About the Children's Laureate
Frequently asked questions
Who is the current Children's Laureate?
Julia Donaldson is the current Children's Laureate.
What is the Children's Laureate?
The role of Children's Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.
The Children's Laureate receives a bursary of £15,000 and a specially designed and inscribed silver medal.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for the Children's Laureate originated from a conversation between (the then) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo. Quentin Blake was the first Children's Laureate (1999-2001), followed by Anne Fine (2001-2003), Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005), Jacqueline Wilson (2005-7), Michael Rosen (2007-2009), Anthony Browne (2009-11) and Julia Donaldson (2011-2013)
Find out more about the previous laureates
What area does the Children's Laureate cover?
The role of Children's Laureate covers the UK - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For information about the Irish Children's Laureate, visit the Laureate na nÓg website.
Who selects the Children's Laureate?
The judges consider nominations for the Children's Laureate from a range of organisations representing librarians, critics, writers, literature development workers and booksellers, including the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). They also consider authors and illustrators nominated by children who voted online through this website.
The selection panel for the award is changed every two years. Selection panel members for 2011-2013, chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin, were:
- Sarah Clarke - Children's Buying Manager, Waterstone's
- Lucy Mangan - author and journalist for the Guardian
- Abigail Campbell - children's literature consultant, representing the Children's Laureate Sterring Group
- Clive Barnes - retired librarian, representing IBBY UK
- Vanessa Lewis - children's bookseller, The Book Nook
- Dr Mel Gibson - Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University
How is the Children's Laureateship administered?
The Children's Laureateship is administered by Booktrust, who support the Laureate, organise the four official Children's Laureate events per year, raise funds, manage the press and PR and run the official website.
Booktrust work closely with the Children's Laureate Steering Committee, made up of representatives of the children's book world, who provide a range of expertise and guidance with which to support the Children's Laureate's work.
The current Steering Committee comprises:
- John Dunne (Chair) - retired librarian and representative of IBBY UK
- Abigail Campbell - freelance consultant
- Julia Eccleshare - Director of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and Children's Books Editor for the Guardian
- Lindsey Fraser - literary agent
- Nikki Marsh - Head of Literature Promotions & Partnerships, Booktrust
- Alyx Price - Consumer, Marketing and Communications Director at Scholastic UK, representing the Publishers Association Children's Group
- Professor Kim Reynolds - University of Newcastle
Who funds/supports the Children's Laureate?
The award is funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and Arts Council England (ACE). Waterstone's are sole sponsors of the 2011-2013 award, which is also supported by publishers Scholastic and Macmillan Children's Books, and secondary publisher supporters Egmont, Oxford University Press and Penguin Children's Books. The additional publisher supporters are Andersen Press, Barefoot Books, Bloomsbury Children's Books, Frances Lincoln, Hachette, HarperCollins Children's Books, Orion Children's Books, Random House Children's Books, Simon and Schuster, Templar Publishing, Usborne Children's Books and Walker Books.
How can I contact the Children's Laureate?
You can send enquiries and correspondence to the Children's Laureate via Booktrust.
How can I invite the Children's Laureate to visit my library?
If you are from a public library and would like to invite Julia Donaldson to visit during her time as Laureate, please contact us and we will add you to the list of libraries who have expressed an interest. We will then be in touch when any opportunities for a visit from Julia should arise.
Please note that we have already had an extremely high level of interest from public libraries, and only a limited number of visits will be available.