We so often see children arrive for their holidays glued to devices, horrified to discover that there’s no tv in their cabin – but when they leave, smiling and joyful having spent time getting muddy, building dens, following animal footprints and collecting leaves and sticks – then we know we’re doing something right. There is ample evidence to connect the decline in natural play to the decline in children’s wellbeing. The Lost Words is a book that captures this urgent need to protect our little ones against the erosion of wonder and understanding of nature.
In recent years the Oxford Junior Dictionary has introduced new words that reflect the age we live in. In doing so they have also removed around 50 words that were all drawn from the natural world. Their thinking was that these words are now less relevant as children spend less time outside and more time with screens, tablets and phones. The Lost Words is a heartfelt response to that by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.
It is a book of ‘spell poems’ alongside the most beautiful illustrations that restores these missing words. Words like Acorn, Blackberry, Bluebell, Conker and Kingfisher. It’s inconceivable to us that we could face a world where future generations don’t know what these things are. What a tragedy that would be. This book is magic – it’s designed to be read aloud – a book for adults and children where the spirit of the natural world is conjured and celebrated. If you’re looking for a beautiful heirloom book for your children or grandchildren, then this is it. And if you needed any further reason to get outside with your little ones - then finding and naming everything you discover on your walks in the park or playtime in the garden is it. Without passing on this wisdom to the next generation our world will become a very colourless place indeed.