The magic of books…and Twitter!

As I’ve said before, in some previous blogs, many grown-ups think social media is a really bad idea for kids. I won’t go over this again as I want this post to be joyful, to reflect the encouragement and support of some pretty special people. This post has a connection to nature, so I’m right on track to include this piece of writing on my blog.

A few months ago, I tweeted that I read Katherine Rundell’s ‘The Wolf Wilder’ and the reason for that was my own desire to read more books with strong female characters. My mum is raising us (including us boys) as feminists. She is making us aware of how girls are represented in the vast majority of literature as second-fiddle characters, she is raising lots of other important issues that girls and women face also; such as inequality and subjection by the media and society as a whole.

It was great because fellow blogger and Twitter follower Book Lover Jo gave me loads of recommendations. One of these was Abi Elphinstone ‘s ‘The Dream snatcher’, at first I thought that it might be geared for someone younger, but as my mum said, we can all interpret books according to our age and ability and every mind will think and react differently. So, I dived in and I didn’t come up for air until way after midnight. Luckily, mum had ordered the next book in the series at the same time, so I took another breath, and wow! I have just finished the final book ‘The Night spinner’ and I honestly felt simultaneously exhilarated and bereft! I love reading and the best books for me, are those which ignite my imagination through the landscapes in which they are set, and of course, if they have a connection with the ‘wild’ and nature. Abi’s books have many references to and wonderful descriptions of nature and the relationship the characters have with their surroundings. This is what really hooked me, as a young naturalist. I don’t want to give anything away about the plot or characters but they are books full of adventure, heart, ritual magic, riddles, puzzles and intensely beautiful writing. I think, these books will encourage a love of and interest in nature in all readers. My brother has just started ‘Shadow keeper’ (book 2) and thinks it’s ‘a very extraordinary book, amazing and exciting to read’.

The lovely thing about Twitter, was that after Jo recommended these books to me, Abi connected with me and has been a lovely mentor and encourager of my writing. She really boosted my confidence in my ability to write creatively and she has been almost like a silent whisperer ‘make it more atmospheric, more compelling’ when I’m composing my blogs. She seems to me, to be such a wonderful person with a big enough heart to find time to encourage me, a 12 year old kid who might one day, write a story of my own.  A big, huge thank you to Abi and to Jo!! 

As if that’s not enough, Abi directed me towards the work of the wonderful Robert MacFarlane, I connected with him on Twitter too, and he read and Tweeted my Wildlife Watch article about Asperger’s and nature and my Twitter account went crazy! I got home from school and was stupendously shocked and surprised as subsequently, this site was visited and read an astonishing amount of times! I am so grateful to Robert and I really look forward to reading his books when I’m just a little bit older, mum has assured me that I will fall down the word rabbit hole and emerge very differently when I’ve read his books. I really look forward to that as I like rabbit holes, a lot. I enjoy Robert’s daily tweets so much and I am learning an incredible amount, it’s pure joy to read how words and landscapes are connected! 

There are so many different words for elements of nature and landscape!!

So, before you berate a young person for having what appears to be an ‘underage’ social media account, know that it may have monumentally positive outcomes! My parents help me a lot, supervise me and ensure that my interactions and reactions are responsible and justly represents the person that I am. People like Abi, Robert and my other lovely scribe Tweeter who I wrote about in my Amazing, blazing: Autumn! , Melissa Harrison. are enriching my experience as a budding writer and naturalist – all these writers are very much influenced by nature, wildlife and landscapes. I practically pinch myself every day, that I actually have connected with such wonderful writers, that I just had to write a special thank you!

Please check out all the highlighted links of these amazing human beings and if you’re looking for children’s book recommendations, then Jo will be be your most awesome guide!

This was a very different blog from me, but I hope you enjoyed reading it!





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14 Responses

  1. This is a super blog Dara. I love reading your posts and I love books too. And I also have a copy of The Wolf Wilder which I really, really enjoyed. I thought the illustrations were brilliant.
    Even though I am much, much older, like you I am fairly new to writing and blogging. And as we scribble away our writing is enriched by what we read. One of my favourite books when I was young was The Wind in the Willows. I still read it now, the same small, old battered copy that I first read when I was 8.
    Now we are so lucky to have Robert MacFarlane’s glorious books and the lovely Seasons anthologies from Melissa Harrison.
    There is a world jam-packed with fantastic books out there… I am almost jealous that you will discover some of them for the first time because nothing compares to opening a new book and diving in!!!
    Anyway, happy reading, happy writing and happy adventuring ????
    Bye for now,

  2. Books, writing and nature – what a wonderful combination of interests for a young person! The books you describe sound marvellous – I’m off to check them out further. A well-written children’s book is always a joy for me. I’m in awe of your august circle of mentors and supporters, Dara. You’re a real role model: learning from these experienced authors and naturalists, and in turn setting a strong and positive example yourself. Keep up the great work!

      1. I wonder why there seems to be this gender divide when it comes to reading, Dara. I have 3 children (all adults now). My daughter was a voracious reader but neither of my boys were interested. Yet I would say that they were all raised the same – I read to all of them and there were always books around. On a good note though – my grandsons aged 4 and 7 both love books, and the eldest loves to read himself. So perhaps he will grow up to love books as much as his mother does – and as much as you do! Let’s hope so 🙂

  3. Another brilliant post Dara, and well done to your mum for bringing you all up to be feminists. Keep up the good work – and all that reading.
    Wendy Constance

  4. Also Dara, if you follow me back on Twitter @WendyConstance (I’ve been following you since last year) I can message you & would be happy to send you a copy of my children’s book – adventure set in the Stone Age with a girl & a boy as main characters running away across wild landscape of North America 13,000 years ago

      1. Hi Dara, no need for sorry. I’ve messaged you my email address on twitter, so you can either email me your postal address or send it in your reply to my message.

  5. Dara, thanks for adding new authors and books to my reading list. It’s always a treat to find new voices, especially ones that include nature and wild things. I think that some day, perhaps not all that far away, I will be adding you to my list of book authors to read. Best wishes. 🙂

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