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Cori's Interview with Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson, Children's Laureate and author of The Gruffalo.

When Julia Donaldson's picture book, The Gruffalo entered the European Children's world in 1999, long before the current huggable monster craze, I was given a copy by a young mother who had just returned from England. Her children loved the brand new book, which quickly became a best seller in Europe. Since then the book has sold over 10.5 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 30 languages and published in 42 countries.

Through the years, I have followed The Gruffalo's journey from picture book character, to theatre production, to the BBC movie nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Animated Film in 2010. I observed how a loveable monster became a superstar and how it's creator Julia Donaldson became the most successful children's author in Europe. In June 2011, she was appointed Children's Laureate, to celebrate her outstanding achievements.

At a party in London, I spoke to Julia Donaldson and we planned an interview to hear about her interesting life from song and dance performer, to television songwriter, to playwright, to renowned children's author. She was delighted to be invited into Dream Jam World to share her story and belief that the arts are a gateway to literacy. For the next two years as Children's Laureate, she will have her chance to bridge the two worlds, linking books with drama and music.

Julia is engaging, witty and very funny. She is passionate about each of her characters and having written 157 books she exudes a lot of passion. She and her husband Malcolm often perform songs about her stories and one can sense the beautiful connection the two of them have. They have had their share of tragedy as well (their son Hamish died in 2003) but her amazing sense of optimism leaves one feeling quite hopeful. Perhaps that is the magic of her writing and the ingredient that has led to a fairy tale career.

Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson grew up in Hampstead, England. As a young girl she felt that she had a special connection with nature.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton and a special poetry gift from Julia's father influenced her as a writer.

Young Julia Donaldson grew up with a love of classical music.

Music was and continues to be important to Julia.

Music brought Julia and her husband Malcolm together.

Julia got her professional start writing songs for the BBC.

Reminiscing about her early years with Malcolm.

"A Squash and a Squeeze," was originally written as a song for the BBC and became Julia's first published book.

"The Gruffalo"

"The Gruffalo" becomes a movie!

"Room on the Broom"

"Tyrannosaurus Drip," "The Troll," and "What the Ladybird Heard."

"Stick Man" and "Taby McTat."

"Running on the Cracks," a young adult novel by Julia Donaldson.

Julia wrote a new story for a competition in search of an unpublished illustrator.

Julia is a patron of the nonprofit organization Artlink Central.

Julia continues to have a deep connection to nature.

Julia Donaldson is most proud of

What Julia Donaldson is most proud of.

What does the future hold for Julia Donaldson?

 

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