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Children’s Laureate

From Chris Riddell to Lauren Child

Devoted to Literature and Drawing

The idea of Children’s Laureates was first suggested by Ted Hughes and Michael Morpurgo to encourage children to read.

I was privileged to be involved in the announcement of the 10th Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, and to work with the outgoing Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, on the build up to the event.

The role of Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children’s books to celabrate outstanding achievement in their field.

The announcement ceremony, supported by the Arts Council of England, and in conjunction with the BookTrust, took place at Hull City Hall in June 2017.

Local schoolchildren from the Hull 2017 No Limits Learning Programme were invited to attend.

Chris Riddell to Lauren Child

Lauren Child, a former artist’s assistant to Damien Hirst, is celebrated not only for creating her own books, but translating them into other media – most significantly in her role as associate producer of global hit television series Charlie and Lola.

When Lauren was announced as the new Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate, she said that her aim will be to forge “stronger links between the world of children’s literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design.”

Each Children’s Laureate can choose how they promote their position.

Writer, illustrator, witty and wise chronicler of the modern world, and as recognised for his own fiction for children as he is for his many collaborative works, Chris Riddell is a tireless champion of reading and illustration in the modern age.

“I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil.”

Chris Riddell

Drawing by Chris Riddell

What is a Children’s Laureate?

The role of Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent author or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and to acknowledge their importance in creating the readers of tomorrow.

Of course, there’s so much more to the job than the title – it’s about how the Laureate spends their time in the position. As part of his work, Chris defended school libraries and librarians, and emphased the excitement of illustration at live events, both alone and with a cast of unexpected collaborators from across the arts.

Who Are the Previous Laureates?

The roster to which Lauren Child joined is prestigious with some of the biggest names in Children’s books:

  • Quentin Blake (1999-2001)
  • Anne Fine (2001-2003)
  • Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005)
  • Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007)
  • Michael Rosen (2007-2009)
  • Anthony Browne (2009-2011)
  • Julia Donaldson (2011-2013)
  • Malorie Blackman (2013-2015)
  • Chris Riddell (2015-2017)
Drawing by Chris Riddell

The Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate announcement was part of the literature strand of the UK City of Culture and was produced in conjunction with the BookTrust.

Chris Riddell by Chris Riddell
Chris Riddell’s 5 Point Plan as Children’s Laureate