Archives for posts with tag: children’s non-fiction

I must admit that this week has been tough. I have not found it easy to do anything, least of all write. A lot of my fellow writers have said the same: it is hard to concentrate at the moment. And I am sure you are feeling like this too if you are trying to do schoolwork and are sick of being indoors.

And then I heard a lovely snippet on the radio of a woman encouraging us to look more closely at the small things in life. She said that it would be good for us to focus and concentrate on something as everyday as a pebble or a leaf or a petal. She went on to say that if you look carefully and make yourself notice everything about the object, you will find yourself feeling calmer. She also suggested drawing the object, spending time trying to get all the details right.

So I went for a walk and took some photos of the lovely things around me.

I spotted this beetle on a rock. I love the way the sun is catching its shell. Drawing it was fun as I focussed on trying to get that lovely shine on its back. I think it is a Bloody-Nosed Beetle, judging from my spotter’s guide, but if you think it is something else, please let me know in the comments section!


My spirits lifted this week when I saw how many beautiful wild flowers are starting to bloom. Look at this delicate bluebell unfurling:

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If you just walked by without looking closely, you might think that a bluebell is just purple, but when I looked carefully I saw that there was actually a shade of blue in those petals as well as more than one shade of purple.

And the pretty Common Dog Violets caught my eye:

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As did these Common Stitchwort:

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So if you are starting to get bored with the same old walks and activities, why not try changing your perspective by getting up close to some objects or flowers that you would normally walk right past without noticing? And have a go at drawing them. You might feel calmer as a result.

Whatever you do this weekend, stay safe and well.


Nature Month-by-Month – a children’s almanac by Anna Wilson, illustrated by Elly Jahnz is published by Nosy Crow and The National Trust and is available to order online.

Your local bookshop can take orders over the phone and post books out to you, too. Give them a call!



There is an old country saying: “The blackest month of the year, is the month of Janiveer”. It’s true that although the days are getting a little longer, the mornings seem darker than ever. And some days the weather is so damp and dark and foggy that you could be forgiven for thinking the sun had not bothered to get up at all. On days like that, it takes a lot of effort for us humans to get up and out of the house!

But if you can find a way to motivate yourself to get outside in January, you will always be rewarded. Even on the bleakest, darkest, wettest day, if you keep your eyes open you will see signs of life and the promise of spring. Hazel trees already have catkins hanging from their branches in January; birds are out and about, trying to eat as much as they can to survive the winter months; owls can be heard in the evenings and dark mornings and you might see a fox or a badger on your way to school if you keep your eyes peeled. In some parts of the country you might see snowdrops or even daffodils poking their green shoots up out of the earth.

Why not make a nature notebook, as shown here in my 2020 almanac, Nature Month-by-Month.

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You can make it from scraps of recycled paper and make your own cover out of an old cereal packet or part of a cardboard box. Make it small enough so that you can slip it into your pocket, then you can take it out and about with you. Your winter walks will be more interesting now, as you’ll have a reason to get out and about – you can now note down all the wildlife and plant life that you see and notice how the world around you changes as January creeps towards February. Happy walking!