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Tag: The Wide Wide Sea

Five ways you can help save the sea – a guest post from Anna Wilson, author of The Wide, Wide Sea

This month we’re thrilled to have published The Wide, Wide Sea – an inspiring picture book about protecting our coastlines and reducing plastic pollution, written by Anna Wilson and illustrated by Jenny Løvlie.

Today we’re delighted to share a blog from Anna on plastic pollution and five ways you can help to save the sea.

I love the sea. I love sitting and staring at it. I love swimming in its crystal-clear shallows and diving down into its deeper, darker places. I love the birds that fly over it, the plants that grow in and around it and the fish and the bigger sea mammals that live, swim, hunt and play in it too. I love it when it’s calm and flat and glass-smooth. I love it when it is ink-black and raging with storms crashing overhead. It doesn’t matter how it’s behaving – I love it in all its moods.

Wild swimmer and author of The Wide, Wide Sea, Anna Wilson, swimming in the sea
Wild swimmer and author, Anna Wilson

I live a mile from the coast and I walk down to the edge of the land every day with my dog, Nala. In winter, the coast path and the beaches are pretty empty. Not many people live near my house and walkers don’t come this way often in the winter months. And yet, even at this time of year, you can see the effect that we humans have had on the sea because of one very ugly thing: litter. This is the only thing that I don’t like about living by the sea, because it makes me sad.

I was thinking about this when I wrote The Wide, Wide Sea. Most of the year I am like the child in the book, running down to the shore, shouting, “This is the best place in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!” But when the storms come, the sea crashes high up on to the cliffs and with it comes a lot of litter, and then I am like the child in the book – angry and upset.

The huge waves are very powerful – they can easily lift large boulders and send them flying on to the beach. They also bring in plastic bottles and pieces of rope and all sorts of broken bits of rubbish and food packaging. I once found a toothbrush flung on to the beach after a storm. I have even found a dirty nappy.

Illustration of plastic pollution on a beach taken from the picture book The WIde, Wide Sea
Illustration of litter and plastic on a beach, taken from The Wide, Wide Sea

Sometimes I sit high on the cliff and watch the sea raging below and I imagine it’s as angry as I am. I imagine that it’s sick of the way we humans are treating it. It’s gathering up all the rubbish and it’s hurling it back at the shore as if to say, “Take this disgusting litter away – stop throwing it into me!”

Sometimes I go down early in the morning to swim and there is a seal bobbing around in the bay. Last summer he was there every morning, and once he chased me back to shore, nudging my toes with his snout! I climbed out and sat watching him and wondered what he thought about me swimming in his home. Did he think of me as one of those humans who throws nasty plastic into the water? Or did he see me as just another animal, enjoying the water as he was? I think it was probably the latter, because the thing is, we are animals, you and I. We are mammals, like the seal. We have just as much right to be swimming in the sea as the seals do. But with that right comes the responsibility of looking after the sea. Seals don’t throw plastic straws and dirty cups and packaging into the water – we do.

Illustration of a seal bobbing in the waves, taken from The Wide, Wide Sea.
Illustration of a seal bobbing in the waves, taken from The Wide, Wide Sea

Do you love the sea as much as I do? If you love something, you usually want to look after it. Have a think about this next time you come to the seaside. Bring your picnics and have a lovely day, but take your litter home with you. And if you see a seal, make him a promise – that you’ll keep the sea clean and safe for him – for all of us.

Five Ways You Can Help Save the Sea:

  1. Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics – if we stop buying them, there will be none to go to waste
  2. Reuse packaging instead of buying new – ice cream cartons make great picnic boxes, yoghurt pots are good for planting seeds, foil can be washed and used again
  3. Recycle responsibly – take litter to a recycling bank and never leave litter behind you on the beach
  4. Do a Two-Minute Beach Clean – bring a bag with you and walk up and down the tideline on the beach, picking up any bits of litter that you can find as you go, then recycle it when you get home
  5. Join a Bigger Beach Clean – there are many of these up and down the country, you can find clean-ups near you here.

Thank you for the great tips, Anna! The Wide, Wide Sea is out now – you can buy a copy from Waterstones here, Bookshop.org here, and Amazon here.

Take a look inside the book below:

Diving into the artwork of The Wide, Wide Sea – a guest post from Jenny Løvlie

Next month we’re delighted to be publishing The Wide, Wide Sea, written by Anna Wilson and illustrated by Jenny Løvlie – an inspiring new picture book about protecting our coastlines from plastic pollution.

Today we’re pleased to share a guest post by Jenny on developing the artwork of The Wide, Wide Sea and her personal connection to this story and the visual landscape of the book.

The first time I read The Wide Wide Sea, I wept. It was so beautiful and tender, and a subject close to my heart – I grew up on Ekkerøy by the Barents Sea in Northern Norway and loved seals most of all the creatures living in the sea.

My most memorable encounter was with a Greenland seal. I must have been about four or five years old and I had woken up very early on a Saturday morning. I decided to go down to the beach, only a stone’s throw away from our house and there it was. A lovely black and white seal, sunning itself on the beach. I had just watched a film about a baby seal being rescued and tried my best to drag this enormous adult seal down to the water, but I couldn’t shift it. It must have weighed about 250kg! I told Anna, the author of The Wide Wide Sea, about this in our first meeting at Nosy Crow and she, in turn, told me of the seals in Cornwall.

