Norwich bookseller and author launch initiative to inspire children with nature book giveaway
- Credit: Nick Butcher
From acorns to wrens and conkers to dandelions - a Norwich bookseller and local author hope their new initiative will see children explore nature through words.
Henry Layte, owner of the Book Hive in Norwich, has teamed up with author Patrick Barkham, who is based in Hoveton, to deliver free copies of an award-winning book to children.
They visited St John's Primary in Hoveton to hand out the first copies of The Lost Words, by Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris, which contains paintings and poems celebrating 20 everyday wild species.
It was inspired by a crowdfunding campaign in Scotland, which saw 2,087 copies bought for every school in the country. Author Susan Hill, who has lived in north Norfolk, then suggested people should buy copies for their school.
Mr Layte, who founded the Book Hive nine years ago and lives in Aylsham, said: 'Despite living in a relatively rural location, owning a bookshop in Norwich and having small children of my own has made me all too aware that the threat to children's access to both the outdoors and books is very real.
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'Robert and Jackie's masterpiece will not solve those issues overnight, but it is quite capable of instilling a life long love of both things in any chid who picks it up.
'If getting a few more copies into schools helps that to happen, our idea will have succeeded.'
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After the visit, the pair donated 20 books to primaries across north Norfolk and Broadland, including North Walsham, Aylsham and Reepham.
Mr Barkham, who has written books including The Butterfly Isles and Islander, said: 'The Lost Words is a wonderful book for children and adults – inspiring us to enjoy and cherish everyday nature all around us.
'As parents we all worry about our kids spending too much time in front of screen indoors. I hope books like The Lost Words will encourage us all to get outside again this spring.
'The more teachers, librarians, parents and children discover this brilliant book, the better.'
The duo will be selling copies of the books at a discounted rate for parents and teachers who want to stock their school libraries.
The Book Hive, which opened in 2009, has won several awards, attracts overseas visitors and received praise from Stephen Fry.