Brand new Waterstones Children's Laureate 2022-2024 Joseph Coelho shares what he's plan...
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Joseph Coelho is the current Waterstones Children's Laureate.
The Children’s Laureateship exists to:
- Celebrate and promote creativity and storytelling
- Inspire all children to read a rich and diverse range of stories
- Promote the importance of children’s books and reading
- Champion the right of every child to enjoy a lifetime rich in books and stories and the proven benefits this brings.
The role of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is an influential appointment awarded biennially to a renowned UK writer or illustrator of books for children, to celebrate their exceptional talent and to further the goals of the Laureateship through their own unique talents and approach.
The Waterstones Children's Laureate receives a bursary of £30,000 and a specially designed and inscribed silver medal.
The idea for the Waterstones 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), Lauren Child (2017-19), Cressida Cowell (2019-22), and now Joseph Coelho (2022-24)
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.
Yes, since the UK Children’s Laureate was set up in 1999, other countries have been inspired to create their own Laureate programs for their literacy needs.
Ireland: The Laureate na nÓg was founded in 2010 and is a two-year term. Writer Áine Ní Ghlinn is holding the title for 2020 – 2023.
Wales: The Bardd Plant Cymru is their own Welsh language Children’s Poet Laureate, which began in 2000. The current Bardd Plant Cymru is singer-songwriter Casi Wyn until August 2023. Alongside the Bardd Plant Cymru, there is a dedicated Children’s Laureate Wales role, which is currently held by poet and performer Connor Allen until August 2023.
UK: The Young People’s Laureate for London was launched in 2016 and aims to work with young people across London promoting poetry. Cecilia Knapp was the Laureate for 2020 -2021 and the project is under review for 2022.
Australia: The Australian Children’s Laureate began in 2012 and is awarded annually. Its current Laureate is Gabrielle Wang.
The Netherlands: The Children’s Books Ambassador, called "Kinderboekenambassadeur", is awarded every two years and first started in 2013. The current role is held by Manon Sikkel for 2019-2022.
Mexico: The current Mexican Laureate is Antonio Malpica and was awarded the role in 2015.
Sweden: The Reading Ambassador, or "Läsamabassadör", began in 2011 and is awarded every two years. The new ambassador will be announced in 2022.
USA: The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was established in 2008 and is awarded every two years. The 2020-2022 ambassador is Jason Reynolds.
The selection panel invites nominations from a range of organisations across the UK representing librarians, critics, writers, literature development workers and booksellers.
The selection panel for 2022 - 2024 were the Children’s Laureate Steering Group (see below), joined by guest judges’ author, youth engagement specialist and public speaker The Right Honourable Stuart Lawrence and secondary school librarian, winner of the School Librarian of the Year 2021, Kristabelle Williams.
Kate Edwards (chair) - Expert in children's museums and literary arts (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Sue Ball - Libraries Service Development Manager, Staffordshire County Council (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Emily Drabble - Head of Children's Books Promotion and Prizes at BookTrust (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Julia Eccleshare - Director of Hay Festival children's programme and children's literature specialist (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Florentyna Martin - Head of Children’s at Waterstones (sponsor representative and current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Steven Pryse – co-founder of Pickled Pepper Books, representing the Booksellers Association Children’s Bookselling Group (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Amanda Punter – Publishing Director of Puffin at Penguin Random House, representing the Publishers Association Children's Group (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
Deborah Texeira - primary school teacher in Warwickshire (current member of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group)
The Waterstones Children's Laureate is managed by BookTrust, who support the Laureate, organise a minimum of four official Children's Laureate events per year, raise funds and run the official website. BookTrust work with Midas 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:
Kate Edwards (chair) - Expert in children's museums and literary arts
Sue Ball - Libraries Service Development Manager, Staffordshire County Council
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
Florentyna Martin - Head of Children’s at Waterstones
Steven Pryse – co-founder of Pickled Pepper Books, representing the Booksellers Association Children’s Bookselling Group
Amanda Punter – Publishing Director of Puffin at Penguin Random House, representing the Publishers Association Children's Group
Deborah Texeira - primary school teacher in Warwickshire
The lead sponsor is Waterstones, and the Children’s Laureateship receives additional funding from the Arts Council England. Children's publishers also provide support for the Children's Laureate programme.
If you would like to write to the Waterstones Children's Laureate, you can send correspondence to:
Waterstones Children’s Laureate
c/o The Prizes Team
BookTrust, G8 Battersea Studios
80 Silverthorne Road, London SW8 3HE
Joseph Coelho’s official Children’s Laureate events will be organised with Waterstones. For festival programme queries please [email protected].
If you wish to invite Joseph Coelho to visit you for a school event, please contact Authors Aloud [email protected]
Please note that the Waterstones Children's Laureate receives a huge volume of invitations, and only a limited number of events will be available throughout their term.
For any general Waterstones Children's Laureate enquiries, please contact [email protected]. As we receive a high volume of emails it may take up to 10 working days to receive a response.
For all Waterstones Children’s Laureate press enquiries, please contact Midas PR at [email protected]
For book related press enquiries please contact the relevant publisher.
If you wish to have one of the former Children’s Laureates appear at your school, library or festival please get in touch with their relevant publisher team as BookTrust are unable to coordinate these events.
Check out the Laureate events page or upcoming events and festivals the Children’s Laureate will be appearing at
Also see Joseph Coelho’s official website www.thepoetryofjosephcoelho.com
Follow the Children's Laureate on Twitter
Luna Loves Library Day! Can you design covers for the books in Luna's book bag?
Luna Loves Library Day! Can you help Luna find her way to the library through the maze?
Luna loves reading all her favourite books in the library... but what's your favourite ...
Luna Loves Library Day! When Luna visits the library she finds all sorts of books. Can ...