Hilary Robinson (author)

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Hilary Robinson
Hilary Robinson
Born (1962-01-23) 23 January 1962 (age 57)
Paignton, Devon, England
OccupationRadio producer, children's author, feature writer, script writer
NationalityBritish (Manx ancestry)
Notable worksMixed Up Fairy Tales; The Copper Tree

Hilary Robinson (born 23 January 1962, Paignton, Devon, England) is an English children's author, broadcaster,[1] radio producer and feature writer. She is a Patron of The Children's University.[2]


The daughter of lecturers, Robinson grew up during the civil war in Zaria, Nigeria; Dorset and Yorkshire. Her father, P.H.Turner an economist [3] and a biographer of David Livingstone [4] established an educational trust and spearheaded the building of a non profit making private school in Zaria, Nigeria, which she attended with other local and overseas children including, theatre director, Rufus Norris. Her mother is a lecturer in mathematics with the Open University.


Radio producer[edit]

Robinson worked at Radio Aire, TV-am and Yorkshire Television and the BBC's Faith and Ethics Department. She is now a freelance radio producer.

For six years, until January 2011, she produced BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday with Aled Jones.[5]

BBC radio documentaries include:

To mark the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade Robinson produced Hang A Thousand Trees With Ribbons – the true story of the published slave Phillis Wheatley, narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Sophie Okonedo,[12] and Private Peaceful to mark Remembrance 2007 with Robson Green.[13]

  • Barry's Forgotten Musical Memories with Barry Humphries (Exec Producer) – January 2016 [14]
  • The Sheila Tracy Tapes (Exec Producer) July 2016 [15]

Children's author[edit]

Hilary Robinson

The author of over 50 books[16] her first book, written to help her young daughter cope with a fear of spiders, Sarah The Spider, was published in 1995. The following year the sequel, Sarah The Spider, Prima Spiderina was short-listed for Best Picture Book by the English Association.

In Autumn 2002, Ken Livingstone and the GLC invited her to write Pick It Up – an environmental book featuring litter detectives – which was read at a high-profile launch by Lord Attenborough.[17]

The Spanish edition of The Princess's Secret Letters [18] saw the main character, Princess Isabella become renamed as Princess Letitia in recognition of the marriage in 2004 of Letizia Alvarez, a journalist, to the Spanish Heir Apparent, Felipe, Prince of Asturias.

In April 2012 Hilary Robinson with illustrator Mandy Stanley launched The Copper Tree Class books a series of accessible picture books designed to help young children cope with challenging situations. The first, The Copper Tree,[19][20] deals with bereavement, the second, Christmas Surprise,[21] celebrates relationships with the elderly and the third, Help A Hamster,[22] focusses on adoption. Other subjects to be covered include, homelessness, travelling children and child caregivers.

A year after publication USA website efunerals.com listed The Copper Tree as one of the top ten books to help children cope with death and grief.[23]

In 2014 she launched the first of four books for young children to help them engage with the centenary of the First World War - Where The Poppies Now Grow (2014) The Christmas Truce (2015) Flo of the Somme (2016) and Peace Lily (2017).

In June 2017 'Mixed Up Fairy Tales' was voted as the top book of 2004 by 384,000 children. They were taking part in the National Literacy Trust’s Young Reader’s Programme to choose their favourite books from the last twenty years.


In September 2003 Robinson visited Durban, South Africa as part of an 8-person delegation to celebrate the Durban Book Appeal in which 60,000 donated books from Leeds were distributed at the Festival of Books, organised by READ (Reading Excellence and Discovery Foundation), to resource understocked libraries in schools. She worked in schools and libraries in many of the most deprived townships and attended the opening of the new Hambanathi library.[24]

In April 2013, Robinson was invited to the Czech Republic to work in schools and libraries, as part of the ten year celebration to mark the twinning of Leeds and Brno.[25]

She is a supporter of, and has worked with, a number of reading initiatives with schools in inner city areas. She has campaigned against the move to promote age banding on children's books[26] collaborated with authors, illustrators and editors to oppose the war on Iraq[27] and supports author Alan Gibbons' campaign against cuts to the library service.[28]

Festival appearances[edit]

Robinson has appeared at the Harrogate International Festival,[29] the Edinburgh Children's Book Festival, the North of England Children's Book Festival, the Swansea Book Festival, the Manx Literary Festival[30] the Sunday Times Educational Festival[31] and the Sheffield Book Festival.


