Welcome to the New, Improved Free-Range Kids Site!

Hi Folks! Well, it only took me about two years longer than I’d hoped (okay…three), but here at last is the new Free-Range Kids site. Allow me to point out some wonderful features (besides the ads, which are a first for me! Don’t hate on them — making a living is good!)

Our tour begins at the top of the page where you’ll find, among other things, an updated tab for “My TV Show,” including a 2-minute clip. (Still seeking a gutsy U.S. station to take the series!) There’s also a spanking new “Speaking Engagements” page. And the “Press” tab has some videos of my appearances on The View, The Today Show and Anderson Cooper. Woo hoo!

Then, on the left, you’ll find all sorts of ways to “follow” Free-Range Kids, along with a pithy mission statement.

Underneath that, there’s a link to a list of non-fiction books with Free-Range relevance, which I hope to keep adding to. What I’d also like to create, at some point, is a list of wonderful Free-Range-ish children’s books, like “My Side of the Mountain,” and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” If anyone wants to volunteer to organize that — or start recommending books in the comments below — weigh in!

You’ll also find a “store” that has some great t-shirts, including my favorite, available in children’s sizes: “Don’t Bother Abducting Me…I’m a Pain in the A**.” Is it a special someone’s birthday? Hmmm! Also available are shirts and hats emblazoned “America’s Worst Mom” (along with a Dad version, too). And thanks to a reader long ago who came up with the idea, there’s also a free, downloadable “Free-Range Kids membership card” for kids to carry with them. It explains to anyone wondering what a child is doing out in the wild that the parents are aware of the situation, and cool with it, and if there’s any problem or question, here’s a number for the worried onlooker to call.

Below that are ads (right now there’s a sponsored survey), and a link to “advertising opportunities,” in case you know of someone who’d like to get his/her name in front of about about 7,000 – 10,000 very brilliant people each day!

Moving over to the right hand side of the site: We’ve got a search bar, and then a lot of links, including my piece brkbfseait
de resistance, 
a whole lot of REASSURING CRIME STATISTICS gathered over the past four years. These are suitable for printing out and bringing with you to the playground, PTA meetings, family reunions — anyplace you’re likely to hear, “I’d love to let my kids play outside/walk to school/stay home by themselves for a little bit like we did, but TIMES HAVE CHANGED!”

Below them you’ll find a list of “Hot Topics” categories I’ve slotted all 1,235 posts-to-date (!!) into. And alas, the one thing not yet on this site is a “Find a Free-Range Friend” feature. It would allow folks to type in some basic info and find out if there are other Free-Rangers nearby to connect to.  This item, however, turns out to be a very tricky thing to program, so please stay tuned. Or, if you want to program it, just let me know!

And the WAY to let me know is by virtue of contacting me — which you can now do by clicking on the “Contact” tab at the top right. At last!

So that’s the basic tour. It took a lot of time to build this new site, and the reason it is so attractive and multi-faceted is because it is the work of Eileen Mullin, web designer extraordinaire, who was brilliant, good-humored and incredibly patient for several years!  Thank you, Eileen!  Thank you, too, my husband Joe, for so much advice and support. And thank you, readers, for being the lifeblood of this site. Your stories inspire, engage and enrage me. As they should. – L.S.

70 Responses to Welcome to the New, Improved Free-Range Kids Site!

  1. Uly September 7, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    But no forum. And a captcha… did you need that? Were you overloaded with spam?

    Oh, I have a headache and don’t like change. I’m just complaining.

  2. Susan September 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    A couple picture books for your list…

    “Trust Me Mom” by Angela McAllister – out of print but probably available at libraries. It’s about a boy’s first walk alone to the market and how he copes effectively with all the trials mom didn’t warn him about, including a ghost, a witch, bears and aliens. My 9 year old has outgrown all picture books but still loves this one. It’s a shame that it’s out of print – I guess there aren’t enough parents interested in preparing their kids to be confident making that trip to the market.

    “Cottonball Colin” by Jeanne Willis – a worried mouse mother literally wraps her little mouse in cotton balls to keep him safe but he shows her outside play is worth the risk.

  3. Allison September 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Recently re-read the classic “Charlotte’s Web” with my sons. Did you ever notice the section with the rope swing in the barn? How’s it “dangerous” but they let the kids play on it anyway! Hooray! Also, just letting the kids spend so much time ALONE with ANIMALS and WALKING from one farm to another is reason enough for it to be considered free-range.

