Sir Quentin Blake: Story Writing & Illustration Competition

Inspired by this new illustration from Sir Quentin Blake, discover this brand new tale, unfolding over 10 weeks with the stories and illustrations that children have been sending in. Find out how to take part here.

Read the story so far below...

Nature Heals Me

Part 1, by Luce Turner, aged 16 years

Sharp beams of light cascaded towards Willow, touching her face with a gentle glow. The air hung low, a humid, sticky layer hovering over the tall grass at her feet. Amongst the thick air was a quiet buzzing; an ecosystem of creatures majestically communicating. Aside from the hum of the nature around them, all that could be heard was the movement of the girl and Harold's feet as they waded through the grass, which stood proud, towering above the ground below where tiny ants worked away, carrying nature on their backs.

They looked up as they heard a squawk above them, a pair of birds darting across the sky in desperate search for prey. Their hearts lightened.

Willow's focus changed to beside her, where Harold, the grey long beaked heron, strolled. He wasn’t too happy that she hadn’t been engaging in conversation with him, so was gently pecking her leg!

Willow could feel exhaustion creeping up on her and the combination of the glaring sun and her itchy smocked dress was making her long for some cool shade.

They were searching for a water source; somewhere they could settle down in respite from the dusty heat. They were hoping to do some swimming and fishing for the evening. Harold was planning some skilled flying and diving, and Willow was planning to make a camp fire, however at this stage the chance of finding water seemed unlikely.

As they focused on the stony path, a tiny animal could be heard softly crying, and as Willow's foot hit something soft, a loud bang from behind….

Part 2, by Anne Moore, aged 10 years old

....startled her and she tripped on the ground, falling with a ‘plonk’. ‘What was that noise?’, she thought. It had sounded distant, but at the same time so close…

Her thoughts trailed off as she saw the small creature, she had heard sobbing earlier. It was a baby bunny, the poor thing was fatally thirsty. Willow looked around her as Harold began to peck harder. Around her, Willow saw leaves and moss and mud, lots of mud. Her mind ran quickly and then she realized that if there was mud, there must be water nearby! She scanned the meadow to her left, no. To her right, no. She then looked behind her, and sure enough, there it was. A pond, not a large one, but more than big enough to fill all her needs.

She carried the dry animal and put it down by the water's edge, it lapped thirstily. Harold flew and gracefully dived into the shallow water and Willow got out her fishing line and put it in the water. After a while, she caught a salmon and two trout, she was skilled at fishing, her father having taught her.

He had been a fisherman himself, going out early each morning for the purpose of catching fish. He had brought Willow along a few times, but not many as she often disrupted him. She had practiced by herself though, in the lake near her school. After school she would collect her things and rush down to the lake to fish that night’s supper.

She was roughly roused from her dreams by another bang and this time she sensed that this area wasn’t safe.

Not safe at all…

Part 3 by Guru Kashyap, aged 7 years

Suddenly, Willow noticed someone crouching behind the tall grass. She sensed danger. Willow immediately sprang up to her feet and started waving frantically to Harold. Harold did not return to Willow as he was having a lovely time swimming in the cool waters.

In an instant, a rather large strangely dressed man, camouflaged with leaves, sprang out of the grass and started shooting arrows skilfully in the direction of a thick, dark forest that was ahead of them. Willow thought the forest looked sinister and had decided to stay away from it. She wondered if he might be a hunter.

Part 3 continued, by Isabelle Harman, aged 7 years

…A bullet from the hunter’s gun whizzed through the air and landed behind the surprised bunny. The hunter tracked down rabbits, deer, foxes and wolves to turn into handbags. The bunny looked at Willow with small, frightened eyes. Willow knew what to do. She grabbed the ginger bunny and ran, and Harold flew quickly above them. Around her, Willow could see country houses and tall, green trees. She heard the tweeting of birds and her heart beating speedily in her chest as she hurried to take the little bunny to safety. She ran so fast that she wasn’t concentrating on where she was going.

Part 4, by Ruby Harvey aged 7 years

Willow stopped suddenly. She didn’t have anywhere to go. She looked at the little bunny sleeping in her arms, then she looked up at Harold, he looked calm and unharmed. Then before she took another step, she heard the rustling of grass. She took two steps closer, then suddenly a tall figure appeared. He had a cross bow slung over his shoulder. He was a dark and gruesome man. Willow screamed, she had never felt so afraid.

Suddenly something soared down from the sky. It’s Harold thought Willow. He must of realised this man is a man who catches animals and that means rabbits for his supper. Harold is coming to save the little bunny. While Harold scared the gruesome man away, Willow had been trying to find a way out. Without a warning, Harold picked up Willow with the little bunny in her arms and he soared away and headed for the wood not knowing what was waiting for them.

Part 5, Jamie Damani, aged 11

Harold flew soaring across the benevolent sky, his beak slicing the air as he approached the deep dark woods. Willow felt a surge of relief leak back into her body. She was safe. As they landed on the ground, she felt ecstatic and joyful, but this soon faded as she wondered where she was. Tall hazelnut brown trees stood tall, their arms waving welcomingly. Leaves danced and chased each other on the ground exuberantly. Willow saw Harold lying on the ground exhausted from the flight, his feathers fluttering in the cool soothing air. The beautiful bunny slept silently, her fur was tinted with a hint of ginger and her furry tail felt as soft as a blanket and filled Willow with a drop of hope. Harold stood up inquisitive of his surroundings. Just then they heard a deep frightening howl that echoed through the air. Wolves!!

Willow's heart drummed against her chest with fear. Panic took over her body squeezing it tighter and tighter. Willow ran, Harold behind her as they heard more deafening howls behind them. Willow saw silver grey flashes all around them. A filthy, dark grey wolf ran in front of them, its coat bristled in the sunlight. Willow turned around and saw that the wolves had circled around them. They were trapped….

Part 6, by Rowan Foster, aged 6

Suddenly, the earth began to shake. They heard a rumble coming closer and closer every second. A huge train was heading straight for them. The wolves ran back into the deep forest as fast as they could. Willow looked around for a way out but the train was too close now. She grabbed Harold and the bunny and lay flat on the ground. She closed her eyes tightly. Metal screeched and the train started to slow down and came to a stop just in time. A driver got out and offered Willow a hand to get up. Harold and the bunny didn’t want to go but climbing on board seemed like their only hope…

Part 7, by Riya Mohit, aged 12

Holding the bunny tight, Willow grabbed the driver's hand and sighed in relief. Without a word, the driver lead Willow and Harold inside a small carriage, before starting the engine.

“Excuse me?” Willow asked politely, “Were are we going?”

“This is the last stop.” The driver said, “You’ll have to get off at ‘the Lake District.’

‘The Lake District?’ Willow thought, ‘Where’s that?’ But suddenly her eyes grew tired and the rhythmic sounds of the train lulled her into a restless sleep.

“Alright, this is the last stop!” Startled, Willow sat up and looked around her. The train had screeched to a halt and peeping out of the window, Willow could see a glistening Lake, surrounded by thick trees and shrubs filled with berries and fruits.

This was it: the Lake District...