By Rob Sharp, Arts Correspondent, The Independent
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, one of the most successful recent children's books, marked her appointment as Children's Laureate yesterday with a call to arms against "pushy parents", describing them as "a pain" who take the enjoyment out of reading.
"I don't believe you should push your children too hard. They are so sensitive," the author said. "If they are not ready to read it can be detrimental and it is more likely they will be worse off. I really find pushy parents a pain. I have met a lot in my time and while it is important to read, it should be enjoyable. It should be done for pleasure."
The role of Children's Laureate is awarded every two years to an "eminent writer or illustrator of " to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.
Donaldson, 62, is the author of some 120 books including Room on the Broom, Zog, and teenage novel Running on the Cracks. However, she is best known for The Gruffalo, which has sold more than 10 million copies and tells the story of how a mouse outwits a mythical creature. Donaldson takes over from outgoing laureate Anthony Browne.
Like Browne, who spoke out earlier this week to warn that we will "pay the price in the long term" for closing , Donaldson deplored impending library closures in the wake of national spending cuts.