    See also: Stuart Little. Even if he is a mouse-child, he is given a wide berth for exploring IN THE CITY and that should be commended, right?!

  4. Colleen September 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    My Side of the Mountain and The Mixed Up Files are two of my all time favorites. Any book that can make a kid want to live in a tree or a museum is ok by me! I also LOVE The Phantom Tollbooth, The Westing Game (where a kid makes a killing in the stock market!), and so many others.

    I own some of these, and hope to add to my collection for my son, so I’m happy to help organize and/or read & review or whatever!

  5. VinceL September 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Yes, a forum would be a nice addition to this site.

  6. Jennifer September 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    oh happy day! I am so excited for the Free Range Kids book list — I wrote you once about organizing it. I don’t have time anymore to be in charge of it, but if you want some sort of committee or something I could help out

    But no free range kids book list would be complete without Roxaboxen (Alice McLerran) or On My Way To Buy Eggs (Chih-Yuan Chen). I would love to write spotlight reviews of these books when the time comes.

    I think it would be great to have a booklist, but once a week do a Free-Range Kids book review highlighting one of the books. I could commit to doing one of these a month if anyone else wants to join me!

  7. Eric September 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    The Dangerous Book for Boys, and the Daring Book(s) for Girls, not to mention all the Cub- and Boy Scout Handbooks.

  8. Leslie September 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    “There’s also a spanking new “Speaking Engagements” page… ”

    Do you mean brand-spanking new?

    Love the site. LOVE the idea of children’s book lists.

  9. Erin September 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Looks great, Lenore!

    I love lists of books for children and young people, and I thought I’d suggest a couple for your list:

    Alabama Moon by Watt Key
    Where the Red Fern Grows! 🙂

  10. paper fox September 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    The site looks great, Lenore, and I love the idea of a book list.

    JM Barrie – Peter Pan
    Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Little Princess, The Secret Garden
    Phillip Pullman – the His Dark Materials trilogy
    Zilpha Keatley Snyder – The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid
    Sherman Alexie – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

  11. Lollipoplover September 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I like the updated mission statement.
    “Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from….”
    I would add RECESS to this. I still baffles me that kids blowing off steam during school is viewed as a dangerous thing.

  12. pentamom September 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    It appears that in the changeover, some of the comments posted after a certain time yesterday got lost. Not only some I wrote, but some that came before mine but after some others that appear.

    Speaking for myself, it’s not a big deal, I just noticed it. Congrats on the new design.

  13. Christi September 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    For the “find a free range friend” feature, there is a way to set up a Google Map that you can log into (people would have to get the password by e-mailing you) and then people can put a “pin” with their name on it. That way you can see if anyone free-range is local to you. By clicking on the pin people can e-mail each other.

    Unless, of course, we fear that such a map would point out to the crazies exactly where to go for lightly supervised children 😛

  14. Jessica September 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Maybe it speaks more to my generation (70s), the movie most certainly did but the book is awesome.

    I’d pass on the forum. Those get sort of messy and unless you plan on moderating them they can get messy beyond words. As in plain fighting via words.

  15. backroadsem September 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    I would love to work on the fiction book list!

  16. Elizabeth September 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Love the new site, and am very pleased that it is now super easy to contact you. Also loved the moral on the crime statistics page: “Your safest bet is to leave your child with a stranger.” Excellent!

  17. pentamom September 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Christi, I don’t think I’m paranoid but I’d be hesitant to put my info out there on a completely wide-open website like this. My e-mail and exact physical location only go out on secure sites or directly through e-mailing or messaging to known persons. It’s not that I think anyone’s going to come and take my children or anything else comparably violent, but there are enough crazies and weirdos out there that I don’t need the hassles, and sometimes a bit worse than hassles, that putting my e-mail on a link that anyone can access would open me up to. I suspect a lot of people feel this way.

  18. LRH September 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Right on Lenore. I think I’ll check the store out. I’ve long wanted T-Shirts that espouse what I believe. All I need now is one that says “friends don’t let friends buy Apple,” ha ha.


  19. Susan September 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    My vote for best Free Range kid book is ‘Where The Red Fern Grows.’

    Congrats on the new site, it looks great!!!

  20. Cynthia812 September 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    I’m changing my handle a bit because another Cynthia has been posting. I love the stats page, but I think that they are still misleading in a paranoid direction, particularly about kids hurt by relatives. When you say “31% of murdered children were killed by their fathers”, people forget that you’re talking about 31% of the .00016% of children killed in a given year (based on 1000 deaths/62,000,000 children 0-14). The vast, vast majority of kids aren’t in danger from their parents, either. That percentage is probably a bit high, too, because I don’t know if the 1000/year is based on 0-14 or 0-18. People really don’t grasp how truly tiny the risk is.

