The Lost Words came out earlier this year, with the aim of spreading nature magic after words including acorn, conker and heron were removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, as they were falling from modern use. Jackie Morris and Robert McFarlane decided to do something about this, and help children see the magic of nature that they both clearly feel.
I’ve yet to experience the full book, though I’ve seen many highlights online, featuring gorgeous images and beautiful spells.
I’ve also seen the effect it’s had on people online, losing count of the amount of educators, parents and children praising The Lost Words – and seeing thousands of people go on nature adventures as a result of the spells. It’s also inspired art in many forms: postcards, theatre, music – and I expect to see more art emerging over time as it’s clearly capturing people’s imaginations. I’ve seen many people launch crowdfunders to get it into schools and, more recently, hospices. It’s clearly having a magical effect on people’s lives.
The John Muir Trust put together a wonderful resource pack about The Lost Words, including an Explorer’s Guide to the Lost Words, creative ideas for teachers, and beautiful posters to print out.
While I’m technically an adult, I certainly love exploring and have set myself a challenge to collect all the words on camera.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that I already had photographs of several words: conkers and acorns, brambles and dandelions, ferns and ivy.
However, that still left 14 words to collect over the coming year (I’m setting a realistic deadline to allow for seasonal changes.)
A visit to the wonderful John Moore (not to be confused with John Muir) Museum allowed me to add more words to my list – if in the form of antique taxidermy rather than the real thing. There was a heron…
And an almost-weasel, in the form of a stoat.
It was a real privilege being able to see these creatures up close – along with such delights as a tiny pygmy shrew …
…and a coot with a rather inflated opinion of itself.
The Lost Words Adventure has already led me to explore – and see beautiful things. Join in – and buy The Lost Words if you know a child – or someone who’d like to recapture the innocence of childhood, and have fun with nature.