Nóra Békés & Mark S. Mullee: Among Oak

‘Among Oak’ is an artist’s book for all ages that tells stories about the natural world from a more-than-human perspective. The book is a collaboration between visual designer Nóra Békés and writer Mark Stephen Mullee. ‘Among Oak’ is intended as a re-earthing for readers, based on the authors’ own experiences and observations in the forests local to them in the Netherlands. The carefully crafted and entangled stories play with literary forms and genres, moving fluidly between new perspectives and familiar conventions of human storytelling. The illustrations and design recreate the experience of wandering through the forest. The act of looking becomes active participation in the stories of the fungi, plants, and animals who live among oak. Layers of reading enable human Earthians of all ages to enjoy the book at their own level of communication and understanding of the natural world. Babies can wonder at its colorful illustrations, young children can ponder the short simple captions, and older kids and adults can engage with the poetry and detail of these stories in words and images. How we tell stories about the more-than-human world around us can change the way we behave in that world. Among Oak invites its readers to find their own way.