What is it about the outdoors that you love?
The short answer:
Running down really big hills going WHEEEEE!
The long answer:
When I sat down to work on Let’s Go Outside!, I wanted to celebrate the joys of being out in the fresh air. I didn’t want it to seem too earnest or preachy – thou shalt not curl up in your bedroom with a tablet! – but I did want it to feel upbeat and exciting. We all spend so much of our lives hooked up to technology, after all, but there’s nothing that compares to that deeper, more primal connection to the world around us, whether we’re three years old or a little more dated. (I’m still three at heart.)
To contradict the previous paragraph by being earnest for a moment, the place beyond the windows is where I – and billions of others – feel most alive. This has probably always been true, even when I didn’t know it. My most vivid childhood memories stem from being outside, where so many of the senses are at play. If I think back to collecting conkers, for example, my mind goes straight to the chilly East Anglian wind, mossy horse-chestnut trunks, muddy fingers, and the smells of autumn. But also a deep sense of freedom, and with it happiness.
Alfred Wainwright, the great hillwalker who climbed and described all 214 fells in the Lake District, famously said that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. I love the message there. Unless the conditions are torrential, there are endless pleasures to be had from wrapping up and getting outside, building dens, spotting birds, digging holes, walking dogs, climbing trees, playing hide-and-seek, chasing the breeze, whatever it might be. Just being out there and loosening a bit of energy is blessing enough. And it’s free!
I’m delighted with how our book has turned out. Marina’s illustrations beautifully capture the thrill and innocence of early-years adventures – she’s just brilliant – and the design team have worked wonders. I’d love to think that Let’s Go Outside! might help children to strengthen their relationship with nature. Spending time outdoors has brought me so much unfettered joy over the years, so it makes me extremely happy to see the book take its own first steps outside the front door.