‘Every child should have access to literature and creativity,' say two Children’s Laureates
Published on: 26 September 2018 Author: Liza Millett
UK Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan share the stage and their joint vision at a BookTrust Northern Ireland event in Derry.
Lauren Child and Sarah Crossan at Verbal in Derry
The Laureates were joined by writer and lecturer Julia Eccleshare, who chaired a wide-ranging discussion at Verbal arts centre on books, creativity and the role of the Laureate.
It was a welcome return to Northern Ireland for Lauren Child: 'It’s been a long time since I was last here,' she said, 'but I have such good memories of my last visit and now many more from this new visit.'
Taking part in her first public event as Laureate na nÓg, Sarah Crossan said that Northern Ireland 'is in a fortunate and unique position - it has two Children's Laureates’.
‘This is a great opportunity for myself and the UK Laureate Lauren Child to share not just a stage, but our joint conviction that every child should have access to literature and to creativity.’
It was a view echoed by James Kerr, Chief Executive of Verbal, who said: ‘We are delighted to welcome our Children’s Laureates to share their brilliant stories and to encourage others, and especially our young people, to do the same.
'Through the transformational power of storytelling people can come together to create a better, fairer and more equal society.’
Lauren and Sarah take questions from young readers
The panel discussed the importance of illustrations in books and how they can encourage young readers to decipher meaning for themselves. They spoke, too, about the role books play in helping children to understand the world around them, often providing solace at difficult times.
'During my two-year term,' said Crossan, 'I want to empower young people across the island of Ireland to express themselves through poetry, to show them that words are powerful - and they belong to all of us. #WeAreThePoets.'
The event was hosted by BookTrust NI, which is supported through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's National Lottery funds.
Liz Canning, Head of BookTrust NI, said she hoped that the event would ‘help to inspire families and practitioners to get reading and get creative'.
Waterstones Children's Laureate
Bestselling author-illustrator Cressida Cowell is the Children's Laureate for 2019-21: a role given every two years to celebrate outstanding achievement in children's literature.