Lauren Child – UK Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2017-2019
Lauren Child grew up in Marlborough, Wiltshire. She is the middle of three sisters and both her parents are teachers. She went to school in Marlborough, including Marlborough School in the sixth form where her father was Head of Art. One of her favourite subjects at school was Latin. She went on to Art School in Manchester and London and has had a variety of jobs from waitressing to designing exotic, elegant lampshades and working as an artist’s assistant in Damian Hirst’s studio, painting spots. Lauren initially wanted to write a television series but it was a friend who suggested that she try and write and illustrate a picture book.
Lauren Child is considered one of the most talented, funny and individual author/illustrators working today. She burst on to the children’s book scene in 1999 with two picture books, I Want a Pet and Clarice Bean – That’s Me. Her fresh and funny books were an instant hit. In 2000 Lauren won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato and in 2002 That Pesky Rat won the Gold Smarties Award. Lauren also published her first novel in the same year, Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, which was a runaway success and has been sold in ten foreign editions. A second novel, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble was published in 2004 and her third Clarice Bean novel – Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now was published in October 2006.
October 2005 saw the UK launch of the 78-part animated series CHARLIE & LOLA on CBBC, produced by Tiger Aspect. This has become one of the most popular series on tv and won several awards worldwide including 4 BAFTAS. The programme is now aired in more than 34 countries. The spin-off books have sold over 10 million copies.
Lauren is a passionate advocate for visual literacy and the importance of quality picture books for children. She is also passionate about encouraging creativity in children and adults. Her own childhood dollshouse was exhibited by the House of Illustration in 2015 and appeared on the BBC as a time-lapse film of her dressing the dollshouse for the exhibition. She has spent years building her dollshouse and creating and collecting the miniatures for it, and in 2015 she has presented a BBC 4 Secret Knowledge programme about dollshouses.
In 2008 Lauren launched the ‘My Life is a Story Campaign’ for UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need. Her award-winning picture book That Pesky Rat was republished in April 2008 by Hachette Children’s Books with all profits going to UNESCO’s Programme for the Education of Children in Need. In December 2008 she was named as Artist for Peace for Unesco. Lauren was awarded an MBE for services to literature in the 2010. Lauren is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and a trustee of the House of Illustration. She was named the 10th Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate in 2017.
A touring exhibition of her work Green Drops and Moonsquirters was launched in 2009 by Manchester Art Gallery and visited all parts of the UK until 2011, and more recently Lauren has worked with the National Trust for exhibitions at Mottisfont House in Hampshire, Lyme Park in Cheshire and Newby Hall in Yorkshire.
In 2009 Liberty commissioned Lauren as one of a series of illustrators to design prints for their 2011 summer fabric collection. Lauren used Clarice Bean as a starting point for her designs, wanting to create prints that Clarice might wear.
In 2010 Lauren signed a 6 book deal with Harper Collins to publish a new series of books for 9 plus age-group, and in Autumn 2011 the first book in Lauren’s Ruby Redfort series was published – Ruby Redfort: Look into my Eyes, followed by Take Your Last Breath, published October 2012 and Catch Your Death in 2013. Ruby is a smart-talking, code-cracking, girl-spy genius, who together with her side-kick butler solves mysteries and helps rid the world of evil villains. The sixth and final adventure for Ruby was published in 2016 – Ruby Redfort: Blink and You Die.
2015 was the 15th Anniversary of the first Charlie and Lola picture book and the 10th Anniversary of the Charlie and Lola tv series. A new original Charlie and Lola picture book by Lauren Child was published in Autumn 2017 by Orchard Books called Charlie and Lola: A Dog with Nice Ears. Two new books from Harper Collins are published in Autumn 2018 – a chapter book based on her much-loved picture book Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent and an illustrated classic edition of Mary Poppins to tie in with the release of the new Mary Poppins film in 2018.