Tuesday, 7 June 2011

New Children's Laureate announced

The new Children's Laureate for 2011-13 was announced today at noon - it's Julia Donaldson! She is the 7th to take the title and is the author of over 120 books and plays for children and teenagers, including some of the UK’s best-selling picture books, most famously The Gruffalo. I think Julia is a great choice, though I'm slightly surprised they went for two picture book authors in a row - my guess was Philip Pullman, so what do I know?

Julia succeeds Anthony Browne, author of Gorilla, Willy the Wimp and many other popular titles. In one of his final acts as Laureate, Anthony wrote an open letter to his (then unknown) successor which was published in the Independent on Sunday with the sub-heading "Cuts are outrageous". In it, he warns that we will "pay the price in the long term" for closing public and school libraries and urges his successor to do everything to support them. The Guardian  also has advice for the new Laureate with a page headed "What should the new Children's Laureate do?" and invites you to contribute:
"We want to create a "To Do list" for the new laureate, telling him or her what children want their Laureate to do. It might be as big as "save our libraries" or as small as "visit our school because we never have authors come to see us". It might be something to do with writing rather than reading, or making sure kids' voices are heard in the books world. Whatever your idea, email it to and we'll create a big list to present to the new Laureate. We'll also be checking up on him or her during their two year term to see how they are getting on."
Some ideas are already coming through via Twitter, e.g. @dewey027 says "New children's laureate should campaign for statutory school libraries and librarians and getting books to children." Julia is likely to warm to this theme too - she took part in the lobbying of the Scottish parliament on Save our Libraries day in February. That's good news for all library-lovers, and even better news for us as she's Scottish based.

Click on the links for the books we hold by Anthony Browne and Julia Donaldson.

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