Bugs, books and a beetle named Baxter.

Last term, two of our schools, Bournville Primary and High Down Juniors, were visited by author, M G Leonard. Both schools really enjoyed the visit and many of our children have read her book, 'Beetle Boy'. 

Some of Torie's 'Reading Champions' have written about the event at their school.

M.G Leonard visits High Down!

by Reading Champions – Joe, Finn, Daisy and Stephanie

On the 17th March, Year 5 and 6 at High Down Juniors were lucky enough to be visited by M.G Leonard (Maya) the author of the brilliant book, 'Beetle Boy'.  

At the start of the assembly, Maya told everyone some facts about herself. Her real name is Maya Gabrielle and Leonard is her son’s middle name (M.G Leonard is her pen name). She got her passion for writing from working at the National Theatre in London.  Maya believes each play goes into the ‘nest of stories’ at the theatre, where it is told again and again. Before she began researching facts for her first novel, she wasn’t a fan of creepy crawlies (especially spiders).  However, now, M.G Leonard calls herself “a bug tourist” because, although she is not an expert or scientist on bugs, she has seen all the main attractions and has learnt many fascinating things.  

Maya explained to the upper school children the importance of beetles and how, without them, humans would be extinct!  Did you know there are over 350,000 known species of beetle in the world?  This is too many for one book, so M.G. selected 30 of her favourites to use in Beetle Boy. The boy’s best friend – named Baxter – is a mighty rhinoceros beetle.

 Maya owns a necklace made from jewel beetles’ wings that she bought from the Royal Victoria and Albert Museum. In Japan beetles are kept as pets.  Beetles have really cool superpowers and when they fight, it can be incredible; Beetle Battles inspired the creator of Pokémon and all of the first Pokémon characters and battles were based on beetles and how they fight.  

M.G Leonard told the children that Beetle Boy is the first book in Europe to have more than four colours on the end papers.  This is really cool and makes our signed copies even more special!  

At the end of the assembly, Maya let the children ask her a few questions.  Here is a snap shot: What are your favourite books? I love ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and also ‘The Secret Garden’.

Who illustrated Beetle Boy? A Spanish illustrator illustrated my books; her name is Julia Sardon.

Have you met any other authors? I have met Katherine Rundell, Julian Clary, Michael Rosen and lots more.

Everyone enjoyed her visit. Many of us bought a copy of Beetle Boy and we even got them signed! Maya revealed that there will be 2 more books in the series and we are really looking forward to these being published. Beetle Boy is great and we recommend it so much.