TORONTO -- After being bullied for her love of bugs, 11-year-old Sophia Spencer continued to follow her passion and is now inspiring others with her book The Bug Girl.

Spencer was just two years old when she became interested in bugs during a family trip to the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory. Spencer told CTV’s Your Morning that a blue butterfly landed on her shoulder and stayed there.

“A blue butterfly landed on my shoulder and it didn’t leave. It was there for the entire trip and when we were leaving the guard had to take it off of my shoulder,” Spencer said on Monday.

When she was in Grade 1, Spencer was bullied for bringing a grasshopper to school. Not only was she teased, her schoolmates stomped the creature to death.

Hoping to encourage her daughter’s interest in insects, Sophia’s mother Nicole Spencer wrote to the Entomologist Society of Canada (ESC) to request an entomologist speak to Sophia to encourage her interest in the study of insects. Scientist Morgan Jackson posted the letter to Twitter, using the hashtag BugsR4Girls and seeking other entomologists to connect with Sophia. The tweet went viral with more the one thousand retweets and hundreds of responses.

Spencer had gained mass attention and support from the media and entomologists across the country. She and her mother decided to write a children’s book to encourage others to pursue their dreams.

“You can follow your passion too, you don’t have to give up,” Spencer said.

Spencer says she hopes to become an entomologist and one day study her favourite insect: the grasshopper.

This book is not the first time Spencer has been a published author. In 2017, entomologist Morgan Jackson and Spencer published a journal article in the scientific journal of Entomological Society of America about Spencer’s story and the effects social media has on entomology.