Go the Gruffalo – congratulations to new Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson

I was jumping for joy yesterday when I found out that the queen of picture books, Julia Donaldson, has been named the Children’s Laureate in the United Kingdom for 2011-2013.

Presented every two years to a writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement, the award carries a bursary of £15,000.

You’ll probably know Julia as the creator of The Gruffalo, one of the most recognisable characters in the world of children’s books, but she has also written many other books including A squash and a squeeze, Room on the broom, The snail and the whale, and her latest picture book, Cave baby.

Each Children’s Laureate has a particular passion that they focus on during their time, and Julia plans to bring her passion for spoken word, rhyme, song and drama to the fore.  ‘With my background in plays and song-writing, I am particularly keen to develop projects which link books with drama and music, and to explore the ways performance can help children enjoy reading and grow in confidence,’ she said on the Children’s Laureate blog.

Julia Donaldson is a brilliant author who will be a wonderful Children’s Laureate.  I’ll look forward to seeing what she can achieve.

Congratulations Anthony Browne!

Every two years I eagerly wait to find out who will become the next Children’s Laureate.  This prestigious title ‘is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.’  The idea for the Children’s Laureate came from a meeting between poet, Ted Hughes, and giant of children’s literature, Michael Morpurgo, and was first awarded to Quentin Blake in 1999. 

This year’s recipient is Anthony Browne, who hugely deserves the award for his contribution to children’s literature over the years.  For those of you who don’t know Anthony Browne, he is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of such picture books as Willy the WimpPiggybook, Silly Billy, and most recently (and one of my favourites) Little Beauty.  The detail of his illustrations is amazing and I always seem to find something different in them every time I pick up one of his books.  If you haven’t already, I suggest you pick up one of his books and delve into his world of wimpy chimps, soft-hearted gorillas, and lazy pigs.

You could also check out some other fantastic books by past Children’s Laureates: