'Goth Girl' author Riddell named Britain's new Children's Laureate

Tue Jun 9, 2015 8:40am EDT
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By Simon Falush

LONDON (Reuters) - "Goth Girl" author and illustrator Chris Riddell was named Britain's new Children's Laureate on Tuesday and said he would like to use to the post to encourage children to draw as well as read.

Riddell, whose books feature finely detailed, humorous illustrations bursting with life, said he wanted to unleash children's imagination.

"I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil and an idea at the heart of my term as Laureate," he said in a statement.

His "Goth Girl the Ghost of a Mouse" is a parody of a gothic novel and won the 2013 Costa Book Awards in the children's category.

Riddell said he wanted to use his two years as Children's Laureate, run by the charity Book Trust, to explore ways of bringing words and pictures together.

"I'm interested in illustration in all its forms... as a way of drawing people into books and stories," he said.

Like previous laureates such as Michael Rosen and "Gruffalo" author Julia Donaldson, Riddell said he would champion the role of reading in schools.

"I want to help and encourage every school to do more for readers: if they have nowhere to read, create a space with a few books; if they have a bookshelf, have two; if they have a reading room, aim for a library."   Continued...

Shortlisted author Chris Riddell poses for a photograph with his book "Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse" before the announcement of the winner of the Costa Book Awards, in London January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor