Golden Hare Books recommend...

The Lost Spells by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris

This magical pocket-sized book is suitable for children ages 7 and upwards.

As the much-anticipated sequel to 2017’s The Lost Words, The Lost Spells builds upon its predecessor’s themes of connectedness to the natural world and the plants, animals and forces that exist there.

The Lost Spells is essentially a poetry collection – though the poems in the book are treated more like spells, designed to be read aloud in nature where they may conjure up the animals and flora they describe. The book is full of nature-based activities for families too, such as foraging guides and notes on British animals and insects: red squirrels, badgers, moths, roe deer and more. The Lost Spells describes many nocturnal animals too, making many of the verses perfect for peaceful bedtimes in my opinion.

Golden Hare has this book in a gorgeous hardback edition with matching colour ribbon bookmark and flowing watercolour illustrations by artist Jackie Norris – perfect for gifting for families to share.

A Fairy Tale Revolution series

This is a series of traditional fairy tales including The Ugly Ducking, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella amongst others, re-imagined by several acclaimed contemporary writers (Rebecca Solnit and Malorie Blackman to name a few!).

Over the years there have been a number of attempts to remix old stories with modern themes, but I think this particular series is the one to have achieved it in the most convincing style. Beautifully illustrated in full colour, with the trademark humour, subversive wit and empathy that the tales’ new authors are so well respected for, any book from this series would make a wonderful Christmas gift for modern boys and girls ages 5+.

The Bear in the Stars by Alexis Snell

One of the most visually stunning and lyrical books we have in our kid’s section at Golden Hare, The Bear in the Stars is fully illustrated in lino printed designs by author/artist Alexis Snell who has also produced various work for the V and A museum and the BBC.

The Bear in the Stars tells the story of the Great Bear, who finds that she must leave her snowy home of many years to find food, friends and a new life as her cold natural habitat melts away as a consequence of global warming and pollution. The book manages to be a timely and heart-breaking lesson about climate change, whilst upholding high quality, imaginative children’s writing and captivating illustration at its core.

This is a kid’s book for ages 3+, but its so beautiful and inspirational that it could easily be gifted to readers of any age and ability.

The Secret Life of Mermaids by Professor Anuk Tola, illustrated by Anja Susanj

Published by one of Golden Hare’s favourite children’s publishers, Flying Eye Books, The Secret Life of Mermaids is a reference book – one where you go to find facts, as opposed to a story book.

The Secret Life of Mermaids is brilliantly researched and complied by world famous Merologist and leading member of the Institute of Merology, Professor Anuk Tola, who has dedicated her life to studying these playful and mystical creatures. In fact, I believe that this is one of the first times that everything we humans know about these underwater beings has been compiled into one beautifully illustrated guide!

Young readers will love discovering an ocean of secret mermaid facts, learning about merpeople in the frozen Arctic Sea to the Pacific Ocean, how they live and learn, what they eat, their fish-like tails and anatomies– and even how to communicate with them! All in all a fascinating, unique and gorgeous book for readers aged 7+.

All Kids are Good Kids by Judy Carey Nevins, illustrated by Susie Hammer

In bouncing text from Judy Carey Nevins and bold illustrations by Susie Hammer, this book explores themes of diversity in a simple format for the baby and toddler age group. All Kids are Good Kids aims to help little ones see that even though some children may look different, speak differently or be from a different place, they still all have lots in common! A fun and compelling kid’s introduction to big ideas around inclusivity and privilege.

The Child of St Kilda, written and illustrated by Beth Waters

An evocative and informative picture book about the other worldly cluster of Scottish islands known as St Kilda.

This true story follows Norman John Gillies, the last child to be born and grow up on the island of Hirta in St Kilda, until it was evacuated for good in the 1930’s. Through Norman John’s eyes we see how the people of the island survived and learn that they lived the same way for thousands of years – fishing and hunting on the rocky cliffs, cut off from the rest of the world. Artist/author Beth Waters keeps us engaged in the story of this now-extinct community by punctuating historical facts about island living with tidbits of information about the unique local wildlife and day to day activities of Norman John.

An important book for any parent wanting to keep this fascinating part of Scotland’s history alive.