Tag Archives: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Lockdown Reads

Lockdown Reads with Michael Morpurgo

We caught up with acclaimed children’s author Michael Morpurgo to discuss books and reading – and which books he would choose if he could only have three while in lockdown!

Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo

If you could only have three books to read in lockdown, what would they be?

The complete works of Shakespeare because I am actually re-telling some of Shakespeare’s plays right now. Perhaps a poetry collection – I love poetry so perhaps The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes or the poetry of Sean Rafferty who was a poet who lived near us in our village in Devon. Another suggestion would be the biography of Samuel Pepys – The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin.

What is your favourite place to read?

I love to read somewhere comfortable – sitting on my bed with lots of pillows propped up behind me with the book on my knees. This is how I write too.

Who do you go to for book recommendations?

My wife a lot of the time but also friends recommend and send me books.

Why do you read?

Reading makes you realise you are not alone and enables you to escape and meet people from all over the world. And books and reading give you knowledge and understanding and insights into yourself and others.

Reading makes you realise you are not alone and enables you to escape and meet people from all over the world.

When I was a boy I didn’t like reading but I loved stories and being read to. I was lucky because my mother always read to my brother and I the stories and poems that she loved – Kipling, Walter de la Mare and Robert Louis Stevenson and she passed on to me her love of words and stories and poems.

Why do you think it is important that everyone has access to books?

Because reading can and does change lives.

Despite everything – great teachers, writers, illustrators, publishers and libraries – there still exists a divide, between haves and have-nots, between those who read, who through books, through developing an enjoyment of literature, can have the opportunity to access the considerable cultural and material benefits of our society; and those who were made to feel very early on that the world of words, of books, of stories, of ideas, was not for them.

 

Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain’s best-loved writers for children. He has written over 150 books, has served as Children’s Laureate, and has won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Writers Guild Award, the Whitbread Award, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Eleanor Farjeon Lifetime Achievement Award. With his wife, Clare, he is the co-founder of Farms for City Children. Michael was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and charity.

His latest book, Boy Giant, is published by HarperCollins. Find out more here.

Boy Giant

 

20 reasons to celebrate children's books

Sparking imaginations long after the last page

On Thursday 2nd March, World Book Day turns 20! That’s 20 years of celebrating children’s books and the joy that reading can bring.

To mark this special anniversary, we’ve teamed up with 20 top children’s authors, illustrators, publishers and journalists to bring you 20 reasons to celebrate children’s books.

Today we are very pleased to welcome the brilliant author of  Time Travelling With A Hamster, Ross Welford, to share why he believes children’s books should be celebrated:

 

Ross Welford

 

One of the great, and completely unexpected, joys of the last year has been seeing versions of Time Travelling With A Hamster appearing in other languages.

From Zeitreise Mit Hamster in German, and In Viaggio Nel Tempo Con Il Criceto in Italian to something I can’t even write in Korean, it’s a pleasing reminder of just how gloriously open are children’s minds.  Quite what a Korean ten year-old makes of the adventures of a mixed-race Geordie boy and his pet rodent I can’t tell, but my hope is that the child’s imagination will compensate for any cultural gaps.

That, surely, is the glory of storytelling: the ability to encourage the reader to experience in his or her imagination something that might never happen in real life.  As a writer, it’s a privilege to be allowed to play with someone’s imagination like that – even more so when it is a child whose imagination has not yet been stunted by the quotidian cares of adulthood.

Ask an adult what his or her favourite book is, and there’s a good chance that the answer will be a book from childhood.  Watership Down, perhaps, or Lord Of The Rings, or The Chronicles Of Narnia or something by Phillip Pullman. This June marks – incredibly – the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone, so there are now many grown-ups who will name this and its shelf-mates as their favourites.  Proof, if it were needed, of the immense power of children’s books to spark the imagination long after the last page.

I’d love to think that in twenty years’ time a Korean adult might name the story he read as a child about an English kid and his hamster as his favourite ever book!

 

Ross Welford was a magazine journalist and television producer in the UK before becoming an author. He lives in London with his young family, a border collie, a hamster, and several tropical fish. Time Travelling With A Hamster was his first book. His second book, What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible is out now, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books.

 

World Book Day is an annual celebration of authors. illustrators, books and reading. Every year on World Book Day, thousands of school children dress up as their favourite children’s book characters to raise money for Book Aid International, so we can send more brand new books to libraries and schools in Africa. Last year they raised over £120,000 – enough to send 60,000 books to communities where children would otherwise have extremely limited opportunities to read! Learn more about World Book Day here.

Visit our World Book Day resources page for fundraising ideas, classroom resources and costume guides. Fundraise for Book Aid International this World Book Day and share the joy of reading with children in communities where books are scarce.

 

20 reasons to celebrate children's books

A good children’s book is a TARDIS

On Thursday 2nd March, World Book Day turns 20! That’s 20 years of celebrating children’s books and the joy that reading can bring.

To mark this special anniversary, we’ve teamed up with 20 top children’s authors, illustrators, publishers and journalists to bring you 20 reasons to celebrate children’s books.

Today we are delighted to welcome bestselling author/illustrator Rob Biddulph to share why he believes children’s books are so brilliant:

 

Rob Biddulph

 

A good children’s book is a TARDIS. When you open the cover and step inside you aren’t in your little bedroom with mummy or daddy any more. You are in the forest hunting Gruffalo. You are getting home from school and inviting tigers round to tea. You are a viking training dragons on the Isle of Berk. You are flying kites with penguins, seals and polar bears in the Antarctic.

That first book, the one that you really, really love. That you ask for night after night after night. That book is your gateway into a world of imagination, fantasy, adventure and fun that will continue to nourish you for the rest of your life. That book is a TARDIS.

Rob Biddulph is a bestselling and award-winning author/illustrator whose first picture book, Blown Away, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2015. His second, GRRRRR!, was nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway medal and his third, Odd Dog Out, was published in August 2016. His fourth picture book, Sunk!, will be published in March 2017 by HarperCollins Children’s Books. As well as working on his own books he also illustrates for other authors including Piers Torday, David Solomons and Christian O’Connell.  Before he became a full-time author/illustrator he was the art director of the Observer Magazine, NME, Uncut, SKY and Just Seventeen.

 

World Book Day is an annual celebration of authors. illustrators, books and reading. Every year on World Book Day, thousands of school children dress up as their favourite children’s book characters to raise money for Book Aid International, so we can send more brand new books to libraries and schools in Africa. Last year they raised over £120,000 – enough to send 60,000 books to communities where children would otherwise have extremely limited opportunities to read! Learn more about World Book Day here.

Visit our World Book Day resources page for fundraising ideas, classroom resources and costume guides. Fundraise for Book Aid International this World Book Day and share the joy of reading with children in communities where books are scarce.