  21. Kate September 8, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    You named two of my absolute favorites but if you’re including fantasy off the top of my head I would add the Narnia series, the “So you want to be a Wizard” series, and the Harper Hall trilogy by McCaffrey (part of the Pern series written for young adults).

  22. Silver Fang September 8, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Congrats on your new site. I hope you reach lots of people.

  23. BL September 8, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    My favorite book as a boy was about a very free-range guy:

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.

  24. Deborah Caldwell September 8, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    This is so wonderful, Lenore. The three years it took to glue it together does give it a great foundation.
    Pentamom, I am thinking of my days back in Boston when I started my first effort as an entrepreneur as a Bed and Breakfast agent when the idea was brand new. I was the first one to list us as B&B in the Yellow Pages. We needed only two listings to have our own heading. We had been under Rooming Houses before that. That was in the seventies when we had to explain ourselves until we were blue. No one had ever heard of B&B, except in the U.K.
    My point is this: B&B’s take anybody who sends them money and goes there to stay. In all these years, no one has experienced rip-offs or robberies because they are treating strangers as guests. B&Bs advertise themselves everywhere. Any creep could, I suppose, go in and take good things, or murder good people.
    But they don’t.
    Do we know why? Is it the circles that we travel in that prevent the wierdo from feeling comfortable there? Is it the level of trust vs. abandon that just seeps over into these circles? Whatever it is, our privacy is blown away forever and ever anyway, so in my mind, any effort short of barenaked streaking and shrieking is not worth the worry. Be friendly, and carry on.
    Love from GrannyDeb

  25. Deborah Caldwell September 8, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Book suggestion: Free At Last by Daniel Greenberg, Sudbury Valley School Press, Framingham, Massachusetts

  26. nobody September 8, 2012 at 2:47 am #

    At first, I thought I read “Spanking Engagements”. Now wouldn’t that be some good, old-fashioned, kinky fun!

  27. mamarae September 8, 2012 at 2:57 am #

    Love it (and very timely updates for me, as I’m researching a brief essay right now). My only suggestions:
    1) Have a photo (yours or some stock pic) so that your site or specific posts can be pinned on pinterest and links to facebook are more noticeable;
    2) Speaking of facebook, no facebook page? I don’t think it takes much to set up a fan page which can automatically share post links as they are published.

  28. Lauren September 8, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    I grew up reading Enid Blyton’s series’. The Famous Five, the Secret Seven, and I think the Adventurous Four. All stories about kids solving mysteries and sometimes getting into (and out of) serious trouble.

  29. Kathy September 8, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    Excuse me, but I can’t find anything here asking for suggestions for free range fiction books for children. I would love to see such a list and could contribute many suggestions for excellent ones I have read to my children. However, I can’t find anything about fiction on Lenore’s site. Have I missed it somewhere?

  30. gap.runner September 8, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Congratulations on the new site.

    I like the idea of having a community forum. We can post articles that we find either about free range or helicopter parenting, our own experiences raising free range kids, and our experiences with trying to convert helicopter parents. Literature, both for kids and new parents, could also be one of the sub-forums.

    More suggestions for free-range literature include: Huckleberry Finn, the Harry Potter series, and Escape from Warsaw (also known as the Silver Sword).

  31. Stephen Metcalfe September 8, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    Congrats on getting the new design out. It looks super!

  32. Jeff September 8, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Nice look, and just in time. Our school for our 3 3/4 year old just sent home one of those obnoxious “safe kids” packets.

    For round 1 I was very gente and just wrote “no thank you” on the envelope. If they press I now have a clear link to get my statistics from. There will be no round 3.

  33. Ruth September 8, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    I’d like to suggest A Practical Guide for Raising a Self-Directed and Caring Child by Louis Lichtman as a parenting book. While not explicitly Free-Range, there are large sections on how to not do too much for your children and how to talk to them about difficult subjects. Plus, there is a lot of data (with references!) about different parenting styles and situations. I read it just after reading Free Range Kids (finally got a hold of a copy!) and found them to go together nicely.

  34. Vicki September 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    The fictions books I remember reading had the free range element in them. After all, a book isn’t going to be very interesting if it is about a child who isn’t allowed to leave his house or yard or go off on his own. I think it would be hard to find an exciting book that didn’t involve free range ideas or at least a child who breaks the rules and goes off on his own without the parents knowing!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your site and look forward to reading more in the future.

