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Lauren Child

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Subject: City and Guilds of London Art School, J. K. Rowling, 2010 New Year Honours, 1965
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Lauren Child

Lauren Child
Born Helen Child
1965 (age 49–50)
London, England, UK
Occupation Illustrator, writer
Nationality British
Education Manchester Polytechnic, London Art School (briefly)
Period 1999–present
Genre Children's picture books
Notable works Charlie and Lola
Notable awards Kate Greenaway Medal

Lauren Child MBE (born 1965)[1] is an English writer and illustrator. She is best known for the Charlie and Lola picture books and the Clarice Bean series of picture books and novels. Influences: E. H. Shepard, Quentin Blake, Carl Larsson, Ludwig Bemelmans.[2]

Child introduced Charlie and Lola in 2000 with I will not ever Never eat a tomato and won the annual Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association for the year's most "distinguished illustration in a book for children".[3] For the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005), a panel named it one of the top ten winning works, which composed the ballot for a public election of the nation's favourite.[4] It finished third in the public vote from that shortlist.[5]


Lauren Child was born in 1965 and she grew up in Marlborough, Wiltshire, where her father led the art department at Marlborough College and her mother taught primary school.[1] Helen was the middle child of three daughters. She later changed her first name to Lauren.[1] She attended St John's School and, from 16, Marlborough College.[6] She studied Art briefly at Manchester Polytechnic and later at City and Guilds of London Art School,[7] after which she worked in a variety of jobs, including painting assistant to Damien Hirst. She also started her own company, Chandeliers for the People, making exotic lampshades together with the actor Andrew St Clair; it was not a commercial success, though the lampshades are instantly recognisable as Child's work and highly valued. Between 1998 and 2003 she worked for the design agency big fish and includes its founder Perry Haydn Taylor in the dedications of her books.[8]

Two picture books both written and illustrated by Child were published in 1999, and also issued in the U.S. within the year:[9] I Want a Pet! and Clarice Bean, That's Me. The latter, published by Orchard Books, inaugurated the Clarice Bean series, was a highly commended runner-up for the Greenaway Medal,[10][1] and made the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize shortlist. Next year she won the Greenaway Medal the first Charlie and Lola book, I Will Not Ever, NEVER Eat a Tomato.[3] Her timing was good, for a bequest by Colin Mears had provided a £5000 cash prize to supplement the medal beginning that year.[11] She won a second Smarties Prize in 2002 for That Pesky Rat, which was commended for the Greenaway too.[10][1] In the same year she wrote her first children's novel, Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, one of 39 books nominated by the librarians for the Carnegie Medal.[12] Her second novel in this series, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble was shortlisted for the 2005 British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year. The third novel, Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now was published in 2006.

Child's humorous illustrations contain many different media including magazine cuttings, collage, material and photography as well as traditional watercolours. As well as being author of several highly successful books, she is the illustrator of the Definitely Daisy series by Jenny Oldfield.

A television series based on her Charlie and Lola books was made by Tiger Aspect for Disney/Cbeebies, on which Child was an Associate Producer. Three series of 26 episodes were made and two specials. A number of spin off books are available based on the scripts of the TV shows, though these were not written or illustrated by Child.[13] Charlie and Lola has been sold throughout the world, and has won many prizes, including BAFTAs in 2007 for Best children's Television Show and Best Script.

Charlie and Lola

Charlie and Lola is a series of picture books made by Lauren Child and now is a children's TV show. Each half-hour format show contains two segments with different plots, each starting off with Charlie saying, "I have this little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny."

Clarice Bean

Clarice Bean is also a picture book and novel series by Lauren Child that is for children/young teenagers. Her full name is Clarice Bean Tuesday. She is best friends with Betty P Moody, and Karl Wrenbury is another friend of hers. Clarice Bean is a fan of a book series called Ruby Redfort (Lauren Child is writing a series for Ruby Redfort, started in 2011 ), enemies with Grace Grapello and Mrs Wilberton (her teacher) and is a not a very good speller and she day-dreams a lot. Her family consists of her mum, dad, younger brother Minal Cricket, older sister Marcie, her even older brother Kurt, her grandad and her granny who lives in America and who phones regularly. Those books are:

  • Clarice Bean That's Me - picture book - about Clarice's big family.
  • My Uncle is a Hunkle, Says Clarice Bean - picture book - Clarice's parents have gone away and she is looked after by her Uncle.
  • What Planet Are You From Clarice Bean? - picture book - Clarice and her brother Kurt try to save Planet Earth.
  • Utterly Me, Clarice Bean - novel - Clarice has to do a dreary book project but there's a prize she wants to win.
  • Clarice Bean Spells Trouble - novel - Clarice is in big trouble and it's all because of spelling.
  • Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now! - novel - Clarice has a worry list and is wondering what her worst worry is.

Ruby Redfort series

In 2009 Lauren signed a new six book deal with HarperCollins for the release of her "Ruby Redfort" series. Ruby Redfort, undercover agent and mystery solver, is familiar to Lauren's readers as Clarice Bean's favourite literary character.

