Ten things you should know about Joseph Coelho – the new Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate
1 – Joseph Coelho is a British children’s author, poet and playwright who has been appointed at the Waterstones Children’s Laureate. He is the 12th writer to hold the post.
2 – Joseph grew up in a block of flats in Roehampton in South West London, with his mother and younger sister. The tower block inspired his new book Our Tower, in which three children leave the grey building and discover a magic tree. He said: ‘I wanted to bring the magic of Narnia to the tower block.’
3 – Joseph entered his first poetry competition in Year 8 with a poem about a chained, performing bear. He did not win and went on to study archaeology at university and spent two years digging up bones in Peru.
4 – One of his missions is the Library Marathon, an attempt to join all 210 regional libraries in the country in celebration of ‘these essential launchpads of learning’. So far he has joined more than 140.
5 – Books that inspired Joseph as a child included The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis, Watership Down by Richard Adams and the Tintin series of graphic books by Herge.
6 – Joseph doesn’t believe that poetry has to rhyme, or that there is a wrong way or right way to write poems. He says he wants ‘to invite the nation, young and old, to become poets.’
7 – Joseph works with lots of different illustrators on his books; Fiona Lumbers (Luna series), Sam Usher (Thank You), Alison Colpoys (My Beautiful Voice), Kate Milner (The Boy Lost in the Maze), Freya Hartas (Fairy Tales Gone Bad), Nicola Killen (Blow A Kiss, Catch A Kiss) and Daniel Gray-Barnett (Smile Out Loud).
8 – Joseph has TWO new books out this autumn. The first is the third in his series Fairy Tales Gone Bad: Creeping Beauty. These are great books for children aged five to eight who enjoy gruesome tales, and for grown-ups who like to read aloud. Plus they have suitably grisly illustrations. The other new book is Blow a Kiss, Catch A Kiss, a delightful selection of modern action poems for babies.
9 – Joseph once starred * in a film, Agent Cody Banks 2. He played a bald man in a queue. (*was a film extra)
10 – You can see Joseph’s dynamic, inspiring events in action at Bath Children’s Literature Festival this autumn. He will be entertaining schoolchildren with Fairy Tales Gone Bad at The Guildhall on Friday 20 September. Then you’ll find him on Saturday 1 October with Fiona Lumbers entertaining under fives in Bath main library with Luna Loves Dance and later the same day he will be talking to fans aged eight and over, with fellow poets Matt Goodfellow and Alex Wharton, about Perfect Poems, also in The Guildhall.
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