The Lost Words: Coventry&Warwicks

'Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children.  They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed - until one day, they were gone.'

Robert Macfarlane, author of several books of nature writing, including The Old Ways and The Wild Places, and Jackie Morris, writer and illustrator of many children’s books, were deeply concerned that many words to do with nature - words such as acorn, conker, bluebell, raven, willow, wren - were being taken out of school dictionaries, and that these words would be lost from children's vocabularies, and with them a knowledge and understanding of the natural world.  So they produced a book, The Lost Words.  Robert wrote spells for some of the words - calling these back into our consciousness - and Jackie produced the images.  The book is an object of extraordinary physical beauty, as the words and images intertwine, but also a book of huge importance for our children, indeed for all of us.  It has been received by people of all ages as a triumph.

But it needs to reach all our children, so that they grow up not just to know but also to value these words and what they represent.  This is especially important for children in cities, where green spaces are constantly under threat and children's lives are increasingly removed from contact with nature.  We want this book to help keep fundamental nature words in the vocabularies of children and to inspire them to value and connect with the natural world.

With that in mind, I am raising funds to place a copy of this book in every primary school in Coventry and Warwickshire.  Inspired by a very successful crowdfunding project to give the book to every school in Scotland, people around the rest of the UK are now aiming to do something similar for all our schools.

There are 277 primary schools in Coventry and Warwickshire.  The funds raised will buy a copy of the book for each of these schools, as well as some wonderful teacher's notes that have been produced by the John Muir Trust to accompany it. 

All money donated will go to this project, after the small processing fee taken by the crowdfunding site.  If there are surplus funds raised, these will be used to give a copy of the book to other places where it might be useful - children's centres or, at the other end of the age spectrum, dementia care homes (the book has proved popular and helpful to people suffering with dementia).

I passionately believe that we need to encourage everyone to connect with nature, of which we are a part.  The benefits to health and wellbeing are widely reported and undeniable.  The threats to our natural environment are manifold, and are often born of a lack of knowledge and understanding.  We need our children to grow up knowing the importance of the natural world, knowing the words that describe it and connect us with it, so that the future of our planet and our species is in safer hands.

You can find more about the whole national initiative on the Lost Words for Schools website .

If you can support this project, that would be wonderful.  Please donate if you can, and spread the word.  Go and look at the book in a bookshop, if you haven't seen it already, and see what a thing of great wonder and significance and potential it is, and be inspired to enable all our schools to have a copy of this book.

The campaign is run by the Tree House Bookshop in Kenilworth and Coventry University Library, with support from Kenilworth Books.

Thank you!

UPDATE:  Exciting news - Jackie Morris has generously donated an original painting of a sparrow, painted on a proof sheet of the Bramble spell from the book - everyone who donates will be in with a chance to win this beautiful painting.  


  • Anonymous 
    • £10 
    • 24 mos
  • Charles Budd 
    • £20 
    • 24 mos
  • Jo Richmond 
    • £15 
    • 25 mos
  • Rachel Gladstone 
    • £10 
    • 25 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • £10 
    • 25 mos
See all


Victoria Mier 
Kenilworth, West Midlands, United Kingdom
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