Diary of a Young Naturalist

Diary of a Young Naturalist

by Dara McAnulty



I knew nothing about this book before I read it. When I discovered the author was fourteen years old, my expectation hardened. It’s difficult to get into the head of a young male teenager with autism and but Dara McAnulty achieves exactly that in this book.

McAnulty’s book charts a year in his life, through the seasons from his 14th to his 15th birthday. His family move house and the upheaval prompts a crisis for the teenager, as he mourns the loss of all his favourite nature spots. The author has a self-awareness many would cherish. He is very aware of his moods and he dissolves his blue moods in the world of nature burrowing himself in insects, birdsong and plants.

McAnulty’s family are as “close as otters”. Four out of the family of five are autistic and it is evident that the author’s parents are loving and enlightened “raising three neurodivergent children on poetry, punk and puffins”.

The existence of a fourteen year old such as Dara gives me hope for the future. This is an intimate sensitive read that lifts the spirits. Highly recommended.



Reviewed by Lanesboro Library January 2021