In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary -- widely used in schools around the world -- was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these "lost words" included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions -- the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual -- became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.
Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a "spell book" that will conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book -- a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.
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About the Author
Robert Macfarlane is the author of the prizewinning Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places, both of which were New York Times Notable Books. He has contributed to Harper's, Granta, the Observer, Times Literary Supplement, and London Review of Books. He is a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
JACKIE MORRIS grew up in the Vale of Evesham and studied at Hereford College of Arts and at Bath Academy. She has illustrated for the New Statesman, the Independent, and the Guardian, collaborated with Ted Hughes, and has written and illustrated over forty books, including beloved classics such as The Snow Leopard, The Ice Bear, Song of the Golden Hare, Tell Me a Dragon, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and The Wild Swans. Jackie Morris lives in a cottage on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire.
PRAISE FOR ROBERT MACFARLANE, JACKIE MORRIS, AND THE LOST WORDS
FINALIST, WAINWRIGHT PRIZE
"Stylish and melancholy, The Lost Words is a book to savour." -- Wall Street Journal
"A sumptuous, nostalgic ode to a disappearing landscape." -- Kirkus Reviews
"This union of natural history, poetry, art, and whimsy is, indeed, a truly enchanting all-ages book of life to contemplate, read aloud, and share." -- Booklist
"My top book of the year." -- Spectator
"Gorgeous to look at and to read. Give it to a child to bring back the magic of language - and its scope." -- Jeanette Winterson
"The most beautiful and thought-provoking book I've read this year." -- Frank Cottrell-Boyce
"A breathtaking book." -- New Statesman
"Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris have made a thing of astonishing beauty." -- Alex Preston