Little Toller Books will publish Diary of a Young Naturalist by 15-year-old campaigner Dara McAnulty who has autism, set to be the Independent Dorset-based publisher’s “biggest book yet”.
Jon Woolcott, publisher at Little Toller, acquired world rights directly, and the book will be published in spring 2020.
Woolcott said of the deal: “This is our biggest book yet, a diary of nature and hope by the 15-year-old conservationist, activist and naturalist who has captured the imagination of thousands and built up a reputation for tireless campaigning, earning plaudits from Chris Packham and Robert Macfarlane amongst many others.
"Despite his autism words come easily to Dara – the evocation of natural landscapes and the wildlife he encounters is truly extraordinary. In the age of Extinction Rebellion and with the extraordinary impact of Greta Thunberg, his promised book is already capturing attention.”
The synopsis reads: “Raw in the telling, Diary of a Young Naturalist portrays Dara’s intense connection to the natural world, and his perspective as a teenager juggling exams and friendships alongside a life of campaigning.”
“In writing this book, I have experienced challenges but also felt incredible joy, wonder, curiosity and excitement,” said McAnulty. "In sharing this journey my hope is that people of all generations will not only understand autism a little more but also appreciate a child’s eye view on our delicate and changing biosphere.”
In 2017 the teenager was awarded BBC Springwatch ‘Unsprung Hero’ Award and Birdwatch magazine ‘Local Hero’. Last year he was awarded ‘Animal Hero’ of the year by the Daily Mirror and became ambassador for RSPCA and the iWill campaign and he has taken up further roles this year.
Gracie Cooper, co-owner of Little Toller, said: “We are overjoyed to be able to publish this inspiring teenager’s story. From the start, this book gripped us, and we couldn’t be happier to work closely with Dara and his family on publishing it, and engaging readers, old and young, with this remarkable young man and his passion for the natural world.”
McFarlane said of McAnulty: "Dara’s is an extraordinary voice and vision: brave, poetic, ethical, lyrical, strong enough to have made him heard and admired from a young age. Reading his prose causes me to see the living world freshly and slantwise. I am hugely admiring of Dara as a writer and a person - his talent, his courage and his gentle grace."