Author and illustrator Cressida Cowell has become the second University of Brighton graduate since 2015 to be named Children’s Laureate.
Cressida who studied MA Narrative Illustration at the University, is best known for her How to Train Your Dragon books, which have been adapted into film and television series. Her work has been published in 38 languages.
Cressida follows Brighton alumnus and honorary graduate Chris Riddell, who held the Children’s Laureate role from 2015 to 2017.
After being unveiled at a ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Ms Cowell told BBC News: “Books and reading are magic and this magic must be available to absolutely everyone.
“I’m honoured to be chosen… I will be a laureate who fights for books and children’s interests with passion, conviction and action. Practical magic, empathy and creative intelligence, is the plan.”
Cressida also stressed her desire to review the role of primary school libraries and to ensure that all children have access to literature regardless of “socio-economic background”.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “We are very proud of our alumna Cressida Cowell for being named Children’s Laureate. Along with her fellow Brighton graduate Chris Riddell’s recent stint as Laureate, Cressida’s honour is testament to the practical wisdom taught on our arts degrees.
“We wish Cressida all the best in her new role – and we’re sure she’ll have a real impact in introducing children to the wonder of literature.”
The author announced a ’10-point plan for children’:
- Read for the joy of it
- Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
- Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
- Own their OWN book
- See themselves reflected in a book
- Be read aloud to
- Put a book down if they’re not enjoying it
- Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
- See an author event at least ONCE
- Have a planet to read on
The Children’s Laureate is chosen by a panel of judges from the literature world. Authors can be submitted by children, who can also vote online.
Former Children’s Laureates include Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson.