Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Lauren Child is the current Waterstones Children's Laureate.
The role of Waterstones 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.
The idea for the Children's Laureate originated from a conversation between (the then) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo. They considered it an appropriate and timely way to combine the celebration of excellence in writing and illustration for children with honouring individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the world of children’s books.
Quentin Blake was the first Children's Laureate (1999-2001), followed by Anne Fine (2001-2003), Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005), Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007), Michael Rosen (2007-2009), Anthony Browne (2009-2011), Julia Donaldson (2011-2013), Malorie Blackman (2013-2015), Chris Riddell (2015-2017) and now Lauren Child (2017-19).
Each Waterstones Children’s Laureate has taken the opportunity to promote particular aspects of children’s books. These have included visual literacy, readers with disabilities, poetry, storytelling, illustration, drama, writing for young adults and more.
The role of Waterstones Children's Laureate covers the UK: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Wales also has its own Young People’s Laureate and Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate).
For information about the Irish Children's Laureate, visit the Laureate na nÓg website.
The selection panel consider nominations from a range of organisations representing librarians, critics, writers, literature development workers and booksellers, including the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), and Library and information association CILIP.
The selection panel for 2017-2019 were the Children’s Laureate Steering Group (see below), joined by:
- Florentyna Martin – children's book buyer, Waterstones
- Carol Ann Duffy – Poet Laureate
- Radzi Chinyanganya – Blue Peter presenter
The selection process takes into account the following criteria:
- exceptional talent in writing or illustration
- contribution to creating the next generation of readers, writers and illustrators
- excellence developed through an eagerness to explore and experiment with ideas, genres and the possibilities of their craft
- substantial publishing record
- significant profile in the industry and amongst their peers
- interest in raising the profile of books for children, and for their writers and illustrators
The Waterstones Children's Laureate is managed by BookTrust, who support the Laureate, organise four official Children's Laureate events per year, raise funds and run the official website. BookTrust work with Riot Communications on the Children's Laureate's press and PR.
BookTrust work closely with the Waterstones 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:
- Sue Ball - Libraries Service Development Manager, Staffordshire County Council
- Abigail Campbell (chair) - freelance children's literature consultant
- Emily Drabble - Head of Children's Books Promotion and Prizes at BookTrust
- Julia Eccleshare - Director of Hay Festival children's programme and children's literature specialist
- Kate Edwards - Chief Executive of Seven Stories in Newcastle
- Lindsey Fraser - literary agent
- Ian Lamb - Head of Children's Marketing and Publicity at Bloomsbury, representing the Publishers Association Children's Group
- Vanessa Lewis - owner of The Book Nook
- Professor Kim Reynolds - University of Newcastle
- Deborah Texeira - primary school teacher in Warwickshire
Waterstones is the lead sponsor of the 2017-2019 award, with additional funding coming from Arts Council England.
Children's publishers also provide support for the Children's Laureate, including joint lead publisher supporter for 2017-2019 Harper Collins and Hachette, and secondary publisher Penguin Random House.
If you would like to write to the Waterstones Children's Laureate, you can send correspondence to:
c/o Charlotte Copping
BookTrust, G8 Battersea Studios, 80 Silverthorne Road, London SW8 3HE
If you would like to invite Lauren Child to visit you for an event at a school, library or other venue during her time as Laureate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the Waterstones Children's Laureate receives a huge volume of invitations, and only a limited number of events will be available.
The first-ever Charlie and Lola book
Charlie tricks his younger sister, Lola - an extremely fussy eater - into eating all her least favourite foods.
Fun activity sheets to try
Colouring sheet with images taken from Slightly Invisible by Lauren Child.
Word search based on by Lauren Child.
Spot the difference activity with images taken from by Lauren Child.