Robinson has written features for The Times, The Times Educational Supplement, The Guardian, The Independent, The Yorkshire Post, Practical Parenting, Primary English, Teach Primary, Family History Monthly and other specialist press. She is a regular blogger at The Huffington Post[32]

Radio awards[edit]

In 2004 she won the Gillard Gold Award for Religious Programming and was highly commended with an Andrew Cross Award for D Day – 60 Years On - a live broadcast from Normandy.

Writing in The Radio Magazine (issue 661) on 11 December 2004 after winning the Gillard Gold, Station Editor John Ryan described Hilary as "one of our secret weapons ... she has the ability to develop really creative treatments that make the religious subjects appeal way beyond the traditional audience for faith programmes."

Book awards[edit]

Where The Poppies Now Grow[edit]

  • The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2015 – Nominations
  • The Hampshire School's Library Award 2014 - shortlisted
  • The Education Resources Award 2015 - finalist
  • English Association Book Award 2015 – shortlist
  • Rubery Book Award 2015 – shortlisted
  • Coventry Libraries Book Award 2016 – shortlisted

The Christmas Truce[edit]

  • The Education Resources Award 2015 – finalist
  • Sheffield Children's Book Award 2015 – finalist
  • The People's Book Prize 2016 – finalist

Flo Of The Somme[edit]

  • WINNER – Historical Association – Young Quillss Award 2016
  • WINNER - North Somerset Teacher's Book Award Poetry section 2016
  • WINNER - EOCT/SLS Picture Book Award 2017

A Song For Will and The Lost Gardeners of Heligan[edit]

  • WINNER - North Somerset Teacher's Book Award Quality Fiction 2017
  • Historical Association's Young Quills Award 2018 - shortlist

Mixed Up Fairy Tales[edit]

In 2017 [33] published a list of 20 books that celebrated the most popular books of the last two decades. The books were chosen by children who took part in the Young Reader's Programme. Mixed Up Fairy Tales was voted as the top book of 2004 by 384,000 children.


She is married and lives and works in London and Yorkshire. She is a member of the Society of Authors, The Federation of Children's Books and The Radio Academy.


  • 1995 Sarah the Spider
  • 1995 Sarah the Spider Prima Spiderina
  • Learning English With Ozmo
  • 1999 E-mail: Jesus@Bethlehem
  • 1999 Sarah the Spider and the Barn Dancers
  • 1999 Sarah the Spider's Christmas Surprise
  • 2000 Mr. Spotty's Potty
  • 2000 Spells and Smells
  • 2002 Freddie's Fears
  • 2002 Pick it Up (The Green Gang)
  • 2002 The Green Gang - Raffy's Party
  • 2002 Scrapman Stan And The Magical Mixer Fixer
  • 2003 E-mail: Jesus@Anytime
  • 2003 Flynn Flies High
  • 2003 Pippin's Big Jump
  • 2004 Batty Betty's Spells
  • 2004 How to Teach a Dragon Manners
  • 2004 Mixed Up Fairy Tales
  • 2005 Cinder Wellie
  • 2005 Croc by the Rock (also Big Book edition)
  • 2005 Pet to School Day
  • 2005 Rapunzel
  • 2005 The Frog Prince
  • 2005 The Princess's Secret Letters
  • 2006 Aladdin and the Lamp
  • 2006 Over the Moon!
  • 2006 The Little Match Girl
  • 2006 The Royal Jumble Sale
  • 2007 Pocahontas the Peacemaker
  • 2007 The Princess's Secret Sleepover
  • 2008 Goldilocks and the Wolf
  • 2008 Snow White and the Enormous Turnip (also Big Book edition)
  • 2008 The Elves and the Emperor
  • 2009 Ted's Party Bus
  • 2009 Three Pigs and a Gingerbread Man
  • 2010 The Big Book of Magical Mix-Ups
  • 2011 Hurray! It's Book Day
  • 2012 The Copper Tree - [34]
  • 2012 The Copper Tree Class Christmas Surprise
  • 2013 The Copper Tree Class Help A Hamster
  • 2013 Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes
  • 2013 Beauty, The Beast and The Pea
  • 2013 Hansel and Gretel and the Ugly Duckling
  • 2013 Rapunzel and the Billy Goats Gruff
  • 2013 Cinderella and the Beanstalk
  • 2014 Where The Poppies Now Grow
  • 2014 The Christmas Truce
  • 2014 Rapunzel (Must Know Stories), Franklin Watts
  • 2015 Aladdin (Must Know Stories), Franklin Watts
  • 2015 Tom's Sunflower
  • 2015 Flo Of The Somme
  • 2016 Sid's Red Card, Franklin Watts
  • 2016 The Frog Prince (Must Know Series), Franklin Watts
  • 2016 Favourite Mixed Up Fairy Tales
  • 2016 A Song For Will – Strauss House Productions
  • 2017 Christmas Fairy Tales Mix-Up - Hodder
  • 2018 Peace Lilly – Strauss House Productions
  • 2018 Spooky Fairy Tale Mix Up - Hodder


