Today, with huge thanks to my day job, I was able to spend a few hours at the UK Children’s Laureate announcement. It was a beautiful afternoon spent in the company of a crowd of people who love books as much as I do. In fact, I am willing to concede that some of them might have even loved them more. Of course, those people were definitely the crowd of school children that descended on Hull City Hall for the ceremony.
The role of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is a title which is awarded every two years to a children’s author or illustrator to celebrate their achievements and to enable them to promote specific aspects of children’s literacy.
Chris Riddell, UK children’s laureate 2015-2017 ended his time as Laureate by sharing a glance through his awe-inspiring sketchbook before getting everybody involved in a ‘draw along.’ Now, I can doodle, but I wouldn’t imagine that I could illustrate anywhere near as well as Chris. But he had us follow him whilst drawing a mouse in a raincoat and I don’t think mine turned out all too bad!
Soon enough it was time for Chris to hand over the baton to the new UK Children’s Laureate 2017-2019…
Charlie and Lola creator, Lauren Child!
Both Chris and Lauren spoke of the importance of school libraries and of literacy. But also of the importance of children being allowed to be creative in any way that pleases them.
“Children need the freedom to dream and imagine; to enjoy reading and drawing and telling their own stories without value judgement or restraint.” Lauren Child
Lauren spoke of watching television and seeing movie posters that sparked her imagination as a child. She encouraged us to allow our children to see the world, stare out of the window and imagine. Because being creative isn’t just about writing or drawing, it’s about being able to look at the world and allow their minds to explore.
She also expressed her concerns about equality in story books. Perhaps setting the tone for her time as Laureate.
Thank you to Chris Riddell for all of his amazing work and of course, Good luck Lauren. I cannot wait to see what you do with your two years.