Category: Fiction

Video/ “We need to talk about children’s books in a grown-up way”: Lauren Child

Lauren Child

Clarice Bean creator Lauren Child praises Stormzy and calls for children’s books to be taken more seriously, says Katie Law.

Lauren Child thinks children’s book publishing still gets a bad deal. It’s one of the reasons the best-selling author-illustrator and current Children’s Laureate — her tenure ends this year — is so happy to be a judge for this year Oscar’s Book Prize. “There’s still a lot of snootiness about children’s books. Just look at the teeny-weeny percentage that get reviewed compared to adults. It’s as if there’s a kind of hierarchy.”

Child is best known for her books featuring Clarice Bean, Charlie and Lola (who became a TV series), Ruby Redfort and Hubert Horatio, which together have sold more than five million copies worldwide. In the two decades since we first met quirky, snub-nosed Clarice Bean and her chaotic, trendy family, her legions of original fans have become adults. “The most touching experience in my whole career is talking to grown-ups who tell me what the book meant to them when they were growing up,” says Child, 53. “It’s why I’m so passionate about the idea that children’s book writing and illustrating should get more recognition, and why prizes like Oscar’s Book Prize are so important, because there is so little coverage. We know that a child’s life can be changed by what they read, so why don’t we spend more time thinking about what that material is?”