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Webchat with award-winning author and illustrator, Lauren Child - Monday 22 October 1-2pm

(75 Posts)
PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 18-Oct-12 10:08:45

Hi everyone,

Next week we are delighted to extend a very warm welcome to children's writer and illustrator, Lauren Child, who will be at Mumsnet Towers for a live webchat on Monday 22 October between 1-2pm.

Lauren is one of Britain's best known children's writers who burst onto the scene in 1999. Her work has won numerous awards including the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, The Smarties Award and the television series, Charlie and Lola, became one of the most popular programmes on TV and won four BAFTAs. The programme is now aired in more than 34 countries and the spin-off books have sold over 5 million copies.

The second instalment of Lauren's Ruby Redfort series, Ruby Redfort: Take Your Last Breath is now published along with an exciting new e-book version from iBooks.

The Ruby series is aimed at girls aged 9 plus and tells the story of Ruby, a genius code-breaker, daring detective and gadget-laden special agent who just happens to be a 13 year-old girl. Ruby and her slick side-kick butler Hitch, foil crimes and fend off evil villains, but are always cool in a crisis. Check out the trailer here.

If this wasn't enough, Lauren is doing an event for the Mumsnet Academy on Sunday 25 November during which she will offer tips for aspiring children's writers and illustrators, tell stories of how she started out, ruminate on success and discuss her continued dedication to her craft. Sign up here.

Put 22 October in your diary or if you can't join us live, post a question to Lauren in advance.

JugglingWithPossibilities Sun 21-Oct-12 17:34:11

My daughter learnt to read with the fabulous Clarice Bean books - that was when her reading really took off ! You were her first favourite author. She has mild dyslexia which caused her some difficulties at school in years 1 - 4 (ish)
She still has some challenges with organisation and spelling, as do I.
The other day though I heard her say "I used to have dyslexia" smile
I loved Clarice Bean too, and Charlie and Lola on TV.
I think you're sooo super stylish - and your writing is genius and so beautiful !

My question ... which part of the writing and production process do you enjoy most ? Which part do you think is most important ? Where and when do you have your most inspirational thoughts ? (maybe more than one question, but all kinda connected !)

spots Sun 21-Oct-12 21:18:26

Lauren, hello! I am a big grown-up fan of yours, because I'm so delighted that you have found such new things to do in the world of book writing and illustration. You seem to have been the originator of many of the things we now take for granted in children's writing, illustration and broadcasting - collage (your kind of), sideways glances, wandering type, children's voices...

We have your 'Goldilocks' and 'Princess and the Pea' which I'm intruiged by as they seem to be a bit of a sideways step away from your better known stuff. I love them. Reading them is a bit like watching a grownup at play. I read somewhere that you love doll's houses... I'd love to know about your doll's houses!

I don't really have a proper question but thank you so much for all your contributions to children's books and to children's lives. I think you probably work quite hard and I hope you're still enjoying yourself!

Kahu Mon 22-Oct-12 04:36:29

Lauren, I love your books. Your artwork quite simply just makes me happy.

I know you recently designed some fabric for Liberty which I have been coveting. My question is this: is there any chance of you producing a line of Charlie & Lola fabrics? I would love to make some red & white Charlie & Lola duvet covers or a blue & white wave tablecloth!

Sneaky second question: I read that a lot of the fabrics you use in your work come from your childhood. Is there anywhere in particular you could recommend that I could find Charlie & Lola / Lauren Child-esque prints?

Thank you. Thought you might like to know that I quite frequently watch Charlie & Lola on DVD in the evening after the kids are in bed. Oh, and by the way, I just loved your Pippi Longstocking - perfect!

FeverAndTheFret Mon 22-Oct-12 11:35:59

Hi Lauren

Love your Charlie & Lola books, as does my 4 year old daughter.

A book I don't often see mentioned but I really loved is 'That Pesky Rat'. Found this book funny as usual, but also beautifully touching, without once descending into mawkishness.
(My admiration for you only increased when I read the blurb about writing for UNESCO on the theme of home. We do indeed all need a home.)

Anyway, sorry for the ramble, my question: Does everything in your stories come purely from your imagination, or does a memory fragment fire something in your imagination?
For instance I wonder if a child you knew refused to eat particular foods- and this then sparked your wonderful imagination to write 'I Will Not Never Ever Eat a Tomato'?

Please do tell! Thanks again for your fabulous quirky characters and your amazing artwork. Children's fiction is much richer for your contributions!

trice Mon 22-Oct-12 12:49:22

My dd loves That Pesky Rat so much that we read it several times a night. She dressed up as the rat for book day (in a little jumper). She even has pet grey rats called Tiddles and Pesky.

Do you wonder what effects your books will have on families when you send them out in the world?

cm22v077 Mon 22-Oct-12 12:55:45

Hi Lauren, what's your favourite biscuit? grin

PatrickMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Oct-12 12:57:37

Morning everyone,

It is our absolute pleasure and delight to welcome Lauren Child to Mumsnet for today's webchat. Lauren, welcome!

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:03:07

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue

Hurrah!

More Charlie and Lola books please?

Hello, Clarice Bean books - the age range goes up as the books go on. Clarice Bean starts off as 8 in Utterly Me and is 11 by the third book, Don't Look Now. So naturally their content becomes more mature as the books progress. But as always it depends on the child's reading level and what they can emotionally cope with. Don't Look Now definitely explores more complex issues.
Lauren

HanSolo

What age is Clarice Bean supposed to be from please?

