The British Book Awards 2021, or Nibbies, represent the best of the book trade - the UK’s leading creative industry. First launched in 1990 and now run by The Bookseller, the British Book Awards and its sister awards schemes – The British Book Award for Export and Library of the Year – showcase and celebrate the best books, the best bookshops and the best publishers. The Nibbies are unique in recognising that a book’s success is not down to just one factor. It is the author’s creative genius, it is the publisher’s skill and support and it is the bookshop’s championing. The Nibbies’ Books of the Year are unapologetically about success but not ‘just’ who is top of the bestseller lists. We want to find the best independent bookshops from rural Scotland to inner-city London. We celebrate the small presses that are such a vital part of the publishing ecosystem. We champion the best illustrators.
Diary of a Young Naturalist recounts a year in the life of an autistic and highly gifted 15 year old, struggling with school, bullies, moving house and fearing the decline of the natural world whilst rejoicing in it. Dara McAnulty is clearly an extraordinary person and a beautiful and mature writer. His descriptions of his adventures in nature are inspiring for children, but also sure to brighten the souls of many an adult too.
The intensity with which nature presents itself to the author is overwhelming, and his ability to share this with the reader is enthralling. It’s a rollercoaster ride being in the head of this young man, but the book has the magic to open our eyes and ears to what beauty is around us each and every day - if only we looked!
McAnulty's knowledge of wildlife and nature is simply extraordinary. His autism is a burden but also a super-power, providing him with piercing insight to a world that simply cannot be ignored with all its truth, tragedy and hope pouring out of every hedgerow, pond and dry stone wall.
This is a diary which highlights our essential connection with the natural world, the landscape and our history embedded within it - but more importantly, it is also about our futures. Dara McAnulty is on a mission, and if the quality of this book is anything to go by, he will have a huge impact. For many children, this book will be the beginning of a wondrous journey.
- Greg Hackett (Founder/Director of London Mountain Film Festival)