Giveaway – win a copy of Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant new novel

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 7th December 2012

Michael Morpurgo is one of the most prolific writers around. He began writing stories as a primary schoolteacher 40 years ago and has since written more than 120 books. I remember my two children excitedly discovering The Butterfly Lion, a tale that so enthralled them that they proceeded to whizz through every other Morpurgo book they could lay their hands on.

Morpurgo, who was children’s laureate from 2003 to 2005, has the knack of writing books that catapult you into a different world. And none more so than his latest novel, A Medal for Leroy.

Partly inspired by Morpurgo’s own life and partly by the life of Walter Tull, the only black soldier to serve in the British Army during the First World War, A Medal for Leroy is a poignant story, movingly told.

As Morpurgo explains: “Walter Tull was the inspiration for Leroy in my story. This extraordinary young man had grown up in an orphanage in London, had played football for Spurs, then joined up with his pals when war began in 1914.

“He was incredibly brave in the field of battle and deserved a medal for gallantry. He never received one. He died leading his men into attack in 1918. He has no known grave. Many of the issues raised in this book spring from the life and death of this brave young man. This is why the book is dedicated to his memory.”

A Medal for Leroy, charmingly illustrated by Michael Foreman, is the story of Michael, a little boy living in London with his French mother after the Second World War.

Michael’s father died a hero before he was born, shot down in a dogfight over the Channel in 1940. But Michael has one of his medals and occasionally visits his two aged aunts, Auntie Pish and Auntie Snowdrop, to scatter snowdrops on the sea in his memory.

After Auntie Snowdrop’s death, Michael discovers a writing pad tucked behind a photograph of his father. It’s filled with his aunt’s writing and contains family secrets that have remained hidden for years. “I knew even as I began to read – and I have no idea how I knew – that my life would be changed forever,” says Michael, “that after I’d read this I would never be the same person again.”

Morpurgo has had a stupendous year. First the movies of War Horse and Private Peaceful (weepies, both of them) hit the big screen, and now he has written this fine new novel. Suitable for children aged nine and over, it is compelling and thought-provoking. Vintage Morpurgo.

Thanks to HarperCollins, I have two copies of A Medal for Leroy to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment about your favourite children’s book at the end of this post.

This giveaway is open to readers with UK postal addresses only.
Plus, as a special Christmas promotion, you can buy A Medal for Leroy and get Little Manfred free.  Find out more here.

A Medal for Leroy by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins, £12.99)

9 comments so far

  • Many years ago I taught in an inner city primary school. It was very difficult to encourage the 8 year old boys to read stories. There was one book on the Curriculum that never failed to get their attention. it was Conker by Michael Murpurgo. A tale of grief, redemption and losing a family pet. The class wrote to Michael to tell him how much they had enjoyed his book and he sent a lovely reply. Karen.

  • I’ve only ever read one of Michael Morpurgo’s book, “Kaspar: Prince of Cats”, who, among other things, survives the sinking of the Titanic. I have a real fascination with Titanic stories – possibly an unwholesome one(!) – and I love cats, so it seemed like an obvious choice for me. I’d love to read more by him, though.

  • Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories were always my favourites. But my children liked the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz. I did too

  • Even knowing that I can’t win your giveaway mostly because “I never win anything”, but also because I am at a US address, I have just ordered up some Michael Morpurgo from the library. My favorite childhood books were about pioneer girls Caddie Woodlawn and Laura Ingalls written by Carol Ryrie Brink and Laura Ingalls Wilder respectively. Then I had three boys who would not have much to do with them, but loved Beverly Cleary, Louis Sachar, Daniel Pinkwater, and later Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and Brian Jacques.

  • My 12 year old son loves Michael’s books, many of which we have read together and I have really enjoyed too, especially Waiting for Anya. My favourite children’s book (from my childhood) has to be the hungry caterpillar, so bright and fun. I know we are in France, but we do have a UK postal address too!

  • One of my favourites is Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer, first published in the 1930s, about a 10 year old girl having adventures and meeting a range of people in 1890s New York. Her parents have gone abroad for a year leaving her in the care of friends, but she has a lot of freedom to get around. It’s funny and sad and sweet, and quite surprising to see how much freedom Lucinda is allowed.

  • Thank you so much for all these brilliant suggestions. There are quite a few books I’ve added to my to-read list! Also, just to let you know that this competition will end on Friday Decembver 14 at noon. And there is another giveaway coming very soon!

  • The competition has now closed. And I am delighted to announce that the two lucky winners are Karen Chadwick and Jacqueline Brown. Please could you both email me your UK postal addresses?

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