Duval wins award for book on Botanic Garden tortoise


First-time author Leslie Duval has won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, in the Animal/Pets category, for “Too Big To Lose,” the true story of Sam, the San Diego Botanic Garden’s 500-pound Galapagos Tortoise.

The book, about love, loss and friendship, recounts the tale of husband Julian Duval’s reunion with his beloved Sam the Tortoise.

“It is truly an honor to win this award and it is meaningful to me that it is in the Animal/Pets category,” Leslie Duval said in a news release. “My pets have always been among my closest friends, giving me purpose and teaching me to respect and have compassion for other species. When I first met Sam, looked into his eyes, and became part of his life, my small corner of this great big world became a better place and I hoped to share that feeling with others.”

The Moonbeam Awards recognize the year’s best children’s books and are chosen by judging panels of book reviewers, librarians, teachers and students. “Too Big To Lose” earned a bronze medal in the Animal/Pets category.

 “Too Big To Lose” includes remarkable oil paintings by Ruth Todd Evans, a San Diego-based artist and author/illustrator, as well as letters lovingly penned to Sam by Therese Duval, Julian’s sister to whom Sam was given to as a gift on her seventh birthday. The book also includes photos of Sam in his forever home at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

A portion of the proceeds from “Too Big To Lose” will be donated to the San Diego Botanic Garden in order to care for Sam, who could live another 100 years. Though not currently on display to the public, Sam is being used as a therapy animal to “bring comfort and joy to visitors with special needs.”

For more information or to schedule a private reading/book signing, contact Leslie Duval at Visit Sam at his website or on his Too Big To Lose Facebook page.