There aren’t many contemporary children’s writers as prolific as Julia Donaldson. Her whimsical, rhyming stories like The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and What The Ladybird Heard have inspired the imaginations of countless children around the world, and been the first spark of a lifelong love for reading.
Growing up in 1950s England, Donaldson’s life was full of magic and mischief. She imagined her cat Geoffrey was a prince in disguise (and argued with her sister about which one was to marry him). She later became a busker with her husband, travelling across Europe singing twee folk songs, an experience that went on to become a job writing for children’s television shows, where she penned A Squash a Squeeze. This little poem led to her collaboration with Alex Scheffler, who we all know as the illustrator of The Gruffalo series. The rest, as they say, is history.
Having such an immensely creative brain earned her the designation of Children’s Laureate for 2011-2013, a position which has been held by other great writers and illustrators such as Quentin Blake (illustrator of Roald Dahl and David Walliams books), Michael Morpurgo and Anthony Browne. Holding this post, she promoted children’s literacy, encouraging kids to read aloud to themselves and others. Donaldson’s books are perfect for this sort of activity– the words jump off the page and arrange themselves in fun and interesting ways in the ear.
Nearly 20 years after the publication of The Gruffalo, Pan Macmillan, Donaldson’s original publisher, has a bevy of charming, brightly illustrated and charming picture books by the former Children’s Lareuate releasing this fall.
What the Ladybird Heard Next (9781447275954, $19.99, HC, October 9th) is a follow up to What the Ladybird Heard, a barnyard romp that sold over one million copies worldwide.
Also releasing is a fresh reissue of Rosie’s Hat in both paperback (9781447266129, $11.99, September 11th) and a smart little board book (9781447266136, $9.99, September 11th).
There’s many more of her books to be enjoyed, and you can find a listing of them here. As always, we’re happy to make personal recommendations if you don’t quite find what you’re looking for. Experience the magic of Julia Donaldson’s universe and pass it along to your children.