top of page
Screenshot 2023-11-26 07.18.09.png

Shortlisted for both the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing and Illustration, 'The Worlds We Leave Behind' is an extraordinary children's book that deserves your attention.  A.F. Harrold's sharp, poetic prose combines with Levi Pinfold's haunting, startling illustrations to create a darkly-twisted and atmospheric fairytale about choices and consequences; how our actions can reshape the world. It's an utterly absorbing and unsettling read that feels timeless, yet unnervingly urgent - this is a book that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and stares deeply into your soul. Fans of Neil Gaiman and Sophie Anderson will love this. I cannot recommend it enough! Able readers in Year 5 and Year 6 and children aged 11+ will find lots to sink their teeth into here.

Hex never meant for the girl to follow him and his friend Tommo into the woods. He never meant for her to fall off the rope swing and break her arm. When the finger of blame is pointed at him, Hex runs deep into the woods and his fierce sense of injustice leads him to a strange clearing in the woods - a clearing that has never been there before - where an old lady in a cottage offers him a deal...

There's something nostalgic, yet timeless about this story, as it opens the reader to a paradox's box of images and tropes from suburban childhood with wildness and fairytale threatening reality at the boundaries. A.F. Harrold's pen works like a knife with the story always on dangerous edges between stark reality and disturbing horror; between choices and consequences;  recklessness and redemption. It brilliantly evokes that feeling of dread when the innocence of childhood is exposed to the guilt and shame of actions that cannot be undone. Yet, this is a story that poses: what if? What if you accepted a deal with a witch to rewrite the past? What if everyone forgot the terrible thing you did? But what if the world changes too much? 'The Worlds We Live Behind' brilliantly explores these questions in a dream-like, nightmarish fashion. Levi Penfold's bold, eerie illustrations perfectly accompany the text creating an immersive, mesmerising reading experience. The shortlisting for both writing and illustration for the Carnegie Medals is completely deserved. This is a book that sticks with you and claws at your dreams. 

I read the beautiful hardback, but do look out for the paperback when it arrives.

Screenshot 2023-11-26 08.05.32.png
bottom of page