A celebration of Chris Riddell’s journey as Children’s Laureate 2015- 2017

At an event on Wednesday 28th June at Waterstones Piccadilly to toast the publication of Travels with My Sketchbook (the last book to be written by Chris Riddell as Children’s Laureate) the much-loved author/illustrator recounted seven of the golden moments from the past two years:

  • One memorable meeting was with Tom Hiddleston when he shared a box with him at the Globe Theatre. While basking in the actor’s limelight, Chris was surprised and delighted to be recognised by the parent of a young fan. See here for a more details 
  • Chris also recounted (in his own inimitable style) his experience of finding himself taking on the role of toilet attendant for Gordon Brown at the Edinburgh Festival
  • Receiving a Gold Blue Peter badge (which he was proudly wearing on t he night) brought back childhood memories of Valerie Singleton, John Noakes and Lesley Judd. A bemused child recently impressed on seeing the badge, couldn’t really understand why Chris had been awarded it – we certainly know!
  • Drawing on the stage at Somerset House while Leisure Society performed – an event referred to by a band member as the most middle class gig they’d ever played
  • Being interviewed on the Breakfast sofa on World Book Day – in spite of the interviewer appearing to be more impressed by Chris knowing Where’s Wally illustrator Martin Handford
  • Having to borrow Dame Edna style reading glasses for an impromptu reading of the Goth Girl mini book at the Cape Town Book Festival
  • Drawing on stage during the CLIPPA awards ceremony while the poets performed – see the above link for the full account.

As always Chris’s stories were endearingly self-deprecating and he remains relentlessly charming, generous, funny and wise!

I am sure there are countless other anecdotes that he could have shared. It has been a fabulous two years – and Travels with My Sketchbook records many more golden moments. He has made a seamless move from being Children’s Laureate to taking on his new role as President of the School Library Association, which will allow him to continue his passionate support of libraries (hooray!), so aptly expressed on many occasions through his sketches and jottings.

Three cheers to Chris Riddell! 

Written by Chris Routh, Picture shows Chris Riddell with Belinda Rasmussen from Macmillan Children’s Books

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