Just Imagine: Congratulations on becoming the latest Children’s Laureate! How have the first few months of your Laureateship been and what are your plans for your time in the post?
Lauren Child: It has been a busy time but really interesting one. I am enjoying the chance to think about and discuss ideas, particularly the importance for children to have time and space to think and dream, and to discover their own creative potential.
JI: What are your earliest memories of books and reading? Did you have a favourite or inspirational book as a child?
LC: There were many books which meant a great deal to me when I was a child. Some, like Pippi Longstocking have inspired my writing and I was delighted to have the opportunity to illustrate it. I loved that Pippi was a girl who did not behave like a girl was ‘supposed’ to behave. She felt real to me. A funny, fearless, independent, tree-climbing child, it was refreshing to see a girl depicted in this way.
JI: For you, what makes a successful book or illustration?
LC: A picture book has to work for all age groups. They are often read aloud by an adult to children of varying ages so need a certain immediacy for the very young, whilst also communicating more complex thoughts and emotions for the older reader.
JI: We’re looking forward to your new Charlie & Lola title, A Dog With Nice Ears, which is the first for quite a while in this series. Will you still have time to do more writing & illustration in the next 2 years?
LC: Yes, I have just finished a young fiction which is highly illustrated and I am just working on another illustrated book for another author. Both to be published next year.
JI: Finally, what would be the one main thing that you would like to achieve in your time as Children’s Laureate?
LC: To remind everyone what creative beings we all are. If we don’t allow ourselves the space to be creative then nothing is invented discovered or made. Smart phones and tablets are incredible things but if we don’t occasionally detach ourselves from them, allow ourselves to day dream and drift and occasionally feel bored then we will never discover what we are capable of – drift time is where ideas are made. Try learning something new just because it interests you, just because you think you might enjoy it – forget the end result or what everyone else might say.
When you walk down a street look up at the buildings, try and notice something you have never seen before. Look at the pavement and see what has been dropped, lost, left behind or scrawled in chalk or paint. It’s amazing what you see.
We are born with this wonderful desire to make, explore and create and it’s this curiosity about the world and what we can do with it that makes us feel fulfilled and makes us us.
Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
Just Imagine Story Centre Ltd