About the Waterstones Children's Laureate

Everything you need to know about the Laureate.

Quote by Children's Laureate Lauren Child


Did you know there's been a Children's Laureate since 1999?

Ever since Ted Hughes and Michael Morpurgo came up with the idea, and made it happen, our list of Laureates have inspired and entertained children all over the UK.

Below you can find everything else you need to know about the Waterstones Children's Laureate.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  • Who is the current Waterstones Children's Laureate?

    Lauren Child is the current Waterstones Children's Laureate.

  • What is the 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.

  • Where did the idea come from?

    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.

    Find out more about the previous laureates

  • What area does the Laureate cover?

    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.

  • Who selects the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

    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
  • What are the criteria for selecting the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

    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
  • Who runs the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

    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 - 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 (chair) - Chief Executive of Seven Stories in Newcastle
    • 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
  • Who funds/supports the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

    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.

    Find out more about the funders and sponsors

  • How can I send letters to the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

    If you would like to write to the Waterstones Children's Laureate, you can send correspondence to:

    Children’s Laureate
    c/o Charlotte Copping
    BookTrust, G8 Battersea Studios, 80 Silverthorne Road, London SW8 3HE

  • How can I invite the Waterstones Children's Laureate to visit my school, library or festival?

    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 childrens.laureate@booktrust.org.uk.

    Please note that the Waterstones Children's Laureate receives a huge volume of invitations, and only a limited number of events will be available.

  • How can I get in touch with the Waterstones Children's Laureate office?

  • How can I find out more about what the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is doing?

    • Follow Lauren and former Children's Laureates on Twitter
    • Follow Lauren Child on Instagram
    • Check out the Laureate events page for upcoming events and festivals Lauren will be appearing at

Get to know the Laureate

The first-ever Charlie and Lola book

I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato

Author: Lauren Child

Charlie tricks his younger sister, Lola - an extremely fussy eater - into eating all her least favourite foods.

Read more about I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato

Fun activity sheets to try

Follow the Children's Laureate on Twitter

Follow the Children's Laureate