Be a Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith
Several years ago, I learned that the Oxford Junior Dictionary had decided to remove over 100 natural words from its pages—my namesake, “brook,” being one of them. The editors no longer felt the words had relevance for today’s children.
At first I was angry, then disillusioned, and ultimately very sad. But the power of being a writer is that you can create a world you want to see. I decided to write a book where some of these lost wild words would be celebrated and recognized beyond the pages of the dictionary. To make sure they remained an integral part of our language and our children’s stories.
Nature has always been a crucial part of my life, and my daughter Mimi’s, too. We were fortunate enough to raise her on our property in Bend, Oregon with many of these wild words naturally present. I wanted to write a book that would allow children everywhere to experience the beauty of nature and feel what it’s like to wander and explore.
It’s absurd to think that nature could ever be irrelevant to children. In fact, I’d argue that in the technology-filled world we now live in, nature plays a more important role than ever to provide a place to dream, rest, and wonder. I hope parents, grandparents, libraries, and schools will all become Keepers of Wild Words by sharing this book—and most importantly, the words it celebrates.
Brooke Smith is a poet and children’s book author. Her most recent children’s book is The Keeper of Wild Words (Chronicle Books | March 10, 2020). She lives in Bend, Oregon, at the end of a long cinder lane. Brooke writes daily from her studio, looking at the meadow and many of the wild words she cherishes. Follow her on Instagram at @BrookeSmith_Author