Lauren Child becomes the tenth Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Published on: 06 June 2017

Lauren Child, the bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator, has today been crowned the tenth Waterstones Children's Laureate.

Lauren Child

Lauren Child, artist and author-illustrator of the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean picture books and Ruby Redfort novels, will be the Waterstones Children's Laureate 2017-19.

The announcement came today in a ceremony in Hull, which is UK City of Culture 2017, where Child received a specially commissioned solid silver Waterstones Children's Laureate medal from outgoing Laureate, Chris Riddell.

The role of the Waterstones Children's Laureate is awarded every two years to celebrate and recognise the important contribution children's literature makes to cultural life.

Reflecting on her role over the next couple of years, Lauren Child said that 'children today need more freedom to dream and imagine'.

Quote from Lauren Child

Among giants of literature

Lauren Child is now the Waterstones Children's Laureate until June 2019, which will be the 20th anniversary year of the post.

Previous Laureates are: Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman and, most recently, Chris Riddell.

Chris Riddell League of Laureates illustration

Drawing by former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell

Recognising the legacy of the role she is inheriting, Child said:

I am honoured to be chosen as the Waterstones Children's Laureate and proud to be following in the illustrious footsteps of such giants of literature as Sir Quentin Blake, continuing the League of Laureates' great work in elevating the status of children's books in the UK's cultural landscape.

'Random acts of imagination'

Child, a former artist's assistant to Damien Hirst, is being celebrated not only for creating her own books, but translating them into other media - most significantly in her role as associate producer of global hit television series Charlie and Lola.

Launching her laureateship by championing creativity, she said:

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. In an increasingly fast-paced world, children need the freedom to dream and imagine; to enjoy reading, drawing and telling their own stories without value judgement or restrain.

She intends to encourage individuality and creativity in children by seeding ideas throughout her tenure that spark stories and drawings and to 'celebrate random acts of imagination'.

Having taken inspiration from many different angles, she said she also wanted to build 'stronger links between the world of children's literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design.'

Getting children excited about reading

Today's ceremony was hosted by CBBC Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, who was on the selection committee of the 2017-19 Laureate, alongside Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Children's Buyer at Waterstones Florentyna Martin, and all members of the Waterstones Children's Laureate Steering Group.

Waterstones is the lead sponsor of the Children's Laureate post, while BookTrust manages the award.

Chair of the Waterstones Children's Laureate Steering Group, Abigail Campbell, said:

Lauren Child is utterly brilliant. Loved by adults as well as children, her work is witty, innovative and absolutely unique. We're thrilled to announce her as the tenth Waterstones Children's Laureate.

Our Chief Executive Diana Gerald commented:

Managing the Waterstones Children's Laureate is an honour for BookTrust and we are delighted to be working with Lauren Child as Chris Riddell's successor. Each of the Laureates has been wonderfully different from each other, but they share a core belief, one that underpins BookTrust's own reason for being, and that is the power of reading, and its capacity to change children's lives for the better.
We want to inspire and unleash the love of reading for pleasure in children everywhere, whatever their background and I am delighted that our new Laureate is someone whose wonderful books and characters have already got so many children excited about reading. I can't wait to experience the treasures that Lauren will no doubt bring to this role over the next couple of years.

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