World Book Day 2019 - BRILLIANT beetling costumes

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I love World Book Day. It’s always a busy week for authors, and this year has been no exception for me.

My favourite thing about this week, are the pictures you all send me of your amazing costumes.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is when someone dresses up as a character you’ve written.

So to celebrate your creativity and thank you all for dressing up as one of the Beetle Boy characters, every year I post your pictures on my website in a gallery.

You can send me your pictures after world book day, there’s no deadline. I’ll add them to this gallery as they arrive.

Here are the amazing characters from the Beetle Boy world:

M. G. Leonard to Publish a Picture Book about Plastic in the Ocean with Walker Books in 2020

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Did you know that every toothbrush ever made still exists? Or that it will take over 450 years for a toothbrush to break down into micro-plastics, and even then, what happens to the micro-plastics?

Inspired by the many terrible stories of plastic in the ocean and my work with #Authors4Oceans I have begun scribbling about these things. I am very proud and excited to share the news that I will be publishing my first picture book early next year on this very subject.

I have written a picture book for young readers about the adventures of a cheerful yellow toothbrush called Sammy. It will be illustrated by Daniel Riley. It highlights the life and journey of single use plastics. I hope it will encourage conversations between children and their adults about how we use plastic in our homes.

Keep your eyes peeled for The Tale of a Toothbrush in 2020.

More information.

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Battle of the Beetles shortlisted for inaugural STEAM Children's Book Prize

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The British Interplanetary Society have partnered with UCLan Published to announce a new children’ book prize - The STEAM CHildren’s Book Prize. And I am delighted to be able to announce that Battle of the Beetles is on the shortlist. I’m over the moon that the book has been acknowledged int his way, because I believe that the Arts need to become more of a part of the STEM curriculum. Science and Art compliment and inspire one another.

The aim of the prize is to highlight the importance of STEAM subjects and praise the publishing industry and authors for championing them. By providing children with engaging fun, and exciting literature, they’ll hopefully be inspired to take an interest in STEAM further into their education.

Read More

February 2019 - A Day at the Eden Project with M. G. Leonard for Schools

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Heads up schools and teachers in Cornwall. I'm doing a day of events at The Eden Project, in February 2019, talking insects and storytelling, set in the Biomes that inspired Lucretia Cutter's evil lair.

Come and bring your class!

Your day will include exploring the hidden world of insects in our Invisible Worlds laboratory, some beetle-inspired craft to take home and a chance to explore the Rainforest in search of the amazing interconnections between insects and plants.

BOOK HERE

Beetle Boy wins Gold in The China 2018 National Children's Book Awards

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Beetle Boy has won the Children's Choice Book: Gold Medal for 2018 from a list of the Top Ten Children's Fiction (Adventure Fantasy) selected by Reading Promotion Committee of China Library Association. I cannot tell you how moved and proud I am that Beetle Boy has been bestowed this honour. I was over the moon when I was told we’d reached the longlist of 100 books. I never dreamed we would win, but we did!

35 Chinese libraries, three hundreds schools and 100,000 students are involved in the award. The children cast votes for their favourite books and Beetle Boy won the most votes!

This award was first run in 2014 and was initiated by the Shenzhen Library.

You can READ MORE here, but you will need to click Google Translate.

Here are some pictures I was sent of the ceremony and my publishers in China (Beijing Huaxia  Winshare) accepting the award.

Longlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 - The Beetle Collector's Handbook

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The Beetle Collector’s Handbook has been longlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019

Since 2000, the enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children. The Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 celebrates children's books published in the last year in two categories: the Best Story and the Best Book with Facts.

I am over the moon that The Beetle Collector’s Handbook has been selected for the longlist for this prize and have all my fingers crossed.

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The Beetle Collector's Handbook at the Natural History Museum

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This half term I took a trip to the Natural History Museum to do a wonderful sold out event in the David Attenborough theatre, combining the science in my books with the extraordinary collection of beetles at the museum and with one of my favourite coleopterists, Max Barclay. I even got to go behind the scenes and choose the beetles for the event, which was glorious.

We discussed the featured beetles in the Beetle Boy books and of course Max’s wonderful contribution to The Beetle Collector’s Handbook, which I was signing afterwards. It was a delight to meet so many young people excited about beetles.

How to Make a Beetle Hotel - M. G. Leonard does a Blue Peter 'make'

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If you’ve read the books and want to become a Beetle Buddy, then head over to the Blue Peter website and watch me make a beetle hotel, for invertebrates to shelter in over winter.

There’s a really tough beetle quiz to do after you’ve watched the video. How well do you know beetles? Don’t worry if you don’t score highly, just pop into a bookshop or a library, grab a copy of The Beetle Collector’s Handbook and you’ll be able to get all the answers right.

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Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

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It may not surprise you to learn that I am a huge Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell fan. I was very excited to spend an evening listening to them in conversation with the whip smart Lauren Laverne talking about why Art Matters, and get my mits on their newest collaboration.

At the end of the evening there was an auction for a piece of their work, and a series of smaller lots, in support of EnglishPEN - a freedom of speech charity that helps writers all around the world who’ve been punished for their words in horrific ways. I am delighted to say that I won that auction and this glorious picture is now hanging above the piano in my study.

The whole evening was fantastic and thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can watch it on the video below. If you want to see the auction, it’s at 1hr and 40 mins, towards the end. It was joyously dramatic and something I’ll remember forever.

The Beetle Collector's Handbook is published this week!

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If you live in the UK and wander into a bookshop you will be able to get your hands on my newest book, The Beetle Collector's Handbook. I am so proud of this book. It is illustrated by the amazing Carim Nahaboo and has a strong ecology message. I've made it as funny and astonishing as possible, as well as including the most amazing facts about beetles.

This is a stand alone non-fiction book about beetles, featuring sixty of the most fantastic beetles on planet earth and plenty of advice on how to keep a nature journal and plan your own expedition. It is also a companion volume to my fiction trilogy as all the beetles in this book also feature in the trilogy and this book is annotated by a few of the key characters from the trilogy.

To give you an insight into what the book is like, I have made this little video for you, reading the introduction and staring my pet beetles Beatrice and Barty.