This week has seen the Queen’s 90th birthday, St.George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday and 400th anniversary of his death so in celebration of all things British, here are some of the country’s best children’s authors.
Born in Cardiff, Roald Dahl wrote dozens of books and poems that continue to be popular today and many of which have been turned into plays and films such as ‘Matilda’ and ‘The Witches’. He also wrote the screenplay for ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Dahl was an amazingly versatile and inspiring writer with a gift for creating memorable characters and writing for adults and children without patronising.
Beatrix Potter’s novels started life as short stories she would write to her pen pal. Her most famous character, Peter Rabbit has been given a whole new lease of life in his own CBeebies show. As well as writing and illustrating stories about her animal characters, she was a sheep breeder, conservationist and keen scientist, despite being repeatedly rebuffed due to her gender.
The Harry Potter series helped to ignite a passion for reading in a whole generation despite originally being rejected several times by publishing houses. Edinburgh-born Rowling started writing the children’s books as a way of financially supporting herself and her daughter and the series has sold over 450 million copies and been printed in 68 different languages.
Janet and Alan Ahlberg.
Janet and Alan Ahlberg are the married duo behind beloved children’s books such as ‘Peepo!’ and ‘The Jolly Postman’. After Janet’s death in 1994, Alan continued to write books, two of which were illustrated by his daughter. The majority of their books rhyme and have a cosy, familiar tone. One of Alan Ahlberg’s books, ‘Woof!’, was also turned into a children’s TV show.
Jacqueline Wilson’s books are aimed at older children, especially girls, and bravely tackle issues such as eating disorders, bereavement and alcohol addiction. She lives in Surrey where she grew up and often visits the local schools. One of her latest books, ‘Opal Plumstead’ is about a young suffragette and she has recently launched a creative writing award for children.
Known as the first modern writer for children, E.Nesbit wrote over 60 children’s books including ‘5 Children and It’ and ‘The Railway Children’. She was also a political activist and has inspired many of today’s writers.