A Patron of Reading is a school’s special, designated children’s author, poet, storyteller or illustrator.  Having waved goodbye to Cliff McNish, our Patron from last year, we are thrilled that M.G. Leonard will take up the mantle for this academic year.  As our Patron, she will develop a relationship with the School over the year, helping to encourage and foster a culture of reading for pleasure.

M.G. Leonard is an award-winning, bestselling writer of books, poems and screenplays. She turned to writing only a few years ago, after successful careers in theatre production, acting and music management.

Beetle Boy, M. G. Leonard’s debut, was shortlisted for Cranleigh Schools’ Awesome Book Awards in May 2017.  It was published in Spring 2016 by Chicken House in the UK, Scholastic in the US, Canada and Australia and has sold in 37 territories, becoming a bestseller in the UK and the Netherlands and winning the Branford Boase Award for best debut children’s novel. 

Beetle Queen, the second part of the trilogy, was published in April 2017 in the UK to critical acclaim.  Both novels have been enjoyed enormously already by many of our pupils and they’re now looking forward to reading Battle of the Beetles, the third part of the trilogy, which will be published in Spring 2018.

M.G. Leonard (Maya) will be visiting the school four times during the year and will be keeping in touch in the meantime through emails and letters.

We were delighted to welcome her for her first visit here on Friday.  She spoke to the whole school during Assembly and then had sessions with smaller groups of children throughout the day, entertaining them with stories about the creepy crawlies that inspired her wonderful books (she also admitted that she used to be afraid of beetles!).  

The children were captivated by M.G. Leonard’s lively and interactive approach, with exciting props and an array of taxidermy (as well as a Blue Peter badge) to engage them. 

She left her audience fascinated about bugs and wanting to read more.  We will very much look forward to welcoming Maya back to Cranleigh Prep next term, and she will also be attending our Awesome Book Awards 2018 on 3rd May.