Julia Donaldson the new Children’s Laureate

Congratulations to Julia Donaldson who was announced as the Children’s Laureate for 2011-2013 this week. Even though I voted for Alan Gibbons she’s a good choice, I think. Her contribution to children’s literature is outstanding. To have written a classic (The Gruffalo) is a commendation enough but her manifesto for her laureatship is impressive too. She wants a National Act a Story Day where extracts from books to be dramatised and acted out. I’m all for that. I used to love doing that as a teacher – taking scenes from books and bringing them alive through drama. Doing that really helps children to understand and engage with the characters. So big √ for that idea, JD.

                                             picture courtesy of The Guardian

Better still, Donaldson wants the stories to be acted out in LIBRARIES because she hopes it will encourage more children to join libraries and help halt the closures. √√ for that one.

Further, she wants to find out more about signed stories for deaf children. Like me, Donaldson is slightly deaf and so she can empathise with the hearing impaired.  As someone who can’t even hear children asking questions any more I’m totally on board with that. √√√

So, to celebrate the start of Julia Donaldson’s tenure as Children’s Laureate here’s a great poem of hers that appeared in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph:

I opened a book – a poem by Julia


I opened a book and

in I strode.

Now nobody can find me.

I’ve left my chair, my

house, my road,

My town and my world behind me.


I’m wearing the cloak,

I’ve slipped on the ring,

I’ve swallowed the

magic potion.

I’ve fought with a dragon,

dined with a king

And dived in a bottomless ocean.


I opened a book and

made some friends.

I shared their tears

and laughter

And followed their road

with its bumps and bends

To the happily ever after.


I finished my book

and out I came.

The cloak can no

longer hide me.

My chair and my house

are just the same,

But I have a book inside me.

‘I Opened a Book’ is in the anthology of poems, ‘Crazy Mayonnaisy Mum’, by Julia Donaldson




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