I don’t know why exactly, but when Autumn comes around I immediately reach for our copy of The Lost Words – the beautiful spellbook by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, which inspires children (and us big kids) to discover, celebrate and hold on to the magic of the natural world.
Maybe I’m opening this wonderful read again now because this time last year, book reviewer John Fish launched a campaign to raise funds for every primary school in Somerset to get a copy... or maybe it’s because words like conker, bramble and fern make me long for those Autumnal woodland childhood walks with my dad.
Well, whatever prompted it, I was really excited to hear that something brilliant is happening in Somerset very soon, to continue to bring The Lost Words to life in our county.
Inspired by the book... writing, poetry and art has already started to be created in schools across our county town and it will be at the heart of a very special event called ‘Finding the Lost Words’. It's all happening at Queens College on October 24th and to discover more, we caught up with Kathryn Davies, Director of Development at Arts Taunton, and asked her four questions we thought you’d love to know the answers to.
Here's what she had to share with us about a unique creative project that's keeping the magic of nature alive at the TYCA festival later this month.
1. Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind ‘Finding The Lost Words’ & how it all came about?
The Lost Words is an amazing book, written for children to remind us all of the words we are losing from our language. It literally showcases, in words and pictures, the words which were removed from the latest version of the Children’s Oxford Dictionary. Words like dandelion, conker and lark.
Many of us at Arts Taunton love the book. And when we heard that John Fish had been campaigning to make sure every school in Somerset had one – our idea was born! This month, we’re holding three sets of workshops in schools throughout Taunton. Pupils will get dedicated sessions with a naturalist from The Somerset Wildlife Trust, a poet, and an artist from Go Create and the young people will respond in their own way to this celebration of nature, in words and pictures. Their creations will then be at the heart of a very special festival event.
2. What can people expect at the event and what are you looking forward to the most?
On the day, people can expect to see whole class-loads of students proudly presenting their work in modern spoken word and poetry, while their fantastic artistic creations are beamed up on the big screen for us all to enjoy.
Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing who will ask Stephen Moss, our presenter and host, what it was like filming the Blue Whale sequence in Blue Planet with Sir David Attenborough!
3. What effect do you think the book has had on young people all across Somerset and what are you hoping the event will bring to the county?
I'm sure the book affects all who read it. The poems are so clever and funny and the images are heart-stoppingly beautiful. By keeping the story of our fragile planet alive, and celebrating it through art, we're helping our young people make their own contribution to preserving the planet we love.
4. Tell us a secret about ‘Finding The Lost Words’ that no-one else knows!
Originally, it was going to be held in a tiny café! However, interest in the event has grown and grown so much that now we're in the huge hall in Queen’s College, so there's plenty of space for everyone - and it’s only £5. Please join us and be amazed by what our young people want to show us.
Well, we'll be there and can't wait to see more of the brilliant art and poetry that's been produced, from the heart, by the young people of Taunton. If you fancy joining us on October 24th from 4 - 5.30pm at Queens College in Taunton, you can grab your ticket right here.
Our dog, aptly named 'Flower', is a big fan of The Lost Words and definitely wishes she could come along! ;)