Having grown up by the sea, I found that the ideas flowed pretty freely with this wonderfully visual and dreamlike text. I love drawing animals and underwater landscapes! If I could have a superpower it would be to be able to breathe and see well underwater.

The human character development was actually the most challenging task in this book: it took a few rounds before we landed on a set of characters that complemented the landscapes and animals.

Early sketch of The Wide, Wide Sea

The landscape is a mix of the landscape on Ekkerøy where I grew up, and the Cornish coast where Anna lives. The underwater scenes are largely from my imagination. The grandmother character is based on my old neighbour, Jack. She taught me a lot about nature and animals when I was a child. I tried to imagine what she might have looked like as a child and used that as a basis for the child.

When I start a new project I usually do a lot of research first: I read, I watch videos and films, and I look at a lot of pictures for reference to flood my brain with the imagery I want to create. I find this especially helpful when working on narrative non-fiction because when I feel confident that I know what the world looks like, it makes it easier to populate it with characters.

Then I start doing some quick, loose sketches in my sketchbook. I let inspiration take the lead – sometimes the characters emerge first and other times the landscapes and world-building come first.

Early sketch of The Wide, Wide Sea

Once I feel like I’ve developed a visual language for the book I make a set of thumbnails of all the pages. I find it liberating to work small to start with, having the small boxes to fill allows for more of an overview of the flow of the composition and the page turns.

Early sketch of The Wide, Wide Sea

Once I’m happy with the thumbnails I blow them up to the actual size and start working them over, making sure that the composition still works on a larger scale. Then I’ll start colouring. I make a colour palette for every book I make, I work digitally in Photoshop and find that if I don’t limit my palette I can easily get lost in all the myriads of colours that are available. Similarly, I will limit myself to a selection of ten brushes or so to create the textures. It’s so easy to get carried away!

Thank you Jenny for that insightful blog and for sharing your early sketches with us!

The Wide, Wide Sea is out on July 1st – you can pre-order a copy today from Waterstones here, Bookshop.org here, or from Amazon here.

Take a look inside the book:

Take a look inside The Wide, Wide Sea

Next month we’re absolutely delighted to be publishing The Wide, Wide Sea, written by author and wild-swimmer Anna Wilson and illustrated by Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner Jenny Løvlie – an inspiring and moving picture book about protecting wildlife from plastic pollution.

And today we’re very pleased to be sharing an early preview of this beautiful book!

When a young child forges a special connection with a seal on a trip to the seaside, their imagination takes them on an unforgettable journey. Through their eyes, we have a chance to explore everything the amazing beach and wide, wide sea has to offer . . . until suddenly a violent storm blows in. The next morning the beach is ugly . . . and covered in litter. Whose fault is it? And who can fix it? Together, the child, their grandmother, and the rest of the community clean the beach, and the child makes a promise to the seal that things will change for the better.

Beautifully illustrated, and with a moving message of conservation at its heart, The Wide, Wide Sea will inspire and delight children who love wildlife.

Take a look inside:

You can pre-order a copy of The Wide, Wide Sea from Waterstones here, Bookshop.org here, or Amazon here. And if you’d like to stay up-to-date with all of our latest books news, including awards, exclusive previews, giveaways and more, you can sign up to our newsletter here.

New books out in April!

It’s our April publication day! From a Bizzy Bear first words book and egg hunt adventures to the first in a loveable new picture book series by David Melling, an inspiring story about looking after our coastlines and a bunch of fantastic new fiction to keep them entertained, we’ve got something for everyone this month.

Here’s a closer look at the new Nosy Crow books you can find in bookshops, and available online, now.

Bizzy Bear’s Big Book of Words, by Benji Davies:

Buy the book.

Sing Along With Me! Hey Diddle Diddle, by Yu-hsuan Huang:

Buy the book.

I’m Thinking of a Pet, by Adam GuillainCharlotte Guillain & Lucia Gaggiotti:

Buy the book.

The Body Book, by Hannah Alice

Buy the book.

This is NOT a Unicorn, by Barry Timms and Ged Adamson:

Buy the book.

Ruffles and the Red, Red Coat, by David Melling:

Buy the book.

National Trust: Out and About Minibeast Explorer, by Robyn Swift & Hannah Alice:

Buy the book.

British Museum: Find Tom in Time, Ancient Rome, by Fatti Burke (now available in paperback):

Buy the book.

How to Be Me, by Cath Howe:

Buy the book.

Waiting for Murder, by Fleur Hitchcock:

Buy the book.

Sunshine Stables: Poppy and the Perfect Pony, by Olivia Tuffin & Jo Goodberry:

Buy the book.

A Forever Home for Fluffy, by Linda Chapman & Sophy Williams

Buy the book.

Earth Friends: Fair Fashion, by Holly Webb:

Buy the book.

Congratulations to all of the authors and illustrators with books out today!

If you’d like to stay up-to-date with all of our books news, you can sign up to our newsletter here or using the form at the bottom of this page.