A beautifully illustrated book about the origins of language.

Here, Blythe talks about her extraordinary debut picture book:

Linguists have been working for decades winnowing through the words for hints about the origins and history of language. A paper published in 2013 by Pagel et al.* listed some “ultraconserved” words they theorize to have persisted in many languages and for many generations—not just for hundreds of years, but thousands and thousands.

When I read the list of those words, I read a story: A story about what we share in common as human beings and how that persists across space and time and evolving cultural differences. WORDS is a picture book composed of those ultra-conserved words.

WORDS will be illustrated by Chris Raschke, twice Caldecott Medalist, and the USA’s 2012 nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Rights details

World rights: Candlewick (2018)

The Author

Blythe Woolston

Blythe Woolston learned to read when she was very young. It made her unfit for decent work, but it did prepare her for dumpster diving, collecting library fines, and the harmless drudgery of nonfiction indexing. However, one day when she was desperate for something to read, she started writing and discovered it to be satisfying—like making soup or painting with a two-year-old. Her debut novel, THE FREAK OBSERVER won the 2011 William C. Morris Debut Award, a prize given by YALSA for the best YA book by a first-time author. BLACK HELICOPTERS was a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Teen Books of 2013. MARTIANS, published in 2015, has also received many accolades.

In 2018, Blythe’s first picture book – WORDS – will publish with Candlewick, illustrated by Chris Raschke.

She lives and writes in Montana.

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