The joy of being wild is celebrated by many of this category’s shortlisted books – which include both fiction and non-fiction titles – including young naturalist Dara McAnulty’s Wild Child, a family friendly guide to exploring the natural world on our doorsteps, beautifully illustrated by Barry Falls. Katya Balen’s 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal winning novel October, October, illustrated by Angela Harding, is the life affirming story of a girl who fights to find the space to be wild in the whirling chaos of the world beyond her beloved woods. The lure and healing wonder of wild places is lyrically explored by multi award-winning novelist Kiran Millwood Hargrave and her illustrator partner Tom de Freston in the couple’s first collaborative work, Julia and the Shark.
Complex environmental issues are tackled in highly original and imaginative ways in The Biggest Footprint by writer/illustrator brothers Rob and Tom Sears, who re-imagine the whole of humanity as one massive giant to personalise the issue of climate change for younger readers and show how humans can do a better job of looking after our planet. Acclaimed nature writer Melissa Harrison’s By Rowan and Yew is a magical tale of a disappearing wilderness and the three tiny, funny, eternal beings – the hidden folk – who are fighting for survival.
Beautiful artwork designed to inspire children’s imaginations features in all of the shortlisted titles, including Around the World in 80 Trees, a stunning visual celebration of trees both familiar and unfamiliar, highlighting their importance and how we can help them have a healthy future, by travel writer Ben Lerwill and illustrator Kaja Kajfež. One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth by Nicola Davies is a spectacular tour of Planet Earth and a powerfully rallying cry against climate change, with delightful illustrations by Jenni Desmond.