The new children’s laureate will be unveiled in Hull, City of Culture 2017.
The new laureate will take over from the current "inspirational" postholder Chris Riddell in a ceremony in Hull City Hall on 7th June. Riddell will present the new laureate with a specially commissioned solid silver medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque during the ceremony.
The role is awarded once every two years to an author or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and to acknowledge their importance in creating the readers of tomorrow. Previous laureates include Quentin Blake, Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman.
Waterstones m.d, James Daunt, said: “Chris Riddell has been an inspirational Waterstones children's laureate, adding to an extraordinary lineage in the post. They perform wonders to encourage reading and to bring issues of literacy to public attention. We could not be more proud to be associated with their work and to be supporting the new laureate over the next two years.”
Last year Riddell used his role to ask education secretary Justine Greening to end the “disadvantageous school library lottery" and ensure every child in the country has access to a school library service. His statement gained the full support of all eight former Children’s Laureates: Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson and Malorie Blackman.
The c.e.o of charity BookTrust, Diana Gerald said: “BookTrust are incredibly honoured to manage the children’s laureate programme, it is a vital element in championing, and embedding, the importance of children reading for pleasure. We are delighted the announcement will be held in Hull and look forward to finding out who will take over from Chris Riddell, promoting the power of reading to children across the country.”
Rosie Millard, chair of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 said: "Hull has a great literary heritage, which we are celebrating across the year and it is wonderful that it will host the announcement of the new waterstones children's laureate during its year as UK City of Culture. Reading and literacy are a key part of our 'No Limits' Learning programme and this is an opportunity to inspire a new generation of readers. It is also going to help build the anticipation of young people ahead of the city's first ever children's literature festival 'The Big Malarkey' in July."
Abigail Campbell, chair of the Waterstones children’s laureate steering group, said: “The work of the Waterstones children’s laureate during their two year tenure is not only an inspiration to children and families, but also of huge influence on the publishing industry and policy-makers at the highest level. The panel can’t wait to announce the new champion of children’s books.”
The post of children’s laureate was established in 1999. Waterstones is the lead sponsor of the post, with other sponsorship and funding coming from various children’s publishers and Arts Council England. The Twitter hashtag for the Children’s Laureate is #ChildrensLaureate.