January 4th, 2021

The Power of Nature

Week Three: Neal Layton

We’ve recently celebrated in poetry the power of nature to comfort us, but our planet, as we all know too well, needs protecting. Writers from Dr Seuss (The Lorax) to the late great John Burningham (Oi! Get Off Our Train) have shown us the way in their picture books. This week we’d like to share with you some work by brilliant children’s writer and illustrator Neal Layton.

Neal has won many prizes for his books (some in print in more than 16 languages). Last year his sell out performance for The Children’s Bookshow at The Old Vic in London was awe-inspiring and moving: Neal stood on stage and waved a huge Planet Earth flag in solidarity with the climate change protesters up the road in Westminster that very morning.

There are three of his books that we want to focus on this week, books in which he introduces his young readers to the importance of the preservation and conservation of our natural environment: The Tree, A Planet Full of Plastic and Climate in Chaos, but first here's a little bit more about Neal.

Find Out About Neal

When Neal was growing up he spent much of his time making homemade catapults and drawing pictures. He was offered a place to study science at University, but instead he went to Art College in Newcastle, and then did an MA in Illustration at Central Saint Martins.

Now he is a full time illustrator and author and has a studio in his house in Portsmouth where the walls are covered with pictures, drawings, scribbles, badges, photos, posters, packaging and anything else that he finds inspiring. He likes living by the seaside.

Neal's other books include Stanley's Stick (written by John Hegley), Oscar and Arabella and the Tony Spears books.

The Tree

Expressively illustrated with endearing illustrations of rabbits, owls, baby birds and squirrels, he shows children the importance of respecting animals’ habitats in this book which is a delight to read and best of all, has a satisfying and comforting conclusion, “A happy home.”

You can find out more about how Neal created The Tree here.

A Planet Full of Plastic

In this inspiring book Neal shows how both we and our children can help our world survive by declaring war on plastic. He does this simply and effectively in his book using a mix of illustrations, photos, diagrams and a text that’s both an inspiring and encouraging message about how we can all help.

Watch Neal Layton reading A Planet Full of Plastic

A Climate in Chaos: and how you can help

Neal explains why climate change is happening to our planet, but he's positive about how we can do things to make a real difference. With brilliant illustrations enlivening the text, it's written to persuade everyone to play their part. Eating more vegetables, less meat, walking more, taking the car less, small, simple steps, all to make our beautiful world safer.

Watch Neal Layton talking about A Climate in Chaos


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