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Cressida Cowell is the new Children's Laureate

11th Jul 19

Cressida Cowell, bestselling author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series, and author of the Emily Brown picture books, is the new Children's Laureate. She will hold the post until 2021.

Cowell was presented with the silver Laureate medal by the outgoing Children's Laureate, Lauren Child, at a ceremony at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.

This is the 20th anniversary of the Children's Laureate, which is awarded once every two years to an eminent children's author or illustrator to honour outstanding achievement in their field. Previous laureates include Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo.

Each of the laureates brings their own distinctive programme to the role, aiming to create a legacy for their specific passion. Cressida Cowell's 'charter' - a giant 'to-do list' - aims to help ensure that books and reading are available to everyone. The charter asserts that every child has the right to:

1. Read for the joy of it

2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops

3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller

4. Own their OWN book

5. See themselves reflected in a book

6. Be read aloud to

7. Have some choice in what they read

8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week

9. See an author event at least ONCE

10. Have a planet to read on

During the ceremony, Cowell spoke about the importance of school libraries and her plans to campaign for these to be made statutory, and, along with public libraries and librarians, funded properly.

Cowell also spoke about helping to develop children's creative intelligence in the context of the cultural industries and the value they add to the UK economy and beyond, arguing for creative space on the curriculum.

She added, "Books and reading are Magic and this magic must be available to absolutely everyone. I'm honoured to be chosen to be the 11th Waterstones Children's Laureate. I will be a Laureate who fights for books and children's interests with passion, conviction and action. Practical magic, empathy and creative intelligence, is the plan."

The Children's Laureate role is managed by Book Trust and sponsored by bookselling chain Waterstones.

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