  35. Twopea September 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm #


    Really enjoyed reading the book recommendations, love the
    “I’m a Pain in the A**” tee, and the new mission statement made me lol.

    AND u r broadcasting reassuring crime statistics like a boss.

    A big thumbs up!!!

    PS: Think a list of free-range kid lit would be endless. (Not that that means it’s not worth doing.) Who wants to read about kids sitting inside watching TV or playing video games? Now making a list of THOSE books would be a challenge.

    PSS: Another t-shirt idea: Remember the “I’m with stupid” with an arrow that points to whoever is standing next to the person wearing the t-shirt tee-shirt? Howbout “I’m with” and the arrow goes all the way around to the front of the shirt again, where it ends, and then the words ” myself” ” A Free-Range Kid” . Dating me horribly, isn’t it?

  36. Yan Seiner September 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    @Kathy: on the fiction thing, let kids read what they want. Just expose them to a lot of different material, and let them start a book and put it down if they don’t like it.

    Boys will read different books from girls. This is changing to some extent with gender crossover fiction like the Hunger Games, but if you look at all the current vampire soap operas they are aimed squarely at girls, and girls read them; I don’t know of any boy who actually follows them.

    Google for “why johnny won’t read” and you’ll get an eyeful of why boys don’t read. The bottom line is that the vast majority of adults that small kids come into contact with are women, and women pick the books that they read as girls.

    Boys aren’t interested in that at all, and most women aren’t interested in what boys read. Read some of the early Heinlein, “Have Spacesuit – Will Travel”, “Starman Jones”, “Glory Road”, these are all great books for boys. Ben Bova’s Orion series is another great boy series. A lot of people consider this trash. It may be, but it’s fascinating and imaginative, and it provides strong role models, and all of the characters succeed through hard work, intelligence, study, learning, and perseverence, life lessons that boys need to learn.

  37. Beth September 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I, too, have noticed many missing comments from the old site, just fyi.

  38. Beth September 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I didn’t get captcha though!

  39. Edward September 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Book idea: “Erasmus – with freckles” by John Haase 1963. (Film adaption: “Dear Brigitte” with Jimmy Stewart and Bill Mumy). Great Free Range Kids stuff.
    As for the new site, I hope you can favor advertisers who favor the Free Range Kids idea. Be nice to see it incorporated in their ads.

  40. Ivynettle September 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    I think I just found the answer to a question I’ve been asking myself for a long time…why do so many kids’ books have main characters with dead or otherwise absent parents – maybe it’s simply that kids long for independence, and how better to gain that than by removing the parents from the picture?

    Now, let me look through my library… I don’t have children, but I kept many books from my own childhood…
    seconding Enid Blyton, definitely (I still love the Famous Five and Adventure series), and Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn, Harry Potter…
    Anything I’ve ever read by Astrid Lindgren
    Dragons of Ordinary Farm + sequel by Tad Williams/Deborah Beale
    There’s more, but it’s all in German, and and never (to my knowledge) translated into English.

  41. gail September 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    What about Kipling’s “Kim”, for older kids? Talk about a self-reliant boy!
    Also by Kipling, for younger children, “The Elephant’s Child” in the “Just So Stories” is very, very free-range (although without much support from his family…).
    “Captains Courageous” or “Stalky & Co” are a bit more difficult to read but teens might enjoy them, too, if they are good readers.

  42. Donna September 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    “A Wrinkle in Time.” The kids free range around the entire universe and save their father.

  43. pentamom September 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    I didn’t get captcha, either. Does it depend on whether you have a WordPress login?

  44. pentamom September 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Deborah, I’m not afraid of getting robbed or anything like that. I’ve just had my share of weirdos from the earlier days of the Internet, before I held my identity a bit closer, start bombarding my e-mail and stuff.

    Now, is my e-mail being bombarded by weirdos a real danger or threat to me? No. But I don’t want to deal with it, and I suspect others feel the same. So I don’t put a link to my e-mail or my location on a fully Googlable page anywhere on the Net. Even on some private, members-only groups that you have to known by the moderator to join, I only spell out my e-mail in bot-proof form. If I were trying to make a living off of what I do here, it might be different. But it’s not, so I prefer my (relative) privacy. I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way.

