Julia's first blog Julia's first blog

Julia's first blog
7 June 2011

I feel excited and honoured to be the new Children’s Laureate and to be following in the footsteps of Anthony Browne and his predecessors, all of whom are heroes of mine. It’s been hard keeping it a secret and I think friends have been wondering why I have been alternately wearing a grin of delight and a frown of impending responsibility.


The few people who have been allowed into the secret have been asking, 'What will your big thing be?' I don’t know yet whether I will have one major project, but two of my great passions are for drama and music. Having come to book-writing via song-writing, I often write in verse, and the sound of the words is as important to me as their sense. I’ve always enjoyed performing my own stories and songs, and have observed how most children also love acting and singing, which do wonders for their self-confidence. At this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival I will be doing an event with two other writers where we will help ten-year-olds to dramatise our stories and then perform them to younger children. I hope to do more such events, and also to encourage children to write their own songs and playscripts.

 

Another area I plan to involve myself in is stories for deaf children. This is partly because I have a hearing problem myself, and also because I’m fascinated by sign language (even though I’ve never learnt it) and love to watch stories being acted out so expressively by signers.

 

I will also be vociferous in the campaign to promote libraries and halt the cuts and closures which as I see as so damaging to our children and their future. I’m proud to be the first laureate based in Scotland, and am kicking off with a visit to Whithorn Library which is celebrating its hundredth anniversary but is under the axe.


The six previous laureates have done so many good things, and I want to make sure that I keep these alive. Just one example is Anne Fine’s My Home Library initiative, where children can print out book plates designed by their favourite illustrators.

 

So drama, music, stories for deaf children, libraries, and continuity – these feel at present like my 'big things'; and they’re all linked to the 'biggest thing'  of all – the pleasure and richness to be gained from reading. I toyed with an extra paragraph but instead will finish with a poem which I hope will express my feelings better:


I opened a book and in I strode.
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.

 

Posted 7 June 2011 by Julia Donaldson

 

Comments

Dear Julia,

I am a primary school teacher in Kuala Lumpur, recently my year 3 children have been reading your books as part of their Literacy"Authors and Letters unit. The children have all written you letters but I am not sure where to post these letters. The children really want you to read them and have written some fantastic things about your books and how they made them feel. Can you please help by telling me where I can post these letters so you get to read them.

Kind regards Minah Khan

Minah Khan
11 August 2014

Hi Julia,

I'm new around here. I just wanted to let Julia know that I am a huge fan.But my 4 year old is an even bigger fan!
we recently sent a video of him reading The Gruffalo to Blue Peter.He can't read yet but he memorised it by heart !they loved it and sent him some stickers as he's under age for the badge.
I would love to share it with you.

Can I do that somehow ?

memona
29 April 2014

My 2 year old son was bought a collection of your books and one night we were delighted to start reading Freddie and the fairy. The subtle subject of hearing loss was handled brilliantly. Our son has a moderate hearing loss and wears hearing aids and he loves the story as much as we do. We sent him to nursery with the book so that it could be read to the other children and hopefully they will remember the message when talking with our son.
Will you be writing any other stories with a hearing loss message? We certainly hope so.
Thank you!!!

Vicky Clayton
14 January 2014

Please, please, please can more of your books be animated, I suggest that "Stick Man " would be the next big one.

We all absolutely LOVE ALL your books

Audrey Cooper
26 December 2013

Dear Julia,
I have wanted to write you this message of thanks since I first read your special story, The Paper Dolls. My third child, a girl was in hospital for the first 7 months of her life and this book helped me through that dark time so much. It makes me think of two of my other favourite books rolled into one, Grandmother Lucy goes on a Picnic and Magic Beach but it's so much more as well. One of the other hospital mums said she would like to "do" it in her adult book club as it has so so much in it. Anyway - wanted to say thank you for the comfort you provided and I think you are just an extraordinary person. I thought you may enjoyin knowing that while we were in NICU I put together a NICU library for the parents to read to their babies. It had so many of your books in it as they sounds so beautiful and the words feel so gorgeous in your mouth when you read them. http://roseeir.wordpress.com/friends-of-rose-bibliotherapy-library-wip/
Jane xoxo

Jane Morgan
12 November 2013

Dear miss

I am recently studying about children's books, imagination from a young child and how an adult can influence bringing the magic out of a story to life through creative activities...whilst putting together a study to share with others in my setting to create an amazing influential incite into the amazing world and importance from a book and also doing a story writing course to write my own books.

So I am just wondering as you are an amazing author and the children in my setting as well as my own 3year old daughter love the gruffalo and many more of your books... How you became influenced into being a children's author? How the great outdoors created such an effect in your stories? And what tips have you got to write a children's book?

Would be greatly appreciated if you could write a small note to answer my questions and any other notes that would input into my study. Thank you for you amazing books they have inspired me so much.

Nicola Moore (Nursery Nurse)
Fairfield Children's Centre Accrington, Lancashire, UK

Nicola Moore
20 October 2013

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