Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

I felt compelled to pick up this book having heard so much about it, after teenager Dara McAnulty scooped the 2020 Wainwright prize for nature writing. McAnulty has documented experiences from a year in his life aged 15, including moving house with his family, changing schools, the challenges of being a teen in the modern age, juggling exams, navigating friendships - not to mention his response to the global climate emergency. 

All this is done against the backdrop of sumptuous descriptions of nature, which run through the entire book, as we join the writer and his family on excursions around many places that will be familiar to local readers.McAnulty gives us valuable insights into living with autism too, and increases the reader’s awareness and understanding of these powerful experiences.  

An inspiring read, I would recommend this book not just to young adults, but older readers too. The writing is rich, descriptive, and sometimes raw. It reminds the reader to see the beauty in small things we may have stopped noticing, amid the pace of modern life. 

From the wilds of Rathlin, to the back garden, to the walk to school, we are reminded to stop and notice.

Submitted by Christine