The Children’s Laureate Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie BLOG 17th January 2018

The Children’s Laureate  – Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie BLOG 17th January 2018


The Children’s Laureate Some Details

Children’s Laureate is a position initially awarded in the United Kingdom once every two years to a “writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.” The post stemmed from a discussion between the (now deceased) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children’s writer Michael Morpurgo.

A panel of judges considers nominations from a range of organisations representing librarians, and booksellers, including the International Board on Books for Young People. They also consider writers and illustrators nominated directly by children, who now vote online.

The award is funded by several publishing industry and charity sector sponsors, including the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. As of 2013 its main sponsor is Waterstones, Britain’s largest bookseller; it was sponsored by Ottakar’s before the two companies merged.

A bursary of £15,000 is offered for the two-year term,[2] and the Laureate receives a silver medal at the announcement ceremony, most recently held on 7 June 2017 for Lauren Child.

1999–2001           Quentin Blake      Laureate’s Progress (Random House, 2000) is “a kind of diary in pictures”. Blake created a few other books as Laureate and initiated the House of Illustration arts charity, established 2002

2001–03                                Anne Fine

2003–05                                Michael Morpurgo

2005–07                                Jacqueline Wilson

2007–09                                Michael Rosen

2009–11                                Anthony Browne

2011–13                                Julia Donaldson

2013–15                                Malorie Blackman

2015–17                                Chris Riddell

2017–19                                Lauren Child

What are the duties of the Children’s Laureate ?

The role has a pretty loose job description – the laureate has to “promote and encourage children’s interest in books, reading and writing”.

And what kind of things have previous Children’s Laureates done in the role?

Jacqueline Wilson’s “obsession” while she was children’s laureate was to “get everyone to read aloud to children, all children, from the age of nought to 11”.

Malorie Blackman revealed that she spoke to over 20,000 teenagers when she was in the role but arguably her main achievement was setting up the UK’s Young Adult Literature Convention, which now takes place each year as part of the London Film and Comic Con.

Chris Riddell has spent much of his two years defending school libraries and librarians, and promoting the art of illustration at live events. In his final speech before he passes on the baton, he said the lack of investment in school libraries is a “blight on the intellectual development and creative future of all our children”, as well as highlighting the issues faced by child refugees in the UK.

Quentin Blake, the first children’s laureate and best-known for his collaborations with Roald Dahl, produced a book called A Sailing Boat in the Sky in collaboration with 1800 French-speaking schoolchildren.

As a post script, Julia Donaldson who was Children’s Laureate 2011–13 wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday that she obviously gets lots of letters from children. One little boy wrote asking her, “What was your favourite Julia Donaldson book when you were a little girl?”

Quentin Blake



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