Julia Donaldson has been appointed as the seventh Children's Laureate.
The author of over 120 books and plays for children and teenagers, including some of the UK’s best-selling picture books, was appointed Children's Laureate at a special event at Kings Place, London on Tuesday 7 June.
Julia Donaldson is the author of books including The Gruffalo (the animation of which was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA), Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Cave Baby, Freddie and the Fairy and What the Ladybird Heard, as well as the award-winning teenage novel Running on the Cracks. In 2010, Donaldson was the most borrowed children’s author from UK libraries.
During her two years as Laureate, Julia plans to bring her passion for spoken word, rhyme, song and drama to the fore, by making children's literature in peformance a key focus for her laureateship. ‘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 says.
She will also join previous Laureates in using her appointment as an opportunity to champion literature campaigns that are close to her heart:
‘As someone with minor hearing difficulties myself, I am very interested in promoting signed stories for deaf children, and of course I want to add my voice as Children’s Laureate to the libraries campaign. So drama, music, stories for deaf children, libraries, plus building on the great work of my six predecessors as laureate: these will be my “big things”, and they are all linked to the “biggest thing of all” – the pleasure and richness to be gained from reading.’
Julia was presented with her Children's Laureate medal by outgoing Children's Laureate Anthony Browne. Her appointment was announced by Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE, Chair of the Children's Laureate 2011-2013 selection committee, who commented:
‘I have known Julia Donaldson for many years, since my time in Playschool and she has always had a passion to excite, educate and entertain children through her writing which fires up their imagination in a most delightful way. Childhood lasts a lifetime and every drop of creativity they are exposed to at an early age will stay with them forever. I have every confidence that in her new role as Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate she will be a wonderful ambassador in promoting the importance and value of children’s literature.’
Watch our videos of Julia at the announcement event below:
And take a look at a selection of photographs from the announcement: