Wild Reading

Published on: 05 July 2020 Author: Sophie Kirtley

Sssshhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone… I’m hiding… I’m reading… Sophie Kirtley, author of The Wild Way Home, on combining her two great loves and going Wild Reading.

Sophie Kirtley photo by Ben Turner with The Wild Way Home book jacket

Do you ever want to sneak away from the hurly-burly of your day, to tiptoe off to your own special place to daydream… or doodle… or read…?

I certainly do! Life can be especially busy in lockdown or in the summer holidays with lots of people all cooped up together under one roof. And even if you’re surrounded by the people you love most in the world, sometimes it can all just get a bit … too much.

In my book, The Wild Way Home, the main character, Charlie, also has that overwhelmed feeling, that need to escape. Luckily Charlie has a special place to run to; a wild place full of fun and adventure but also full of peace and tranquillity. It’s a wood called Mandel Forest…  

Charlie’s special place is actually based on a real forest where I used to play when I was a wee girl, growing up in Northern Ireland. And to this day I still love the escape and the dreaminess of being in wild places – I like to go for adventure walks through deep green forests and to lie back and watch the clouds in sunny meadows. I also love reading. So one of my favourite things to do is to combine my two great loves – and to go Wild Reading!

Wild Reading? What’s that?

Well, you know how wild swimming is all about swimming outdoors in places which aren’t full of rectangles, so wild reading is just the same … it’s all about reading outdoors. Sometimes I simply read a book in the garden and sometimes I bring a book with me on a long walk and read it up a tree or at the top of a mountain or with my feet in a cool stream. Who says books can’t have adventures too?

Wild Reading in a tree

So why don’t you have a go at some Wild Reading too? If you have a garden, find a cosy corner to read in or if you don’t then maybe bring a book with you on a walk one day. When it’s chilly you can curl up under a blanket… or when it’s boiling then perch beneath a shady tree.

Wild Reading den in the garden

You could even make your own reading den – use whatever you can find to build yourself a little hide-away, just big enough for you … and your book of course! If you’re in a wood you could build a shelter with fallen sticks and crawl inside. Maybe in a meadow with lovely long whooshy grass you could hide yourself away in a little homemade nest. In the garden we use pegs and blankets to create a cosy corner to read in...and often our two cats come in to snuggle up too.

Wild Reading in a hammock

If it’s absolutely pouring with rain then it might not be a Wild Reading kind of day… in that case you could always create your own reading den indoors – draping blankets over  a table and snuggling up underneath with a teddy and a book and a torch is a lovely way to spend a wet afternoon.

If you do have a go at Wild Reading… or at creating your own Wild Reading Den I’d love to hear all about it. Ask a parent or teacher to send me some of your Wild Reading photos via my website www.sophiekirtley.com or through Twitter @KirtleySophie.

I wish you lots and lots of very happy Wild Reading adventures!

Watch Sophie Kirtley talking about The Wild Way Home

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