Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 11:59 UK

Browne is new Children's Laureate


Anthony Browne is Children's Laureate

Author and illustrator Anthony Browne is the new Children's Laureate, it has been announced.

Browne, whose books include Gorilla, Zoo and the Willy series of adventures, takes over from poet Michael Rosen.

The post is awarded once every two years to an eminent children's writer or illustrator to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.

Browne said he wanted to encourage more children to enjoy reading and books, particularly picture books.

He said: "Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older.

Quentin Blake (1999-2001)
Anne Fine (2001-2003)
Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005)
Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007)
Michael Rosen (2007-2009)

"The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader's imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book.

"Sometimes I hear parents encouraging their children to read what they call 'proper books' (books without pictures), at an earlier and earlier age.

"This makes me sad, as picture books are perfect for sharing, and not just with the youngest children.

"As a father, I understand the importance of the bond that develops through reading picture books with your child.

"We have in Britain some of the best picture book makers in the world, and I want to see their books appreciated for what they are - works of art," he added.

Anthony Browne. Photographer: Laurence Cendrowicz
Browne said he was looking forward to the challenge

Browne, who becomes the sixth person to hold the position, and was presented with his Children's Laureate Medal and a £15,000 bursary by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion at a ceremony in London.

Motion said: "Anthony Browne is an absolutely distinctive and extraordinarily skilful artist - someone whose work entrances children, and has influenced an entire generation of illustrators.

"His pictures and stories give deep and immediate pleasures, while also insisting that we - children and adults - return to them. And when we return, we have a gradually expanding sense of discovery."

The award is now funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and administered by Booktrust, and sponsored by Waterstone's.

Viv Bird, chief executive of Booktrust said: "The role of the Children's Laureate is that of ambassador and champion for children's literature.

"As managers of the award, Booktrust has been delighted with the enthusiasm and contribution made by each of the Laureates, and welcomes Anthony's appointment wholeheartedly."

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