BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Wednesday June 10 2009 11:55 GMT

Hotseat: Children's Laureate Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne

A brand new Children's Laureate has been announced, and it's author and illustrator Anthony Browne.

He will hold the role for the next two years, and takes over from poet Michael Rosen.

Anthony agreed to chat with Newsround about the post, so we grilled the author and illustrator with some of YOUR questions.

Read on for his answers!

Was writing your favourite subject at school? - Lewis, 10, Nottingham

"I liked writing and art and doing both together! I liked to write stories and was quite good at it.

"Also I really liked sport - so if I wasn't kicking a ball about I would be making up or drawing stories."

When you were a child, what was your ambition? - Phoebe, 11, Spalding

"When I was very young I wanted to be one of three things - a boxer, a journalist or a cartoonist."

What inspired you to become an author? - Natalie, 10, Hucknall

"As I said, I enjoyed writing and drawing stories when I was young. When I was very little I lived in a pub and I used to go into the bar and tell stories to all the customers!

"My parents were also really encouraging. I also loved fairy tales and Alice and Wonderland which inspired me."

I'd love to be a writer but I just don't know where to start. How did you get into writing and do you have any tips? - Síona, 11, Dublin

"I was first published because I had designed a greetings card and I think the publisher was more willing to give me a chance even though I hadn't written or illustrated a children's book before.

"I suggest you always try to write about something you know or from experience - maybe something you've heard or or read.

"And read and draw as much as you can - keep doing it, be patient and persevere!

"I often have two or three ideas in my head but have found that by joining them it makes one big idea. I storyboard the pages of books with quick rough sketches and a few words.

"Sometimes it feels a bit like a film director putting together a mixture of words and pictures."

What was your first published book? - Theo, 8, Spalding

"The first book I had published was Through the Magic Mirror in 1976 and it was an incredible thrill.

"When I first saw it being sold in a bookshop it was wonderful!"

What is your favourite book that you have ever written? Who is YOUR favourite author? - Rachel, 11, Ballymena

"My book Gorilla is my favourite. It was the seventh book I had published but the first one that I really started to work out how to create picture books and make stories out of words and pictures.

My favourite children's book author is Maurice Sendak - you might know his famous book, Where the Wild Things Are. I think he is a huge influence on lots of illustrators."

Do you think it is always wrong to keep animals in zoos, or do you think it can be a safer place for them than being hunted in the wild? - Amelia, 9, West Molesey

"I have mixed feelings on zoos. I wish we didn't have to have them really, but understand why we do need some ways of protecting endangered animals and stopping them becoming extinct.

"And I know of some zoos that have programmes which have helped save endangered animals and introduce them back in the wild which is a good thing."

Are you nervous about this new job and if so, why? - Sara, 10, London

"I was more nervous a few days ago before it was announced that I was Children's Laureate!

"It is quite odd for me as so far it has involved lots of talking and I'm used to spending most of my days on my own sitting in my studio but I think it will calm down.

"So far it feels like it has gone OK but it has been a bit intense so I am looking forward to sharing my time on being the new Laureate and still working on picture books."