Let’s Go Outside Blog Tour

This beautiful book is an ode to nature and being outside! I was so excited to be able to send author Ben Lerwill some questions about this book. His answers are as sublime as the book and illustrations by Marine Ruiz.

Let’s Go Outside is your latest book for children, where did the idea come from for this book?

It came about during a particularly cold winter snap. From what I remember, it was one of those weeks when icicles start forming on the end of your nose! The book is a celebration of spending time outdoors, whatever the weather. I have two kids of my own, and there’s nothing quite like the glow they have when they’ve been playing outside. I still remember that exhilaration of being out in the fields as a boy, coming home exhausted but happy. It’s often so much easier for kids (and adults!) to flop in front a screen, and obviously there’s a time for that too, but I wanted to highlight the joys of being out in the fresh air, without it getting preachy.    

I like that all your books are linked to the outdoors, wildlife and activism, are these great passions of yours?

They are! There’s so much fantastic nature writing out there now – for all ages – partly because it’s such a rich topic and provides such an endless source of inspiration. I’ve worked as a travel writer for the past two decades, and over the years my focus has shifted onto the places and experiences that really matter to me. These days I spend a lot of time writing about wildlife, walking, and different forms of outdoor adventure.    

Do you find it easier or more challenging to write for children?

That’s a really interesting question. Unlike some children’s books I’ve written, Let’s Go Outside is all about brief texts for very young children – in this case, giving more space for Marina’s soaring illustrations – so the natural assumption would be that it’s easier. But in many ways it’s no different to writing for adults. The way I see it, you have to think about your readers, how to engage them, which words to choose, and how to make those words effective. It’s something I really enjoy.  

How do you do your work and research?  Do you begin with an idea and then research or does your research spark ideas?

I’d say both are true! In my experience, the seed of an idea can start forming at any time. That might be while reading a book, while talking to friends, while walking the dog, or even while working on a completely different project. But more often than not the idea comes first, then the research helps to get it into shape.  

What plans do you have for future books for children?

Ooh, lots! One thing I’d love to work on is a global, sport-based book. I’m a bit of a sports nut, so I’ve always been fascinated by the way different games and pastimes have taken root in different parts of the world. I’m also keen to do a book on trains. Other than walking and cycling, it’s easily the best way to travel, right?    

Why do you think it is so important for children to spend time outside in nature?

My wife’s a Forest School teacher, so I’m constantly hearing about children who are absolutely thriving from time spent outside. There’s just so much that’s brilliant about it. It encourages an early appreciation and care for nature, of course, but the outdoors is also a space to explore, to be creative, to grow, to breathe, to learn, to play, to think, to solve, to build dens, to get your knees muddy, and of course to lose yourself in the infinite wonders of nature – trees, bees and all!  

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