Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson is children's laureate


Julia Donaldson says library closures are very damaging

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Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson has been named as the new children's laureate.

She will take over from Anthony Browne, who has held the post since 2009.

The role, which has a bursary of £15,000, is awarded every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children's books.

"I hope to find every opportunity to be a spokesperson and advocate for children's books and reading," Donaldson said.

Previous children's laureates include Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson and Quentin Blake.

Donaldson began her career writing songs for TV but in 1993, one of her songs, A Squash and a Squeeze, was made into a book, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The pair went on to collaborate on the best-selling picture book, The Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo A film adaptation of The Gruffalo was nominated for an Oscar

She has written more than 120 books for children and teenagers to date, including The Gruffalo's Child, Room on the Broom, Zog and The Snail and the Whale.

"With my background in plays and song-writing, I am particularly keen to develop projects which link books with drama and music, and to explore the ways performance can help children enjoy reading and grow in confidence," she said.

She also wants to promote signing stories for deaf children and get involved in the children's laureate libraries campaign.

In 2010, The Gruffalo came out top in a survey of children's favourite books and in the same year, she was the most borrowed children's author from British libraries.

Almost one in five children (18%) picked the Julia Donaldson tale, while Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Peppa Pig came joint second with 11%.

More than 1,500 UK parents of primary school aged children took part in the research for free reading scheme Booktime.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    "The Snail and the Whale" was my absolute favourite book to read to our children when they were little ones. Beautiful story, and inspiring illustrations. Well deserved honour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Wonderful news. Although mentioned briefly in the article, Axel Scheffler, the wonderful illustrator of so many of Julia Donaldson's terrific books should be honoured equally. The Gruffalo comes to life through his delightful illustrations!
    Bravo, both Julia AND Axel!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Day Monkey Night Monkey and Monkey Puzzle are the best childrens books I have ever read. I think Julia Donaldson is a genuis . thank you Julia for your lovely stories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Brilliant news. I discovered Julia Donaldson's books a couple of years ago through my Mum's school. They're brilliant. Despite being 21, I love 'The Gruffalo' and also 'Charlie Cook's Favourite Book'.
    I've also discovered a website which shows videos of children's books being signed and many of JD's books are featured meaning I know some of them very well!
    Well Done to you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Fantastic choice. Julia Donaldson's books are consistently excellent. My 2 yr old is currently into Chocolate Mousse For Greedy Goose and my 7 yr old is enjoying The Giants and the Joneses, and we have read so many great books inbetween.
    She has also made a wonderful contribution to the Oxford Learning Tree, applying her imagination and language skills to the school system.


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