Children's Laureate

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Children's Laureate is a position initially awarded in the United Kingdom once every two years to a "writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field." The post stemmed from a discussion between the (now deceased) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo.[1]

A panel of judges considers nominations from a range of organisations representing librarians and sellers, including the International Board on Books for Young People.

The award is funded by several UK publishing houses and the main sponsor is Waterstones; it was sponsored by Ottakar's before the two companies merged. A bursary of £15,000 is offered for the two-year term,[2] and the Laureate receives a silver medal at the announcement ceremony. The current post is held by Cressida Cowell.

UK officeholders[edit]

Term Laureate
1999–2001 Quentin Blake Laureate's Progress (Random House, 2000) is "a kind of diary in pictures". Blake created a few other books as Laureate and initiated the House of Illustration arts charity, established 2002.[3][4]
2001–03 Anne Fine
2003–05 Michael Morpurgo
2005–07 Jacqueline Wilson  Judges chaired by Shami Chakrabarti, director of pressure group Liberty
2007–09 Michael Rosen
2009–11 Anthony Browne Judges chaired by Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009
2011–13 Julia Donaldson
2013–15 Malorie Blackman
2015–17 Chris Riddell
2017–19 Lauren Child
2019–22 Cressida Cowell

Comparable offices elsewhere[edit]


In 2008 an Australian Children's Literature Alliance was founded to select and appoints an annual Australian Children's Laureate. In fact the first year saw two writers sharing the role. Boori Monty Pryor and Alison Lester were announced in Adelaide in December 2011, with Noni Hazlehurst as patron.[5]

United States[edit]

In January 2008 the Library of Congress inaugurated its National Ambassador for Young People's Literature scheme, as the U.S. equivalent of the Children's Laureate. The inaugural Ambassador was Jon Scieszka.[6] A similar honour is awarded bi-annually by the Poetry Foundation for the Young People's Poet Laureate.[7]


Ireland has a Laureate na nÓg, a two-year office inaugurated by the Arts Council of Ireland in May 2010. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is one supporter.[8]


The Swedish Arts Council appoints an author as "Ambassador for reading", Läsamabassadör, for a two-year office since 2011. The ambassador is announced at Gothenburg Book Fair by the Swedish Minister of Culture.[9] As part of the tenure the ambassador help communicate to children about books and reading,

The Netherlands[edit]

From 2013 every two years the Dutch Reading Foundation appoints a well-known children's books author as an ambassador for children's literature. Since 2017, this ‘Kinderboekenambassadeur’ has a seat in his special embassy in the Children's Book Museum in The Hague.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Children's Laureate, About the Children's Laureate.
  2. ^ "Waterstones Children's Laureate for 2019-21".
  3. ^ Children's Laureate, "Quentin Blake".
  4. ^ "About Us" Archived 2010-10-10 at the Wayback Machine. House of Illustration ( Retrieved 2013-09-29.
  5. ^ "The Inaugural Australian Children's Laureate". Australian Children's Laureate. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  6. ^ The Children's Book Council – National Ambassador for Young People's Literature(US) Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Paige Bentley-Flannery (26 May 2017). "Young People's Poet Laureate". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  8. ^ "About the Project". Laureate na nÓg ( Arts Council of Ireland. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
  9. ^ "Om Läsambassadören – Kulturradet" (in Swedish). 15 September 2015. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2015.

External links[edit]