Genius of Bugs nominated for New Zealand book award

Wed 7 Jun 2017

Children’s book author and spider expert Simon Pollard has been nominated for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

His book The Genius of Bugs, published by Te Papa Press, has been shortlisted for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction.

“I love bringing natural history stories to life for younger readers, as they introduce them to the exciting world of science and discovery,” Mr Pollard said.

Illustrated with up-close, dramatic bug photography throughout, The Genius of Bugs is filled with bug tales, facts and figures that showcase bug ingenuity and reveal astounding bug behaviour.

Book cover


The Genius of Bugs. Te Papa Press

Featuring New Zealand and international examples, this ‘great book for the aspiring biologist’ features a roll call of some of the world’s most incredible bugs – from the sneaky portia spider to the killer brain-surgeon jewel wasp, to New Zealand’s king of the creepies, the wētā.

“This year’s shortlist reminds us that books are powerful vehicles for helping children make sense of their world and gain a better understanding of themselves and others,” says convenor of judges at the awards, Pam Jones.

“At times the vividly descriptive writing was brutal and heart-breaking, providing moving portrayals of life through the eyes of children and teenagers.”



Simon D Pollard. Photograph courtesy of Te Papa Press

The finalists in the 2017 awards are selected across six categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction, Illustration and te reo Māori; and the Best First Book category. There were 152 entries submitted for the 2017 awards.

“I feel very pleased to have been shortlisted,” Mr Pollard said, “and would like to thank Te Papa Press for producing such a wonderful-looking book.”

Simon Pollard is the author of the award-winning I Am a Spider (2004) and I Am an Insect (2002). He is a frequent contributor to Natural History (US), and has written for BBC Wildlife (UK), New Zealand Geographic, and Nature Australia magazines. 

Award winners will be announced on the evening of 14 August.

More information about the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

More information about The Genius of Bugs

Simon Pollard: Biography and interview