Monday, 27 May 2013

Children's poet laureate Julia Donaldson (2)

Beg, steal, borrow and buy

I've been reading Julia Donaldson for twenty years, first as a nanny to countless charges, and since to my own two girls. I never tire of her tales; how brilliant she is and they are. The characterisation, the rhythm, the rhyme, the unexpectedness, the language, the humour. 

I presume at this point that everyone on the planet knows her, not least because some of her best loved books (inc The Gruffalo and Room on the broom), have since been adapted to programmes for television; fast becoming the latest must-watch Christmas day entertainment, but also because she has been the children's poet laureate for 2011-2013.

I do wonder though if it is always realised that the author of such joyous stories has endured momentous pain and suffering. 

Julia and husband Malcolm, lost their son Hamish, when he commited suicide ten years ago at the age of 25. He spent his entire life tormented by mental illness. Julia's book for older children Running on the cracks, raises a mental health aspect and is clearly a story in which she begins to decode some of that personal torment. 

I am left inspired after meeting her today, not because of her talent, not because of the sadness she must live daily, but because of the joy she has brought to children and adults alike on a global scale. I guess I'm an advocate for her work huh?

ps next post underway, Esme has her acting debut at Julia's show. My darling girl is a... chicken. 

Running on the cracks (age11+) is published by Egmont, priced £6.99 

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