What to read this World Wildlife Day

Posted on March 3, 2023

World Wildlife Day is “is a United Nations International day to celebrate all the world’s wild animals and plants and the contribution that they make to our lives and the health of the planet.”

At Saraband, we’re passionate about wildlife, biodiversity and preserving the world’s precious and fragile habitats – as are many of our authors. Here are eight books we’d recommend this World Wildlife Day:

Seasons of Storm and Wonder by Jim Crumley

As the most distinguished and prominent Scottish nature writer of his generation, Jim Crumley is something of a force of nature himself, and his Seasons of Storm and Wonder is essential reading. The culmination of his Seasons project, this landmark book documents the extraordinary natural life of the Scottish Highlands and bears witness to the toll climate chaos is already taking on our wildlife, habitats and biodiversity – laying bare what is at stake for future generations. With a foreword by Kathleen Jamie, it’s a beautifully written ode to his country and its landscapes and species, and a timely reminder of the impact of climate chaos.

The Blackbird Diaries by Karen Lloyd

In The Blackbird Diaries, award-winning writer Karen Lloyd chronicles the drama of the natural world as it unfolds in her garden and in the limestone hills and valleys of Cumbria’s South Lakeland. What emerges is a celebration of landscapes that rarely feature in nature writing. But more than that, at a time of critical species loss, she offers rare insights into the lives of animals that may be common but are no less remarkable, and she considers the curlew and what’s behind the diminishing population figures. 

Lakeland Wild by Jim Crumley

Lakeland Wild shortlisted at Lakeland Book of the Year awards

Such is Jim Crumley’s significance that we’re including two of his books in this list (and once you’ve started, you’ll want to read them all). Shortlisted for the Lakeland Book of the Year Bill Rollinson prize, Lakeland Wild combines Crumley’s naturalist’s eye and poet’s instinct to trace the captivating landscapes of the Lake District’s wilder edges and to observe its still abundant wildlife.

Ghost Trees by Bob Gilbert

It’s not just in rural landscapes that wildlife is present. Nature always finds a way, and our urban jungles are home to resilient species of trees, plants, birds, mammals, and insects. In Ghost Trees, Bob Gilbert delivers a joyous hymn to urban nature and a clarion call for greener, wilder cities, telling the story of East London through its trees, past and present. In this video, he explains how to begin exploring and to spot signs of nature in unlikely corners.

A Handbook of Scotland’s Wild Harvest by Fi Martynoga

Environmental activist Fi Martynoga provides an essential guide to foraging in Scotland. With fellow contributors specialising in different habitats, techniques and species, she outlines sustainable ways to forage and where to look in your own local landscapes. The handbook covers species that can be found across the UK and that are especially abundant in northern climes, and you’ll find delicious recipes here alongside natural remedies and craft uses.

The Nature Chronicles Prize anthology, introduced by Kathryn Aalto

This captivating anthology of contemporary essays on nature themes gathers the winning submissions for the inaugural Nature Chronicles Prize, awarded in memory of Prudence Scott, a nature diarist who lived in Windermere. The book includes the overall winning essay, A Parable of Arable Lands, by Nicola Pitchford, and the work of five other writers covering subjects and landscapes from several continents. Collectively, they showcase the best of contemporary nature writing, and their work is introduced by bestselling nature writer Kathryn Aalto.

Cottongrass Summer by Roy Dennis

From red kites to red squirrels, birdsong to beavers, these inspiring short essays on 52 topics – one for each week of the year – bring together the wisdom of an authoritative voice among the UK’s leading naturalists and conservationists. In BBC Countryfile magazine, James Fair said: “I can’t think of a more important book that’s been written about British wildlife in the past 20 years.” Read it to find out why!

A Scots Dictionary of Nature by Amanda Thomson

This wonderful resource brings together – for the first time – the deeply expressive vocabulary that has been used over the decades and centuries to describe details of the landscapes and wildlife in Scotland. Many of the words you’ll find in these pages have faded from everyday use, a sign of our increasing disconnection from the natural world. A treasure trove for language and wildlife lovers alike.