  45. Janet September 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    No captcha here either!

    And I like the addition of the “Contact Lenore” link. Although some of us got around the lack of it before by having kept any e-mails Lenore may have sent in response to comments on the website 😉

  46. Stafir September 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Hmm book suggestions. As a kid there’s the usual trio by E.B. White.

    Charlottes Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little.
    The Narnia Series was also loved by me.

    I tried the LOTRO trilogy pretty early on in life as well.

    Xanado (think that was the name).

    Several others have already been mentioned..but I need to agree with the initial thought too..whatever they want to read. I mean sure check it for content you do or don’t agree with..don’t let them read something you morally oppose..but in general just take em to a library and pick a book from any section..even the non-kids sections.

  47. renee September 8, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    books: Gavin de Becker with his book: The Gift of Fear. It teaches parents to teach their kids to trust their instincts about people and situations rather than blind fear of everyone.(The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker).

    And the Boxcar Children series better make it to your fiction book list! How about Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys?

  48. Stephenie September 9, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    I support you, I think your cause is great because it really puts kids first (contrary to the politically correct opinion) and kids really need an advocate who will stand up against populist belief. I do hope you get a show, best of luck to you.

  49. Amy September 9, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    This link on the crime info page is broken AND CHECK OUT THIS: VIOLENT CRIMES VS KIDS AT HISTORIC LOW NOW SINCE 1975: http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/sites/default/files/71_fig01_0.jpg

  50. KKK September 9, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    My Side of the Mountain is a horrible book.

  51. Jenny September 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    The Boxcar Children!

  52. Library Diva September 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Congrats on the new site, Lenore!

    For free-range fiction, I’d suggest any of Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s books, but especially “The Changeling,” “The Egypt Game,” and “The Headless Cupid.” A thread that runs through all three is the secret lives of kids — each are invovled in things that they protect from adults due to adults’ potential trivializing or disapproval of the activity.

    I like the “Find a Free-Range Friend” feature. Certainly, no one would have to use it if they weren’t comfortable with it, but it’s a nice way to help one another out. I always think it’s a beautiful thing when a virtual community spills out into real life.

  53. SusanG September 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink; Where the Lilies Bloom and Trial Valley by Vera and Bill Cleaver; Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away, plus the entire Melendy series by Elizabeth Enright; Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh; The Magic Summer and Thursday’s Child by Noel Streatfeild; all of the Danny Dunn books by Williams/Abrashkin.

    These are all books I read as a child – my nine-year-old daughter has read all of the Danny Dunns and is now entranced by the Enright books.

  54. kathleen September 10, 2012 at 4:12 am #

    I haven’t been able to get the site to load in Firefox ever since the changes. It’s fine in Internet Explorer, but in Firefox it gets stuck in a rapid load/refresh loop and nothing happens.

  55. MCeline September 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    I absolute love your website and have been an avid follower.

    My two youngest (kinder and 1st) love the Magic Tree House series – a brother/sister duo just like themselves who go on all sorts of adventures and return in time for dinner. Mom or Dad only call for them from the doorstep, so far (we’re on book #6). I’ve yet to read about them frantically searching the neighborhood or calling 911 despite the kids seemingly being gone for a few hours at a time.

    Thank you for empowering us to empower our children again! It feels good to have someone else out there speaking up for our kids, too.

  56. Julie September 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Alexander McCall Smith has some great books for kids (the Harriet Bean series is good). I also like anything by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables).

    I think a really good non-fiction book is “Raising Kids Who Can Protect Themselves” by Debbie and Mike Gardner. Don’t let the title fool you. It’s very free range. They make clear that most people are great but occasionally you’ll run into someone who’s not so great. They help you teach your kids what to do about those few people while maintaining the confidence that the world is a good place that your child can handle. It could be very helpful for some of those paranoid parents who are sure that the world is a terrible place.

  57. Lauren September 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I have a huuuge list of suggestions to add to the list, too, but first I would love to help organize a list of children’s books!

    No doubt the list would be HUGE, so it seems to me it would be very useful to be able to sort it out – by sub-genre (mystery, fantasy, etc), reading level, the year it was published, things like that.

    You might also want to look into some sort of partnership with a bookseller site like Amazon – one where, if someone buys a book from them through a link on your site, you would get a bit of the profit. I’m sure that would be helpful in maintaining the site and getting some more of the features you spoke about added! Or maybe it’s even possible to organize a list of recommended books within the Amazon site? I’m not sure if that’s possible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is.

    This would be another endless list, but maybe in the future it would be possible to also have a list of free-range kids movies – you know, for when it’s raining too hard to kick the kids outside. 🙂

    Please email me if you’d like me to organize this; I’d be glad to!!

