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Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019–2021

By Charlotte Carus on 10th July 2019

‘Books are transformative because of their unique ability to develop three key magical powers: intelligence, creativity and, most important of all, empathy. Words are power; let’s take magic seriously.’ - Cressida Cowell

We were delighted to hear that Cressida Cowell has been named as the new Waterstones Children's Laureate! Cressida is the author of the best-selling How to Train your Dragon series, which has become a successful franchise, with a film and a tv series in addition to the 12 original stories. The Wizards of Once, her more recent creation, won the 2018 Blue Peter Award for Best Story and the third book Knock Three Times is published in September 19. Cressida is also author of the brilliant Emily Brown picture books; Emily Brown and her old grey rabbit were an instant hit with children and parents everywhere when they burst onto the scene and won the 2006 Nestle prize. In addition to her writing Cressida has been a passionate supporter of the Wicked Children's Writer Awards, saying “I love judging this competition because it is so exciting to know that you are encouraging young people to write for the joy of it. There are no rules in this competition, they can just write about whatever excites and interests them. And that’s the way to find future writers.”

Awarded every two years, the Children's Laureate is given to an illustrator and/or author of outstanding excellence and is a prestigious role but also one of responsibility to champion children's literature and reading, employing their own individual passion and ideas.
 
Cressida Cowell's 10-point plan for children

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. Put a book down if they're not enjoying it

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

Created by Ted Hughes and Michael Morpurgo in 1999, there is an impressive list of previous Laureates including Malorie Blackman, Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson, Quentin Blake and the retiring Laureate, Lauren Child. Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, and sponsored by Waterstones, the Children's Laureate is now in its 20th year. Diana Gerald, CEO at BookTrust, said: 'BookTrust is honoured to manage the Waterstones Children’s Laureate. Cressida Cowell is a superb successor to Lauren Child as she becomes the 11th Laureate. Cowell is already an extraordinary advocate for children’s reading, and I have no doubt having the Laureate platform will only amplify her voice to help champion children’s reading across the country and help to unlock their creativity.'

You can find out more about the Waterstones Children's Laureate at www.booktrust.org.uk/what-we-do/childrens-laureate
And on twitter @BookTrust

Read more about Cressida Cowell on her author page, which includes her top tips for budding writers!

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