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Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson was Children's Laureate from 2011-2013

She was born in 1948. She grew up in London and studied Drama and French at Bristol University.


She worked for a few years in publishing and as a teacher, while also writing and performing songs and street theatre with her husband Malcolm, and writing and directing two musicals for children. She then combined a career writing songs for children’s television with bringing up a family.

In 1993, one of her songs was made into a book, A Squash and a Squeeze. Since then she has written over a hundred books and plays for children and teenagers, including the award-winning rhyming stories The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and Zog, all illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which are among the UK’s best-selling picture books.

Julia has also worked with different illustrators, among them Lydia Monks, Nick Sharratt and David Roberts, and has written several young fiction titles, including three books about Princess Mirror-Belle, who is the badly-behaved reflection of a well-behaved girl. Her novel for teenagers, Running on the Cracks, came out in 2009 and won the Nasen Inclusive Children’s Book Award.

She is also the author of many educational books, including the 60 books which comprise the phonic reading scheme Songbirds. This series is part of the Oxford Reading Tree published by Oxford University Press.

Julia still loves writing and singing songs, and has produced three books of these, each one with a CD on which she is accompanied by some great live musicians. And her passion for drama is kept fresh by her frequent dramatic performances at book festivals and theatrical events, where she talks, acts and sings with her audiences.

For three years she was writer in residence in Easterhouse, helping local children write and act. She is now patron of the charity Artlink Central which engages artists to work in hospitals, prisons and schools
She lives in Bearsden, Glasgow, with her husband Malcolm and two cats.

More information can be found on her website, as well as at

Julia's books

  • Jack and the FlumFlum Tree

    Jack and the FlumFlum Tree

    When Jack’s granny falls ill with the moozles, the doctor tells him that the only thing that will cure her is the fruit of the mysterious flumflum tree.

    Read more about Jack and the FlumFlum Tree
  • The Gruffalo

    The Gruffalo

    In this much-loved picture book, a little mouse walks through the woods and encounters a fox, an owl and a snake.

    Read more about The Gruffalo
  • Cave Baby

    Cave Baby

    Cave Baby is restless and sets about amusing himself. But he is warned that being naughty will mean 'A mammoth's going to throw you to the big brown bear!'

    Read more about Cave Baby
  • The Singing Mermaid

    The Singing Mermaid

    When Sam Sly invites the Singing Mermaid to join the circus, she is excited by the promise of fame and fortune. But things are not what they seem, and the Singing Mermaid soon finds herself confined to a fish tank, longing for the freedom of the ocean.

    Read more about The Singing Mermaid