  58. Erica September 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Book recs: Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield is about an 11-year-old boy who is blinded in a firecracker accident. He has to learn to read Braille, get around with a cane, and eventually gets a guide dog (whom he names Leader).

    He travels 400 miles on a bus with no family members to go to the guide dog school. He flies on a plane alone to get back. After he’s back, he gets a job, walks to and from school with just the dog for *part* of the trip, and then leaves the dog at a friend’s house and walks the rest of the way alone, with just his cane. He goes on scouting trips with the dog.

    It’s a terrific book showing not only that kids can be independent, but that a disability doesn’t end that–that kids should be given the tools they need to be as independent as possible.

    Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren is a children’s classic that belongs on the list. While not as realistic as many of the others, it celebrates the values of independence and exploration, and shows that strange people aren’t necessarily dangerous people to kids.

    I’ve put together a quick Googledoc with the books listed in this thread, except for LotR (while a wonderful series, there’s nothing in it specifically supportive of adventurous children) and “Xanado,” which I couldn’t track down any information on.

    There’s a lot of blank spots. I haven’t had time to look up authors yet, and haven’t decided how to deal with series, but it could work as a starting point and a place to collect a list to develop into a useful resource.

    The googledoc link, which is open to anyone to edit, is at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av40T15LLqWMdGdTZDJockNTVE5mODNQQmxZRlRrNVE or http://bit.ly/RxQEZS

  59. Nicholas September 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    I have limited free time these days, but I’m a web applications developer and don’t think the find-a-friend thing would be too difficult to program (and I think it would be incredibly, indescribably useful). If you can’t find anyone else to do it (sorry, didn’t have time to read the comments today) please let me know and I can probably take care of it for you. Just two limitations:

    1) I’m short on time so it may take some time for me to get a chance to work on it.

    2) My area of expertise on server side scripting is ColdFusion, so your web host will need to support CF for me to easily write it.

    Please feel free to email me.

  60. paranoia destroys ya September 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m glad to see Follow My Leader suggested. You once identified it for me after mentioning a quote from it. “You can’t expect the world to round its corners for you because you’re blind.”
    I hope you have some say over what ads people see to make sure they are not for something you find ridiculous like baby knee pads. One pitfall of a facebook page is they sometimes place ads for competitors on your page such as another restaurant when one have a cafe’.

  61. Taylor M September 11, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    I put “The Great Brain” series on the google doc. I loved them as a kid.

    The funny thing is that just about any book written more than 25 years ago probably counts as a “free-range” book. It’s a good thing some of these books made it to “classic” status so that they can still be part of school curriculums.

  62. pentamom September 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    No problem in Firefox here.

  63. Gwyneth September 12, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Looks good, and I hope to start sharing some of those crime statistics slowly over the next few months on Facebook and other parenting board. All at once would probably be a bit too much…but it’s great to have some facts readily available.

    As for kids’ books, a terrific series that is much newer than most of the more classic books that have been mentioned is “The Mysterious Benedict Society”. Not only do these kids do things on their own (and their parents are OK with it), solve problems, and are allowed to be alone with men who are not their father, they save the world, too!

  64. Gwyneth September 12, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Oh, and I don’t see “Holes” by Louis Sachar on the list either.

  65. Teresa September 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Thank you Erica for the link to list books. I’ve made some additions & asked my children for further suggestions.

    As a homeschooling mom of 2 grown children (ages 23 & 26) I can attest to countless hours of delight spent reading together.

    Concerning the library debate, I can certainly understand both points of view. Often there are disruptive children in the library, accompanied by their parents, who are glued to the computer screen & oblivious to their annoying children. It’s up to the librarian to deal with this, & they seldom do.

  66. KyohakuKeisanki September 14, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    Where is the article archive? I can only see the latest 10 articles.

  67. Tsu Dho Nimh September 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm #


    Something on the old site made pages load at the speed of snails, and this one is peppy.

  68. Beth September 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    I’m a little lost too when it comes to reading articles older than the last 10. Is there somewhere to do that besides searching hot topics?

  69. Emily Horacek September 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    I’d highly recommend _Where the Red Fern Grows_ about a boy who goes out hunting with his dogs night after night and takes care of business both with and without parental oversight. Also the series _A Series of Unfortunate Events_ is about three siblings that manage to overcome all kinds of obstacles, including horrible guardians and sinister enemies, all while dealing with the loss of their parents.


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