Chris Riddell, children's laureate - and why it matters

Tuesday saw the crowning of a new Children's Laureate. The position, which we think deserves our capitalisation (others seem to disagree), is one worth highlighting. Equally so too is the new holder of the role.

What is the children's laureate?

Of course the poet laureate comes to mind, and it's not far off. It's similar, except with a brief for promoting excellence in writing or illustration of children's books. Illustration is particularly significant this time around.

The role was conjured up by former poet laureaute Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo. The aim was to honour and highlight excellence in the field, inspire others, and is managed by the Book Trust, with support (mainly) from Waterstones.

Who is it?

The Doodler! Or perhaps, illustrator and writer Chris Riddell. Whoever is the true recipient of the honour, they receive £20,000 and an inscribed medal as they take over from Malorie Blackman. The Doodler/Chris is the ninth children's laureate, and is already scribbling about his experiences on his Facebook page.

Should you know him?

Probably moreso if you've children - or you're a child yourself. Chris is behind the much-loved Goth Girl series of books, which are well worth a look. He holds the the British librarians' annual award for the best-illustrated children's book, and has won two Kate Greenaway medals for "distinguished illustration".

So there you have it - the new Children's Laureate is a man who wields his pen and pencils wonderfully. The Doodler! Chris Riddell! For the good of children's books.

Good luck to him. For his two year tenure and beyond.