by Pip Williams
Motherless, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. One day a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters beneath the table. She rescues the slip, and is told that the word means "slave girl." Learning that words relating to women's and common folks' experiences often go unrecorded, Esme begins to collect other words discarded by the dictionary men. As she grows up, Esme begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words.