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Donaldson new children's laureate
07.06.11 | Katie Allen
Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson has been named as the new Waterstone's children's laureate.
The announcement was made at a ceremony today (7th June) at King's Place in central London. Donaldson was presented with the children’s laureate medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque by Floella Benjamin, chair of the selection committee. She takes over from Anthony Browne.
Donaldson said: "It is a great honour to have been chosen as the new children's laureate. Over the next two years I hope to find every opportunity to be a spokesperson and advocate for children's books and reading."
The role is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.
Donaldson said: "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 added: "As someone with minor hearing difficulties myself, I am very interested in promoting signed stories for deaf children, and of course I want to add my voice as children's laureate to the libraries campaign. So drama, music, stories for deaf children, libraries, plus building on the great work of my six predecessors as laureate: these will be my "big things", and they are all linked to the "biggest thing of all" – the pleasure and richness to be gained from reading."
Toby Bourne, Waterstone's head of books, said: "We could not be more delighted about Julia's appointment. We love working with her, we love her books, her imagination and the pure joy her words bring to the children that visit our stores. She will be an amazing laureate."
Donaldson is the author of over 120 books and plays for children and teenagers, including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Cave Baby, Freddie and the Fairy and What the Ladybird Heard. In 2010, she was the most borrowed children's author from UK libraries.
Donaldson's poem, composed for the event:
What's this we hear? Has there been some mistake?
The role first assumed by the august Quentin Blake,
The torch that was borne by the second-in-line,
The refreshingly bold and outspoken Anne Fine,
Then passed to the Libra-born Michael Morpurgo
Is going to be held by a Scotland-based Virgo?
Does she really assume that she's equal to tackling
The issues addressed by the illustrious Dame Jacqueline?
She says that she's planning to put lots of shows on,
But how could she rival the great Michael Rosen?
And how can they possibly hand her the crown
When she can't play the Shape Game like Anthony Browne?
Yes it's all very strange. It's extremely peculiar.
The new Children's Laureate's this woman called Julia.