Mother Tongue


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Speculative middle-grade climate fiction from the award-winning author of The Wordsmith.


Product Description

After global warming came the Melting. Then came Ark.

The new dictator of Ark wants to silence speech for ever. But Letta is the wordsmith, tasked with keeping words alive. Out in the woods, she and the rebels secretly teach children language, music and art.

Now there are rumours that babies are going missing. When Letta makes a horrifying discovery, she has to find a way to save the children of Ark – even if it is at the cost of her own life.

Mother Tongue is the new speculative middle-grade climate fiction from the award-winning author of The Wordsmith, winner of a White Raven award and a Library Association of America Notable Book.

‘Subtle, humane and inspiring. An amazing book.’ – Anne Booth, author of Across the Divide

‘Letta is the best of heroines: brave and determined and full of heart.’ – Jane Mitchell, author of A Dangerous Crossing

‘Taut, thrilling and thought-provoking.’ – Sinead O’Hart, author of The Star-Spun Web


Praise for The Wordsmith:

‘Truly stands apart for its originality and relevance.’ – The Irish Times

‘The fantasy book of the year.’ – Eoin Colfer

‘Stands out for its imaginative approach and its beautiful and careful use of language.’ – The Literary Review

‘This book is important.’ – The Guardian

‘An intriguing speculation about authoritarian futures.’ – Kirkus Reviews

‘An intelligent, original and gripping read.’ – BookTrust UK

‘Ends on an intriguing note that might promise a sequel. And that would be another fine thing.’ – Inis Magazine

‘I hope this won’t be the last we hear of Letta, a brave and spirited heroine.’ – School Library Association

‘For Letta is one of the best heroines… Steadfast, strong and unwaveringly resilient, she is the driving force behind why this series is becoming so revered.’ – The Reader Teacher

‘Mother Tongue, and predecessor The Wordsmith, are both brilliantly devised stories.’ – The Teen Librarian

Totally enthralling … a world where the horror of climate change has been realised but despite the despair, the hope of humanity lives on.’ – The Book Activist

”This vivid world and courageous heroine will enthral readers and is ideal for book clubs.’ – Drawing on Books

‘Letta is a fantastic protagonist … contemplative, doubting of herself but firm in her resolve. Her strength comes from a rounded mix of qualities.’ – Book Murmuration

About Patricia Forde

Patricia Forde is from Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. Her first novel The Wordsmith was published to great critical acclaim in 2015. It has since been published in the United States, Australia, Denmark, Russia, Turkey and the Netherlands. It has won a White Raven Award from the International Youth Library, is an American Library Association Notable Book for Children in the United States, and was shortlisted for the Children’s Book of the Year Award in Ireland. In 2018 Patricia wrote Bumpfizzle the Best on Planet Earth, which was chosen as the Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read 2019. She is married to Padraic and has two grown up children. She still lives in Galway, her favourite city in the world. You can visit her at

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