Lauren Child takes over today from Chris Riddell as the UK”s Children’s Laureate.
I was unable to attend the presentation in HULL but Jake Hope has just sent in this dispatch:
Anticipation is high as we await the revelation of the new Children’s Laureate, the 10th person who will have held the honour of this title. Radzi Yanganya from Blue Peter is whipping the audience to a fever-pitch of excitement in Hull. It feels an appropriate time to reflect back on some of the previous Children’s Laureates, looking at their work and the causes they championed.
Quentin Blake was the first laureate (1999-2001), most well-known as the illustrator who envisioned Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark humour, Quentin has a highly distinctive style and from his first picture book ‘Patrick’, has brought incredible zeal, energy and colour to his work. Quentin established the House of Illustration during his time as Laureate and curated an exhibition to showcase children’s illustration, The Magic Pencil.
Anne Fine was the first novelist to be honoured as Children’s Laureate (2001-2003), she has pushed at gender assumption with novels like Bill’s New Frock and has twice won the Carnegie Medal with Goggle-Eyes and Flour Babies. Anne’s work astutely observes socio-politics with a wickedly wry humour and a beguiling turn of phrase. During her time as Laureate she set up the www.myhomelibrary.org to encourage book ownership, promoted poetry with three specially curated collections A Shame to Miss and worked to promote reading to visually impaired children.
Michael Morpurgo became the third Laureate (2003-2005). A consummate storyteller, Michael’s War Horse and Private Peaceful both focus on humanitarian aspects of war. His writing builds tremendous empathy and compassion among readers. During his tenure as Laureate Michael sought to honour war without glorifying it and to promote the joy of the oral traditions of the form.
Jacqueline Wilson became the fourth Laureate (2005-2007). Jacqueline is well known for tackling social issues in her stories and for building an insatiable appetite for reading among her legion of fans. Jacqueline is the creator of the mischievous but endearing Tracy Beaker. Jacqueline championing reading aloud and sharing books and reading. She also worked to ensure more books were available for visually impaire children and championed well-resourced children’s television drama.
Michael Rosen was named as the fifth Children’s Laureate (2007-2009) and the first poet to be honoured with this accolade. Michael’s work is well recognised for its humour and for its ability to convey childhood experiences in accessible language. One of Michael’s best known works Is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. During his time as Laureate, Michael champion the arts, literature and poetry in education including working with the BBC on an exploratory reading for pleasure in school project Just Read.
Anthony Browne became the sixth children’s Laureate (2009-11). His surreal approach to children’s illustration encourages creativity and shines a light onto class difference and misogyny. Anthony has twice won the Kate Greenaway medal, fir Gorilla and Zoo. Anthony was the 2000 winner of the Hans Christian Andresen Medal. During his time as Laureate, Anthony encouraged visual literacy and creativity in art through stimulating others to play the game in his The Shape Game book.
Julia Donaldson became the seventh Children’s Laureate (2011-2013). A playwright and author, Julia is best known for her well loved story The Gruffalo illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The cadence and rhyme of Julia’s work makes it perfect for sharing aloud and her interest in drama became a focus during her time as Laureate when she encouraged performance and dramatized reading as well as passionately campaignin against library cuts and embarking upon an extensive tour of libraries across the UK.
Malorie Blackman became the eighth Children’s Laureate (2013-2015). Malorie writes thought provoking novels that encourage children to think about ethical dilemmas and social concerns. Malorie won the Red House Children’s Book Award for Noughts and Crosss a powerful, insightful and utterly compelling exploration of race ideology. During her time as Laureate Malorie championed Young Adult fiction and set up the massively successful Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC).
Chris Riddell was the ninth Children’s Laureate (2015-2017). Well known for his detailed pen and ink illustration, Chris is the only illustrator to have won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal three times with Pirate Diary, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver and most recently in 2016 with The Sleeper and the Spindle. During his time as Laureate, Chris has encouraged children to draw, using this as a hook to get into reading. Chris’s parting Laureate advice to anyone wanting to be an illustrator or artist is ‘keep a sketch book and draw all the time – especially men with big noses.’
We are delighted that Lauren Child is the tenth Children’s Laureate (serving from 2017-2019). Her portrayal of the imaginative inner world of childhood is immense and we are confident she will make a sterling Laureate. We look forward to following and supporting their initiatives and interests.