Children’s Laureate

Lauren Child – Waterstones Children’s Laureate (2017 – 2019)

Today it’s a mixture of joy and sadness as we welcome with enormous pleasure Lauren Child as our 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate and bid a fond farewell to the legend that is Chris Riddell.

Lauren simply exploded on to the children’s book scene back in 1999 with her ground-breaking picture book Clarice Bean, That’s Me and quickly followed this with the all-conquering series Charlie and Lola. If being one of the world’s leading picture book writer-artists wasn’t enough, Lauren later developed the series Ruby Redfort (Clarice’s favourite literary character!) for slightly older children, underlining Lauren’s gift and understanding for writing for children of all ages.

Intimately involved in translating her work across many different kinds of media, Lauren said that as Laureate she would like to “focus on building stronger links between the world of children’s literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design… I want to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reading for pleasure.”

The position of Children’s Laureate originated from the then Poet Laureate Ted Hughes – himself the author of many superb stories for children – and Michael Morpurgo, its aim to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and act as something of an advocate for children’s reading generally, be it perhaps defending the role of libraries or spreading the vital importance of books via events across the country.

Simultaneously, Lauren’s appointment does mean a goodbye to the illustrator and writer Chris Riddell who since the summer of 2015 has very much made the Laureate role his own. Regardless of his own, famously hectic work commitments, the Goth Girl creator’s dedication toward championing reading in young people has been, frankly, humbling and we wish him all the very best for his next set of projects.

Concluding, Waterstones Managing Director James Daunt declared that “Children’s books are in the rudest of health… there is a wave of creativity, spurred by exceptionally talented and generous authors with the Waterstones Children’s Laureate playing a huge part as a catalyst and inspiration. We could not be more delighted and grateful than to have Lauren Child pick up this baton.”


Pan Macmillan author and illustrator Chris Riddell named ninth Children’s Laureate (2015 – 2017)

Chris Riddell

Pan Macmillan announces that Chris Riddell has been appointed the new Children’s Laureate 2015 – 2017. Pan Macmillan is the longstanding publisher for Riddell’s authored and illustrated work, including the acclaimed and award-winning Goth Girl and Ottoline series, and his collaborations with author Paul Stewart on the Muddle Earth and Blobheads series.

In his acceptance speech at the ceremony today, Riddell revealed plans to put visual literacy at the heart of his term of office. He will use his Laureate’s Log – an online visual diary of his time in the role – to entertain and inform those who follow his progress, and encourage families to keep their own visual diaries.

He said: “I am humbled to take on this role after the giants that have come before me. I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil and an idea at the heart of my term as Laureate.”

He will also work to widely celebrate and defend school libraries and librarians who, together with parents, match children with books that will inspire and help them grow into great readers and thinkers. He intends to emphasise the excitement of illustration at live events, both alone and with unexpected collaborators from across the arts.

Riddell said: “I’m interested in illustration in all its forms, not only in books for children but in posters, prints and performance, as a way of drawing people into books and stories. I want to continue to explore interesting ways to bring words and pictures together over the next two years.”

The role of Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent author or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and to acknowledge their importance in creating the readers of tomorrow. The announcement of his role as Children’s Laureate comes on the back of a succession of notable award listings for Riddell’s Goth Girl series, including the Specsavers National Book Award 2013 and 2014, the Blue Peter Book Award 2015 and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2015. The first book in the series, Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, won the Costa Children’s Book Award 2013. He has also won numerous accolades for his picture books for younger children, including the Emperor of Absurdia and Alienography.