CHILDREN’S author Chris Lloyd says lockdown makes it feel like “someone has switched the gravity off”.

The Kent-based non-fiction writer spoke to the Peeblesshire News ahead of his turn at the virtual version of the Borders Book Festival, the physical event having been cancelled due to coronavirus.

When not grappling with zero-gravity, Lloyd, 52, has spent the last 15 years writing books for children, inspired by nature and the history of the world beyond humans.

Discussing his 2019 release, Humanimal, Lloyd said: "Children are born with an instinct, an intuition that all living things are connected and that they're part of an ecosystem.

"This is the way we are naturally but society and culture tend to beat that out of us – they tell us we're more intelligent.

"The point of the book is to try to preserve, for children, this reality of interconnectivity, and to give them some protection to what's happened to us adults over the years.

“Which is the inevitable feeling that we are what matters and that everything else is there to serve us or for us to use or exploit.

"We can't continue with that mindset as a species and survive."

As this is the message he is keen to share, Humanimal and Lloyd's other works are not designed to act as an "A to Z encyclopaedia" of information, but rather tell the planet's natural history away from the impact of humanity.

"All my books are meant for adults as well as children," said Lloyd. “They're illustrated and designed in a way that makes adults want to buy them for children and I hope children want to share them with adults.

"It's a book, it's a story, it's something to be discussed, it's something to be read out loud, it's something to be looked at together.

“It's not a book and a child, it's really something to open doors as much as anything else."

And Lloyd believes, as much magic as there is in fiction, non-fiction – and the content that inspires it – can hold just as much whimsy.

He said: "For me non-fiction has always been the more magical part of literature. There are a lot of young people for whom the real world is more amazing than anything you could make up.

"Again, that's another thing we're born with that gets beaten out of us, and we start using the word 'ordinary' – and there's nothing ordinary.

"We're surrounded by magic. You think Harry Potter's magic? Just look around you.

"That curiosity is our biggest asset because that's how we learn to adapt, that's how we learn to survive, that's how we learn to cope with the world around us as it changes."

Peeblesshire News:

Lloyd, who previously worked as a Sunday Times journalist, was inspired to begin a career as a children's author after seeing the joy his children experienced when they learnt new things during their years in home-schooling.

Particularly that of one of his daughters who was astonished to learn all about Antarctica – home of her then favourite animal, the penguin.

"I believe fundamentally, especially now having done thousands of talks in schools and festivals over the last 15 years, that humans generally reach peak curiosity at the age of nine or 10," Lloyd said.

"Then things start to get in the way, like puberty and your friendship groups change and going from primary to secondary school.

"But at the age of nine or 10 you've got that purity of curiosity where you're old enough to know that you have an identity and you're curious enough to want to know where you fit in.

"There's nothing you can't talk to a nine or 10-year-old about – provided you don't patronise them, provided you don't have an expectation of them that they can't meet.

"If you can meet them as fellow kindred spirits on this rock travelling around the sun, in this incredible galaxy, and here we are, face to face, learning about it and discovering things together, then there is nothing more inspiring than engaging with a nine or 10-year-old."

Chris Lloyd's Humanimal book event will be broadcast on Sunday, July 26 at 11am as part of the festival's Family Series, and will include a discussion portion after a short presentation by Lloyd.

The event is suitable for families with children aged seven and over.