While the country heads out to vote today, yesterday a huge announcement was made in the world of children’s literature: Lauren Child became the new (and tenth!) Children’s Laureate, taking over from illustrator and writer Chris Riddell, who held the post for the last two years.
What is the Children’s Laureate?
According to the Children’s Laureate website:
The idea for the Children’s Laureate originated from a conversation between (the then) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children’s writer Michael Morpurgo. They considered it an appropriate and timely way to combine the celebration of excellence in writing and illustration for children with honouring individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the world of children’s books.
Quentin Blake was the first Children’s Laureate (1999-2001), followed by 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) and now Lauren Child (2017-19).
Each Children’s Laureate has taken the opportunity to promote particular aspects of children’s books. These have included visual literacy, readers with disabilities, poetry, storytelling, illustration, drama, writing for young adults and more.
You can read about the history of the Children’s Laureate in theis article from the Guardian.
Supporting school libraries
I think it’s wonderful that children’s literature is celebrated in this way and that we have such fantastic ambassadors championing the importance of all aspects of reading for the youngest members of society. Chris Riddell in particular made school libraries a focus for his work in a time when many schools do not have the money, space or resources for this area of school life. This drawing sums up his beliefs well:
We are lucky…
Here at St Michael’s we are so lucky to have the amazing resources that we do. Our library is, in comparison to many schools, huge and very well stocked, thanks to provision made in our budget and generous donations by parents – past and present. We are also incredibly fortunate to have all you wonderful parents, family and friends supporting everything we do, from book fairs (which raise money so we can buy even more books for the library!) to our weird and wacky competitions to celebrate reading for pleasure. We are truly grateful for everything that you do for us.
Read the Laureates!
We are fortunate to have books by all the Children’s Laureates in the Library, so please do check them out:
Quentin Blake (1999-2001) – we have several of his picture books and, of course, most if not all of the Roald Dahl books he illustrated
Anne Fine (2001-2003) – we have her novels for younger and older children, including the famous Madame Doubtfire and Killer Cat
Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005) and Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007) – we have entire bookshelves devoted to each of these writers and, needless to say, they are amongst the most frequently borrowed books in the library!
Michael Rosen (2007-2009) – we have books of his poetry to browse through as well as the old favourite We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Anthony Browne (2009-2011) – we have a selection of Anthony Browne’s picture books, including Willy the Wizard, which is one of our children’s favourites for storytime
Julia Donaldson (2011-2013) – one of our most borrowed authors, I think we have almost everything written by this popular lady!
Malorie Blackman (2013-2015) – her books live in our special section for Years 5 and 6
Chris Riddell (2015-2017) -we have the Ottoline and Goth Girl books and of course plenty of other authors’ books Chris has illustrated
Lauren Child (2017-19) – the children at school know all about Charlie and Lola of course and Clarice Bean and they are still popular for storytimes. We have a large selection of these books in the library.
This week we will be dedicating our Library Lunchtimes to creating a display on Lauren Child’s work. Watch this space for pictures!