The Waterstones Children's Laureate

Illustrator, cartoonist and writer Chris Riddell is the Waterstones Children's Laureate 2015-2017 and Waterstones booksellers are proud to support him as he champions reading and illustration in his new role.

Literacy has a new super hero!

At an awards presentation in London the much-loved 2013-2015 Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman passed on the laureateship to Chris. Graciously accepting the position, he explained the work he would do during his two-year term:


During my term I want to use the immediacy and universality of illustration to bring people together and lead them all into the wonderful world of books and reading.

- Chris Riddell


Isn't that great? It's like he's a super hero, saving kids from a dull and boring, bookless world!

All of us at Waterstones look forward to working with Chris in promoting children's literature, illustration and storytelling in our bookshops and beyond. It's time for us all to don our capes and fight illiteracy wherever it hides...


So...what is a Children's Laureate?

The role of Children's Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent 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.


I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil and an idea at the heart of my term as Laureate.

- Chris Riddell


Of course, there's so much more to the job than the title - it's about how the Laureate spends their time in the position. As part of his work, Chris will be defending school libraries and librarians, and emphasising the excitement of illustration at live events, both alone and with a cast of unexpected collaborators from across the arts.

The YA Huntress 

Who are the previous Laureates?

Children's Laureates are heros to book lovers here at Waterstones, and the roster which Chris Riddell joins is prestigious.

  • Quentin Blake (1999-2001)
  • Anne Fine (2001-2003)
  • Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005)
  • Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007)
  • Michael Rosen (2007-2009)
  • Anthony Browne (2009-2011)
  • Julia Donaldson (2011-2013)
  • Malorie Blackman (2013-2015)

Wow! As you can see, some of the biggest names in Children's books are here.


I couldn't be more proud to accept this vital role, on which successive Laureates have stamped their identities in their own distinctive ways.

- Chris Riddell


At the ceremony, Chris talked of the influence his predecessors have had on him, describing them as Children's Laureate Super Heroes, 'The Fantastic 8' - he even drew illustrations of them to share.

The Big Blue Picture Book Bear 

How can I help?

Good question! So you want to help spread the word and get children reading? Well there's no better place to start than with schools, and no better advocate than the Laureate himself. Here's what he has to say on the need to allocate more time and space for reading in schools:


I want to help and encourage every school to do more for readers: if they have nowhere to read, create a space with a few books; if they have a bookshelf, have two; if they have a reading room, aim for a library!

- Chris Riddell


For more ideas on how to help support the Waterstones Children's Laureate and their work, and for more information about the role, you can visit the official Children's Laureate website.

The Fantasy Wizard 

Browse books by Chris Riddell

As well as writing his own books, Chris has collaborated with a variety of authors: Paul Stewart on the Muddle Earth, Edge Chronicles and Wyrmweald series; Neil Gaiman on The Graveyard Book, The Sleeper and the Spindle, and Fortunately the Milk, and Russell Brand on Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper of Hamelin.