DD picked one up at an early age, but it was way too advanced for her, just wondering when we could go back to it...

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:04:48

cm22v077

Hi Lauren, what's your favourite biscuit? grin

Hello - a chocolate digestive is always welcome.

DameMargotFountain Mon 22-Oct-12 13:08:59

<exicted>

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:11:25

FeverAndTheFret

Hi Lauren

Love your Charlie & Lola books, as does my 4 year old daughter.

A book I don't often see mentioned but I really loved is 'That Pesky Rat'. Found this book funny as usual, but also beautifully touching, without once descending into mawkishness.
(My admiration for you only increased when I read the blurb about writing for UNESCO on the theme of home. We do indeed all need a home.)

Anyway, sorry for the ramble, my question: Does everything in your stories come purely from your imagination, or does a memory fragment fire something in your imagination?
For instance I wonder if a child you knew refused to eat particular foods- and this then sparked your wonderful imagination to write 'I Will Not Never Ever Eat a Tomato'?

Please do tell! Thanks again for your fabulous quirky characters and your amazing artwork. Children's fiction is much richer for your contributions!

Hello FeverAndTheFret, thank you for your nice comments about That Pesky Rat. It has been a very useful book in opening up a conversation with children about homelessness. Memories definitely fire my imagination. I was a very fussy eater and my sister was a very kind older sibling and she used to dispose of my food for me when my parents left the room. I also spend a lot of time looking out of the window observing things that are going on... You can overhear some rather good conversations in the supermarket and people also tell me very funny or touching things. Other ideas just pop into my head.
Lauren

poorbuthappy Mon 22-Oct-12 13:12:41

Lauren

What's your favourite book?

PBH

MaureenCognito Mon 22-Oct-12 13:17:15

Yes we like Pesky Rat too.

Lauren do you sometimes feel your other work is eclisped by the charlie and Lola phenomenon?

Also you have a distinct American style to your work, where (and why) is that from?

jvvaldes Mon 22-Oct-12 13:18:04

I love the stories too. I also love illustrating and was wondering how did you decide to write and illustrate books as your profession? Did someone help you?

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:18:42

MaureenCognito

The clarice bean are stylish and seemingly funny.
Eggplant. I love that shop

Hello MaureenCognito
The shop is based on a real shop in Primrose Hill, called Sesame's. It has been there since the seventies but is sadly closing down shortly, due to increased rents.
Lauren

nowit Mon 22-Oct-12 13:20:40

Hi Lauren,

HUGE Charlie and Lola fans in the nowit household and my DD has just started the Clarice Bean books (she is 8) and she is devouring them, will definitely look at the Ruby Redfort series for her next birthday.

She would love to write, what advice would you give a (very) young aspiring writer?

MaureenCognito Mon 22-Oct-12 13:22:10

Really, Lauren, your favourite biscuit should be a party ring.
tuts ;)

maloofysmum Mon 22-Oct-12 13:22:10

My daughter has grown up with your books, and is loving the Ruby Redfort books (me tooblush) . Are there going to be more? and also is there a film in the pipeline as it would be very popular in our house?

thanks

MaureenCognito Mon 22-Oct-12 13:22:40

I worry about Karl Wrenbury.
I think he is probably a NEET now.

Faverolles Mon 22-Oct-12 13:24:06

Hi Lauren,
My children have all loved Charlie and Lola smile

My question is (and probably a google will have told me, but you're here)
Did you start off as a writer or an illustrator? Which do you enjoy most?

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:25:45

JugglingWithPossibilities

My daughter learnt to read with the fabulous Clarice Bean books - that was when her reading really took off ! You were her first favourite author. She has mild dyslexia which caused her some difficulties at school in years 1 - 4 (ish)
She still has some challenges with organisation and spelling, as do I.
The other day though I heard her say "I used to have dyslexia" smile
I loved Clarice Bean too, and Charlie and Lola on TV.
I think you're sooo super stylish - and your writing is genius and so beautiful !

My question ... which part of the writing and production process do you enjoy most ? Which part do you think is most important ? Where and when do you have your most inspirational thoughts ? (maybe more than one question, but all kinda connected !)

Hello JugglingWith Possibilities
I think it's nice that your daughter feels like that.
The very beginning of a book is quite exciting but then it gets more difficult whether it is writing or illustrating. They are both equally difficult, I find, because you are trying to turn an abstract idea into something you can share on the page. It often doesn't come out in the way you expect it to and it is often agony trying to communicate your thoughts, whether visually or verbally. The best part about a book is when it is really beginning to come together and that is thrilling. I always feel it is like putting a puzzle together and when you start to see the picture appear you know what the final pieces have to be.
Lauren

LaurenChild Mon 22-Oct-12 13:26:39

MaureenCognito

Really, Lauren, your favourite biscuit should be a party ring.
tuts ;)

They look nice but I've never thought they tasted that good. Also, my mum used to make the most amazing biscuits...

JugglingWithPossibilities Mon 22-Oct-12 13:29:32

Thanks for your fab answer to my question Lauren - I love your puzzle analogy, and got here just in time to see my question answered

< squeeee as we say grin - sooo exciting ! >

Finbar Mon 22-Oct-12 13:29:38

HI
your books are a total pleasure - not just for the child but also the adult reading them. Love the way you manage to appeal to both sexes so well; Is it conscious?

I always wanted to work in Eggplant!

DameMargotFountain Mon 22-Oct-12 13:31:14

Lauren

do you lurk on MN at all?

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