Christopher Lloyd is an author, lecturer and non-fiction storyteller specialising in connecting knowledge together using giant narratives, visual timelines and interactive workshops. In 2010, Lloyd founded What on Earth Publishing with Andy Forshaw.
He is currently rolling out a programme of workshops around It’s Up To Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature, People and Planet, one of the books included in the Exact Editions’ COP26 Virtual Book Showcase. In 2021, HRH The Prince of Wales and his Sustainable Markets Initiative founded the Terra Carta, a charter that puts sustainability at the heart of the private sector. It’s Up to Us is written by Lloyd, and includes a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales and 33 prominent illustrators. The book takes children on an exploration of the wonders of nature, the threats our planet faces and what we can do to build a brighter future for all.
1. How did you get into writing children’s books?
We home educated our children for a number of years and the experience taught me how vital it was to allow children to learn through whatever interests them most and connect knowledge together so they can follow their natural curiosity. That’s why I started writing non-fiction children’s books that have this purpose in mind.
2. Why did yourself and Andy Forshaw found What on Earth Publishing in 2010?
Well, I had written two adult world history books for Bloomsbury and found myself visiting many schools to give lectures. It was frustrating not to have anything to offer the children, so I thought let’s try to make a visual version of world history, so this interconnected narrative is more accessible for all ages. That’s why we started making the series of What on Earth Timelines, beginning with Big History!
3. Which institution, that you’ve not already partnered with, would What on Earth Publishing love to explore collaborative opportunities with?
I can think of several — the British Museum would be wonderful, they have so many amazing stories we could bring to life. Also, maybe Madam Tussauds — where we could do biographies for kids based on the extraordinary galleries of famous people they have on display! We are also exploring a partnership in the USA with a public library that has a puppet-making workshop and marionettes theatre. I love the idea of making books and puppet shows work together.
4. Which interconnection between human and animal worlds do you find the most extraordinary?
Insects that build giant civilisation, especially ants, termites and bees. These creatures really seem to have many of the same characteristics as human civilisations, but in miniature — and they evolved more than 100 million years before us, which is additionally fascinating.
5. Are you currently working on anything that you wish to share with your readers?
Lots of partnership projects — such as the puppets one I mentioned above. I am also rolling out a programme of workshops around It’s Up to Us, the climate change book I have written in collaboration with Prince Charles. We recently filmed a video which is soon to be aired on American TV — you can see It there — as well as a competition for children to write, paint or draw the future they would like to see, one that puts Nature first. See here: www.whatonearthbooks.com./its-up-to-us
Find Absolutely Everything inside the What on Earth Books digital book collection, a subscription can be purchased here.
Absolutely Everything embarks on an entertaining journey across millennia and continents, covering about absolutely everything including the creation of planet Earth, the age of dinosaurs, the rise of humans, the miserable medieval times, globalisation, wars, revolutions, technology — and much more. It was awarded Winner of a Parent’s Choice Silver Honour 2018, a VOYA Nonfiction Honour 2019 and longlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards.
Take a look inside Absolutely Everything: exacteditions.com/isbn/9781999802820
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