BookTrust has extended Cressida Cowell's tenure as Waterstones Children's Laureate by a year, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The author of How to Train your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series will continue in the role until June 2022, to "ensure that the ambitions laid out at the start of her tenure can become a reality and make a tangible difference to children’s lives". The move marks the first time in the role's 20-year legacy that a laureate has occupied the post beyond two years.
Cowell said: “Thank you to BookTrust for extending my laureateship so that we can take this time to adapt our plans in progress to best face this challenging moment.
"It is when times are hardest that we need the transformative magic of books and creativity the most. To bring books into the hands of each and every child in the UK is going to require some practical magic and action. I’m delighted to have this extra year to bring these plans to life."
Cowell has launched BookTrust Home Time, to entertain families during the lockdown. The resource features drawing lessons, competitions, quizzes and daily readings from How to Train Your Dragon.
Jill Coleman, director of Children's Books at BookTrust, said: “Anyone who has met Cressida, listened to her talk or read one of her books, will know she is a true force for reading magic.
"This additional year as Waterstones Children’s Laureate will allow us all to do justice to Cressida’s boundless creativity, enthusiasm and determination, and create a legacy that will change children’s lives."
The Children's Laureate is awarded biennally to a leading children's author or illustrator. Previous laureates include Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson.