Beetle Boy nature trail at Dorothy Clive Gardens, in Shropshire

It is literally my utmost pleasure to tell you about this...

An educational family based ‘Beetle Mania’ trail will be hosted by The Dorothy Clive Garden, inspired by children’s book ‘Beetle Boy’ written by M.G. Leonard.

The trail, which will wind its way around the garden, is free of charge and will start on Monday 24th July and will be available for families to take part in every day over the summer holidaysfrom 10am to 5:30pm daily. It aims to educate families and other visitors about Beetles, other insects, and wildlife that lives within the 12 acre hillside garden, and is part of the charities ongoing commitment to promoting horticultural education and environmental sustainability.

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Latitude Festival

Last weekend I was at Latitude Festival doing a bunch of beetle filled events.

Sam (my partner in crime) and I arrived nice and early on the Thursday, so that we could get our wristbands, pitch our tent and scope out the festival site.

On Friday I had a blast teaching children how to write their own story about beetles, and talking about my own beetle-y stories. I met some truly wonderful Beetle Girls and Beetle Boys.

On Saturday I performed a reading from Beetle Boy and fed everyone roasted insects. The children were very adventurous and most had a try, but the grown-ups were a bit more scared. It's always the way. That's why so many heroes in stories are children. Children are brave and curious.

After the events I got to hang out with a bevy of beautiful authors and meet up with a few old friends.

It was the first time I had ever been to Latitude, but I LOVED it. I will definitely coming back.

Here are some of my pictures from the weekend.

CBBC Summer Social

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This past weekend I brought my beetles to Salford Quays to meet the wonderful children who'd come to have fun at the CBBC Summer Social. We all had a blast. In the morning I did an event in the yurt, where everyone gamely tried eating my edible insects.

In the afternoon I did a big event in the BBC building, and then we all headed, pied-piper like, to the bookshop for beetle handling and book signing. I met so many fantastic readers and I even managed to fit in a cuddle and a catch-up with Blue Peter's Lindsey Russell, who I am a bit in love with.

The Bolton Book Awards 2017

Reading Beetle Boy to the boys and girls of Bolton

Reading Beetle Boy to the boys and girls of Bolton

I had a wonderful time attending the Bolton Book Awards yesterday, which was won by the marvellous Jessica's Ghost by Andrew Norriss.

The children had made a book trailer for Beetle Boy, which I think is brilliant, and I'm posting here so that you can watch it too.

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This is a picture of me watching the video at the Bolton Book Awards.

Beetle Boy wins the Branford Boase Award for outstanding first novel

I am delighted and honoured to be able to announce that Beetle Boy won the Branford Boase Award. This is a prize which is awarded annually for an outstanding first novel to a first-time writer of a book for young people and marks the important contribution of the editor in identifying and nurturing new talent. It is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books thanks to its impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers.

I am so proud to share this award with Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyshon, my Chicken House editors. I also want to acknowledge the important role my scientific advisor, Dr Sarah Beynon plays in proof reading my books for scientific accuracy.

This is actually the first award I have won in my entire life and I will treasure it forever.

'M.G. Leonard is a classic storyteller, in the tradition of Roald Dahl or Dodie Smith, but an original voice. We predict that once again the Branford Boase Award judges have recognized an author who will be thrilling young readers for decades to come.'
Julia Eccleshare, chair of judges

Read articles about the award
The Bookseller
Foyles

Watch M.G. & Her Beetles On Springwatch Unsprung

Yesterday a dream of mine came true. I got to sit on hay bales with Chris Packham and talk about beetles! How good is that? Me, my beetles and my books were all featured on Springwatch Unsprung (June 14th). If you want to see how our chat went you can watch it on the iPlayer.

My fellow guest on the programme was the lovely Stephanie Coles. She is an utterly wonderful human being.

Me and Stephanie Coles on Springwatch Unsprung

Me and Stephanie Coles on Springwatch Unsprung

As well as the main show, I also got to appear on Brett Westward's red button programme in the afternoon, when Hector, my rainbow stag beetle, decided to show off and fly about the studio. You can watch that programme here.

The whole experience was a dream come true, but my favourite bit was Chris Packham's enthusiastic endorsement of the beetle books. I've watched him on TV since I was a teenager and he's a wildlife hero. Here are his hands clutching my book and meeting my beetles.

Hay Festival 2017

On the Starlight Stage at the Hay Festival 2017

On the Starlight Stage at the Hay Festival 2017

I love the Hay Festival. This year we put together a very special event with Dr Sarah Beynon and her Bug Farm beetles and insect chef Andy Holcroft. Together the three of us put on a bugtastic show to a sold out audience including Germaine Greer! The BBC were there, filming for a documentary on entomophagy, and every member of the audience got to try a cricket cookie and other delicious bugs. Truly a day to remember.

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