Ruby is a genius code-cracker, a daring detective, and a gadget-laden special agent who just happens to be a thirteen-year-old girl. She and her slick side-kick butler, Hitch, foil crimes and get into loads of scrapes with evil villains, but they’re always ice-cool in a crisis.

The first book in the series, Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes was released in September 2011 in hard back, with the paper back version released in July 2012.

The secret codes used in the book were developed by Lauren and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

There is also now a second Ruby book, Ruby Redfort, Take your Last Breath and a third, Ruby Redfort, Catch Your Death. A fourth Ruby novel, Feel the Fear was released on 18 November 2014.[14]

The first handbook in the Ruby Redfort series is Hang in There Bozo: The Ruby Redfort Emergency Survival Guide for Some Tricky Predicament.


As writer and illustrator

  • Clarice Bean, That's Me (1999) —first in the Clarice Bean series
  • I Want a Pet! (1999)
  • Beware of the Storybook Wolves (2000)
  • I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato (2000) —first in the Charlie and Lola series
  • My Uncle is a Hunkle Says Clarice Bean (2000) —Clarice Bean
  • I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed (2001) —Charlie and Lola
  • My Dream Bed (2001)
  • What Planet Are You From Clarice Bean? (2001) —Clarice Bean
  • That Pesky Rat (2002)
  • Utterly me, Clarice Bean (2002) —Clarice Bean, the first novel
  • Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? (2002)
  • I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (2003) —Charlie and Lola
  • Clarice Bean Spells Trouble (2004) —Clarice Bean novel
  • Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent (2004)
  • Bat Cat (2005)
  • Beware of Storybook Wolves (2005)
  • The Princess and the Pea (2005), adapted from the 1835 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, with photographs by Polly Borland
  • Clarice Bean, Don't Look Now (2006) —Clarice Bean novel
  • Slightly Invisible (2010) —Charlie and Lola

As writer

  • Ruby Redfort, Look Into My Eyes (2011)
  • Ruby Redfort, Take Your Last Breath (2012)
  • Ruby Redfort, Hang In There Bozo (2013)
  • Ruby Redfort, Catch Your Death (2013)

As illustrator

  • Addy the Baddy (1993)
  • Stand Up for Yourself! (1996)
  • The Complete Poetical Works of Phoebe Flood (1997)
  • Dream On, Daisy! (2001)
  • I'd Like a Little Word, Leonie (2001)
  • Just You Wait, Winona (2001)
  • What's the Matter, Maya? (2001)
  • You Must Be Joking, Jimmy! (2001)
  • You're a Disgrace, Daisy (2001)
  • Dan's Angel: A Detective's Guide to the Language of Painting (2002)
  • Pippi Longstocking (2007), an edition of the 1945 classic by Astrid Lindgren
  • Anne of Green Gables series (2008, 2009), Puffin centennial reissue of the classic by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Child was the cover artist for all three volumes and the author of at least the first volume's introduction.

Awards and honours

Child was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.[15][16]

Awards as a writer:

Awards as an illustrator:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway Medal shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners-up through 2002 were Commended (from 1959) or Highly Commended (from 1974). The high distinction was approximately annual from 1974, including Child and Chris Riddell for 1999. There were 99 commendations of both kinds in 44 years including those two for 1999, Child alone for 2002.


  1. ^ a b c Bedell, Geraldine (21 June 2009). "Child at heart". The Observer (London). Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Lauren Child at British Council: Literature. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  3. ^ a b c (Greenaway Winner 2000). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  4. ^ "70 Years Celebration: Anniversary Top Tens". The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. CILIP. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Pullman wins 'Carnegie of Carnegies'". Michelle Pauli. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  6. ^ BBC Radio 4 programme, where achievers re-visit their schools: Top of the Class: Lauren Child, 11 August 2008.
  7. ^ "Charlie and Lola" (4 parts). 10 October 2005. Press Office. BBC.
    • Four parts: Interview; Character outlines; Episode Synopses; Charlie and Lola online.
  8. ^ Bedell, Geraldine (21 June 2009). "Child at heart". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  9. ^ (Simple Search = Child, Lauren). Library of Congress Catalog. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d "Kate Greenaway Medal". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Renowned political cartoonist scoops Greenaway for first information book to win in 27 years". Press release 12(?) July 2002. CILIP. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Press Desk (directory). CILIP. Retrieved 16 July 2012. Quote: "media releases relating to the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards in date order." (2002 to 2006 releases concern 2001 to 2005 awards.)
  13. ^ "Woman's Hour: Lauren Child's". 3 August 2001. BBC – Radio 4.
  14. ^
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59282. p. 14. 31 December 2009.
  16. ^ "Status Quo stars and Formula One champion honoured" (New Year Honours). BBC. 31 December 2009.
  17. ^ "Nestlé Children's Book Prize". Booktrust. Retrieved 29 November 2012.

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