  1. ^ "Hilary Robinson". YouTube. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Children's University". Childrensuniversity.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  3. ^ The Cambridge History of Africa - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 1 December 1998. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Livingstone: A Beginner's Guide by P.H. Turner".
  5. ^ "Good Morning Sunday (28 February 2010)". BBC. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  6. ^ "The Robeson Files". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  7. ^ "Behind Enemy Lines (7 November 2009)". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Turn Your Radio On: Ray Stevens (8 January 2008)". BBC.
  9. ^ "Turn Your Radio On: Ray Stevens (8 January 2008)". Radio Listings. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  10. ^ "In His Hands (15 May 2007)". Radio Listings. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  11. ^ Stephen Robb (3 August 2006). "The comedy master turned martyr". BBC News.
  12. ^ "A review of the radio programme 'Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons'(Radio 4)". History.ac.uk. 30 March 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Private Peaceful (28 November 2008)". BBC Radio 2.
  14. ^ "Barry's Forgotten Musical Memories". Strausshouse Productions. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  15. ^ "The Sheila Tracy Tapes". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Hilary Robinson: Books, Biogs, Audiobooks, Discussions". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  17. ^ "Thousands of schoolchildren turn detective over London litter". Press Release. 3 March 2002. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Interview with Hilary Robinson". Little Tiger Press. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  19. ^ "Children's Books - Reviews - The Copper Tree | BfK No. 193". Pop.booksforkeeps.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  20. ^ "The Copper Tree: Helping a Child Cope with Death and Loss: Amazon.co.uk: Hilary Robinson, Mandy Stanley: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Christmas Surprise Copper Tree Class Celebrating The Lives Of The Elderly The Copper Tree: Amazon.co.uk: Hilary Robinson, Mandy Stanley: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Help A Hamster: A Gentle Introduction To Adoption: Amazon.co.uk: Hilary Robinson, Mandy Stanley: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  23. ^ [1] Archived 19 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ David Marsh (11 June 2003). "Durban books plea set to smash 200,000". Yorkshire Evening Post.
  25. ^ "Visit to Czech Republic | Children's author Hilary Robinson, but also award winning radio producer, broadcaster and feature writer". Hilaryrobinson.co.uk. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  26. ^ "supporters P-S". No to Age Banding. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  27. ^ "Oppose war on children". London: The Guardian. 6 February 2003.
  28. ^ "Defend Libraries!". Alan Gibbons blog.
  29. ^ "Harrogate International Festival". Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  30. ^ "Manx Litfest". Manxlitfest.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  31. ^ [2][dead link]
  32. ^ Robinson, Hilary. "Hilary Robinson". Huffington Post.
  33. ^ "The National Literacy Trust". Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  34. ^ "Home | The Copper Tree | Hilary Robinson & Mandy Stanley". The Copper Tree. Archived from the original on 29 December 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2014.

External links[edit]