Children's Laureate: Who is Cressida Cowell?

Last updated at 12:38
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WATCH: Cressida Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon, has been named UK Children's Laureate. She tells us how she's feeling about the new job!

Cressida Cowell has become the new UK Children's Laureate.

The author of How To Train Your Dragon, and the Wizards of Once will take over from previous laureate, Lauren Childs..

She said: "Books and reading are magic, and this magic must be available to absolutely everyone. I'm honoured to be chosen to be the eleventh Waterstones Children's Laureate. I will be a laureate who fights for books and children's interests with passion, conviction and action. Practical magic, empathy and creative intelligence, is the plan."

Cressida Cowell graphic

Cressida has also revealed a 'giant to-do list' to help make sure that books and reading are available to everyone.

It says that every child has the right to:

  1. Read for the joy of it.
  2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops.
  3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller.
  4. Own their OWN book.
  5. See themselves reflected in a book.
  6. Be read aloud to.
  7. Have some choice in what they read.
  8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week.
  9. See an author event at least ONCE.
  10. Have a planet to read on.
What is a Children's Laureate?
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What is the Children's Laureate? (from 2017)

The job of a children's laureate is to get children excited about books, reading and writing, but they can also make it whatever they want.

Poet Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo came up with the idea of having a children's laureate.

They thought it was a good way to celebrate great work for children but also say 'well done' to writers and illustrators who had done really good work.

The laureate does things like visit schools, appear on TV programmes and give out awards. Basically, they go to events all over the country saying how brilliant children's books are.

Who is Cressida Cowell?
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Cressida Cowell and The Wizards of Once (from 2017)

Cressida Cowell is a children's author who wrote the How To Train Your Dragon series and the Wizard's of Once. She also illustrates most of her stories.

She wrote the Dragon series in the shed at the bottom of her garden, and it has been made into an award winning film and TV series.

When she was a child she grew up in London and on a tiny island off the coast of Scotland that had no electricity, roads or shops.

She said this helped her imagination, and she would make up lots of stories about Vikings and caves in the evenings.

She is also an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, a trustee for World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation.

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Take a look at Cressida's top tips (from 2015)

Cressida is the eleventh Children's Laureate.

In the past, Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson had the job, Malorie Blackman and Dame Jacqueline Wilson have also been laureates.

Cressida will stay as Children's Laureate until 2021.