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May 2021 Children's book of the month


By Melissa Harrison

Cover art by Lauren O’Hara

£7.99 | ages 9+

A tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder, By Ash, Oak and Thorn couldn’t be more relevant to the environmental concerns of today, brought to life by three tiny, funny, eternal

beings – the Hidden Folk.

In By Ash, Oak and Thorn, three tiny, ancient beings – Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as guardians and caretakers of the Wild World – wake from their winter sleep. But when their ash tree home is destroyed, they set off on an adventure that takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world.

By Ash, Oak and Thorn is full of natural history and seasonal observations, introducing readers to real plants, birds, animals and folklore, including things that children can find in their own gardens, local parks, or on walks with their families. In this way, the author hopes to inspire a lifelong love of nature. Set in both countryside, suburbia and the inner city, readers can easily transport the action to their own worlds – and see and understand their own environment anew.

Melissa Harrison is an award-winning novelist and nature writer. Her books have won the

European Union Prize for Literature, been shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award and longlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She lives in Suffolk. Find her on Twitter: @m_z_harrison

‘All of my writing has a common purpose: to try and connect readers to the natural world, because I think it is transformative. It’s vital both for us and for nature that more people are engaged with it, and can develop a deeply felt, experiential connection that is imaginative and emotional and will inspire us to change our behaviour. I wanted to write something that was accessible and inclusive, funny and magical – that didn’t prioritise the countryside over the city, and that allowed children to understand that other creatures are as real as they are – that humans are not the only actors on the stage.’

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