Celebrating 20 years of the Waterstones Children's Laureate

In 2019, we reached a milestone: the 20th anniversary of the Waterstones Children's Laureateship in the UK. 

Ten Waterstones Children's Laureates drawn by Chris Riddell from Flights of Fancy (Walker Books)
Waterstones Children's Laureates drawn by Chris Riddell: from Flights of Fancy (Walker Books) 

From special events to a new Laureate book called Flights of Fancy to a reading corner competition for your school, you celebrated with us – all with the aim of helping children to love reading and books! 

‘I’m so glad that for almost 20 years, the children of the UK have grown up alongside the institution that is the "Children’s Laureate". An ambassador for reading, they are adventurers digging up and sharing the glittering treasure to be found in books. These authors and illustrators speak to, and for, every child.’ Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy

Reading Spaces: Discover the amazing book corners designed by students

Read letters from the Laureates

Letter from a Laureate: Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake, Waterstones Children's Laureate 1999-2001: 'I had the ambition to get illustration alongside works of fine art.'

Letter from a Laureate: Anne Fine

Anne Fine, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2001-03: 'I would not have missed the opportunity the Laureateship offered me.'

Letter from a Laureate: Michael Morpurgo

Sir Michael Morpurgo, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2003-05: 'I tried to encourage [children] to read and write their own stories, to convince them that everyone has a story to tell.'

Letter from a Laureate: Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2005-07: 'I tried to go to some unusual venues to meet children who weren't necessarily keen readers.'

Letter from a Laureate: Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2007-09: 'When I was Children's Laureate, my main focus was on fun and poetry.'

Letter from a Laureate: Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2009-11: 'Wherever I went, I talked about being the Children's Laureate, and about the importance of creativity, visual literacy and picture books.'

Letter from a Laureate: Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2011-13: 'Performance, stories for deaf children, and libraries – these were all my "big things".'

Letter from a Laureate: Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2013-15: 'I was a spokesperson promoting reading for pleasure, especially for our teens.'

Letter from a Laureate: Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2015-17: 'I visited as many libraries as I could and mentioned school libraries and librarians and the vital work they do whenever I was interviewed'.

Letter from a Laureate: Lauren Child

Lauren Child, Waterstones Children's Laureate 2017-19: 'I believe that books, illustration and stories can profoundly change a child’s life.'

More from the League of Laureates

Flights of Fancy: discover the book

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, the incredible authors and illustrators who held the title have made a magical anthology to help children’s imaginations soar.

Go see the Laureates near you

Would you like to see Cressida Cowell and former Waterstones Children's Laureates? Why not head along to one of a number of events this year!

Read the latest articles by and about the Laureates

Fun activities to do with children

Help celebrate and spread the word

More from the Children's Laureate

Waterstones Children's Laureate: Joseph Coelho

Poet Joseph Coelho is the Waterstones Children's Laureate for 2022-24.

The role of 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. Find out what Joseph's been up to.

Find out more