Waterstones Children's Laureate 2019 - 2021: Cressida Cowell
It is our enormous pleasure to welcome Cressida Cowell as the 11th Waterstones Children’s Laureate, a unique post awarded biennially to an oustanding author or illustrator of children's books. Known to readers around the world for her wildly popular How to Train Your Dragon series, Cressida Cowell’s writing and illustration is steeped in myth, folklore and richly conjured fantasy. From her earliest picture books to her new Wizards of Once books, her work has married big ideas and fundamental themes with action-packed, humorous storytelling that leaves children spellbound.
Taking up the iconic silver medal from outgoing laureate Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell launches her two-year tenure with the Cressida Cowell Waterstones Children’s Laureate Charter, a ‘giant to-do list’ to help promote children’s access to books and to share the joy of reading, writing and imagination with young people around the country.
The How To Train Your Dragon Series
The Wizards of Once Series
The Emily Brown Series
The brain-child of the then Poet Laureate Ted Hughes – himself the author of many superb stories for children – and Michael Morpurgo, the post of Children’s Laureate was launched in 1999. Selected by a panel made up of librarians, critics, writers, literature development workers and booksellers, the role is awarded to an outstanding children’s author or illustrator with a passion for fostering a new generation of writers, artists and readers. As well as being a celebration of exceptional writing, the laureateship is a vital spearhead, advocating for children’s fundamental rights to read, write and access books through bookshops and libraries.
Lauren Child 2017 - 2019
A titan of twentieth-century picture books, Lauren Child is the outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate, having held the post since 2017. As the author/illustrator of the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean books, she has an uncanny ability to articulate youthful creativity and used her tenure as Laureate to encourage stronger links between children’s literature and other art and media forms.
Chris Riddell 2015 - 2017
Writer, illustrator, witty and wise chronicler of the modern world and Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate 2015-2017, the list of Chris Riddell’s professions is a catalogue of seemingly limitless talent. As recognised for his own fiction for children as he is for his many collaborative works, Riddell is a tireless champion of reading and illustration in the modern age.
Malorie Blackman 2013 - 2015
An award-winning British author and dramatist Malorie Blackman is a major voice in children’s publishing, holding the post of Waterstones Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015. She is best-known for her bestselling novels Noughts & Crosses series and her tireless work to promote greater diversity in writing for children and teenagers.
Julia Donaldson 2011 - 2013
It is impossible to imagine a time before every child’s bookcase contained a sticky-finger-marked, lovingly well-read copy of The Gruffalo, so great has been the impact of author, poet and song-writer Julia Donaldson. As Children’s Laureate between 2011 and 2013 Donaldson worked extensively to support literacy for deaf children and campaign against library closures.
Anthony Browne 2009 - 2011
A celebrated British children’s author and illustrator and the Waterstones Children’s Laureate from 2009 to 2011, Anthony Browne turned his talents as a greetings card illustrator into inspiration for his strikingly original picture books. As Laureate he championed children’s appreciation of the way words and pictures tell stories together.
Michael Rosen 2007 - 2009
With a faultless ear for poetry and expert comic timing, Michael Rosen has been writing and performing his work for children since the 1970s, publishing over 150 books of stories, jokes and poetry for all ages. Between 2007 and 2009, he used his tenure as Children’s Laureate to help children find their voices as writers and poets.
Jacqueline Wilson 2005 - 2007
A prodigious storyteller, with an uncanny knack for understanding and empathising with children of all ages, Jacqueline Wilson has never been afraid to challenge the prevailing wisdom that books for children should avoid difficult issues. As Laureate, Jacqueline produced the Great Books to Read Aloud book, encouraging families to share stories.
Michael Morpurgo 2003 - 2005
Anne Fine 2001 - 2003
An acclaimed and award-winning author of books for both adults and children, Anne Fine was the second Waterstones Children’s Laureate from 2001 to 2003. In post she published three poetry anthologies to encourage children’s confidence with verse and launched the My Home Library scheme which helped children to build their own library.
Quentin Blake 1999 - 2001
The very first Children’s Laureate, Sir Quentin Blake established the role in collaboration with the Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes. He used his time in the role to inspire children through illustration and compiled a book to educate children about environmental and humanitarian issues as well as the limitless power of storytelling.