wide presentation about endangered animals on Earth Day. He planted trees at a local mall’s grand opening and ultimately served as his class “ambassador” for the Eco-Club. The ambassador made sure lights and faucets were turned off any time the class left the room.

Ms. Jones was a quiet and gentle soul, but she was a force when it came to the Eco Club. My son stayed in the Eco Club for all three years we were at that school. When it came time to do his PYP Exhibition, my son chose ocean plastic as his research topic.

Thank you, Ms. Jones!

TORI AND JANE

Tori and Jane are a mother and daughter who lived across the street from us for many years. In the time I knew Tori, she went from diapers to teenager. Tori babysit our boys and helped take care of our dogs on the rare occasion we went out of town. She loved animals and could almost always be found playing outside.

Tori is on this list because of her love of creepy-crawlies. She feared no animal, ever, and she was our go-to when snakes got into our house. (Yes, this happens in Texas!) We only had a snake inside the house twice (that I knew about), but both times, we called on Tori to come and remove them. This brave girl marched right in, picked up the offending snake, showed us how “cute” he was, then let him go outside.

I believe Tori’s mother, Jane, was also a Naturalist. The family always had three large dogs, all rescues or strays. We knew this family for about 14 years, so in that time, some of their dogs died. When one would die, they would adopt another to keep the number at three. They had random cats from time to time as well, all strays that found these kind people and stayed. I remember them rescuing an injured squirrel at one point, too.

This family–there was also a husband and two older boys–frequently went on short camping and hiking trips. In the summers, they organized neighborhood barbecues and block parties. At Halloween, the older boys’ rock cover band played music in their garage during Trick-or-Treating time. They were fantastic neighbors, and I know I’m not the only one who was sad to see them move away. I’m friends with Jane on Facebook, and she and Tori currently volunteer at a wildlife rescue farm in Texas.

TIPS FOR LIBRARIANS, TEACHERS, AND PARENTS OF NATURALISTS

Naturalists are often regulars in the library, and getting them to read isn’t usually a difficult task. They like all kinds of different books, but here are some tips to help them find their Naturalist niches:

1. Stock excellent nonfiction about topics Naturalists love. Look for large, eye-catching animal books with beautiful photography. Pretty much anything by Steve Jenkins, Sy Montgomery, or Nic Bishop is going to be a hit with Naturalists.

2. Look for biographies about famous Naturalists, including Temple Grandin, Steve Irwin, Jane Gooddall, and Greta Thunberg.

3. For fiction, animal stories and wilderness survival stories make great recommendations for Naturalists.

4. Older teens will enjoy travel books and magazines, especially those that focus on National Parks, Natural Wonders, and offbeat places to enjoy the natural world.

5. Sustainability, environmental protection, and animal rights…there are so many great titles addressing these issues. You need them in your library both for browsing and for research topics.

6. Give them a peaceful place to read. Naturalists enjoy the sounds of nature, not the sounds of talkative or loud students. Does your library have any quiet time for students who prefer to read in silence? This seems to have become more and more an issue in my time in the library. When is there time for peace and quiet? If students cannot get that in the library, then where can they get it?

 

We only have one more new Genre Personality to debut next week! It’s a big one that I know you will see many of your students in. I’ll post the final new Personality on Tuesday, June 30. This one is extra-special because it will also come with the new update!

Curious about the other Genre Personalities? Read more profiles here (click the link and scroll down about halfway).

Who are your favorite Naturalists? How do you support them in the library?

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