The Highland Falcon Thief proof copies arrive!

4E702149-294B-49AF-B4C9-476BE8D6FFB0.jpg

You may have missed my announcement last year that I am co-writing writing a new series of children’s books, Adventures on Trains, with a friend and colleague of mine from the National Theatre called Sam Sedgman. The first book is called The Highland Falcon Thief and will be published in March 2020 with the second book following swiftly in September 2020. This week the advance reader copies arrived, and it’s a special moment for an author because it’s the first time your story feels like a real book. The picture above is of me and Sam celebrating getting our ARC copies in Kings Cross station, which is where the adventures begin. I’m bowled over by its beauty and shiny foil. Macmillan have done an amazing job.

The ARCs are for booksellers, book reviewers and other people in the trade. If you are one of these people then you should get in touch with Macmillan children’s books to request one.

Now begins the countdown to publication. I can’t wait for you all to read this book. The series and final book cover will be illustrated by the very talented Elisa Paganelli. The illustrations are a central feature of this book because our protagonist Harrison Beck is someone who draws, and it’s through the pictures in his sketchbook that he solves the case of The Highland Falcon Thief.

90AC56D8-D180-451D-A538-F2794B894DD1.jpeg

Battle of the Beetles wins Your Choice category at STEAM book prize.

STEAM-Logo.png

I’m delighted that Battle of the Beetles has won the ‘Your Choice’ category of the STEAM Children’s Book Prize 2019, which is voted for by the young readers taking part in the award. The awards that are voted for by children always mean a lot to us authors, because it is you we write the books for. A big thank-you to everyone who voted, and huge congratulations to Christopher Edge who took home the big prize for his wonderful book The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day.

D-YUEPcXoAAqjRE.jpg

M. G. Leonard pens three short books for German publisher Klett

Book cover for Spider Wig by M. G. Leonard

Book cover for Spider Wig by M. G. Leonard

I have a little news that I am excited about. I’ve been working with the German education publisher Klett, to produce three books of varying lengths and vocabulary for German students reading English.

All three books will be published in Germany this year. The first (of 10,000 words and for confident readers of English as a foreign language) is called Spider Wig and published this week. The second book is called The Old Steam Train and will be published in July. The third book is called The Umbrella Room and will come in early Autumn.

The stories are contemporary, funny and I’m proud of them. I will also be recording the audiobooks that accompany these texts.

The Beetle Collector's Handbook WINS the Doncaster Book Award for non-fiction

D4BRz4tW0AEIa-a.jpg

Few things are more lovely than when your book wins an award. It’s gratifying because writing books is hard work. Writing this book was the hardest work of all because I wasn’t allowed to make anything up.

The most special awards are the ones voted for by children, because they are who my books are for. If they vote for your book to win an award then you must be doing something right, right?

I wrote The Beetle Collector’s Handbook because I am passionate about children discovering how wild and wonderful beetles are, and so this award means a HUGE amount to me. It’s made my year.

A big thank-you to everyone in Doncaster at the book award and especially those fantastic children that voted for my beetle filled book.

FIND OUT MORE

World Book Day 2019 - BRILLIANT beetling costumes

D1CtNMxXcAAFssd.jpg

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

toothbrushheader.jpg

Did you know roughly 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold every year, and many of them still exist? 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.

Screenshot 2019-03-03 at 08.36.25.png

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

STEAM-Logo-768x657.png

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

eden-project-logo.jpg

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

Unknown.jpeg

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.