Children's book club author webchats
We've been delighted to welcome some fantastic authors of children's books to MNHQ over the past few years, where we put your (and your kid's) questions to.
Don't miss out on the next webchat and the chance to nab a copy of our latest children's book of the month in a giveaway - sign up here for the book club newsletter.
"I've come to believe many children can identify with the helpless, small, insignificant caterpillar, and they rejoice when it turns into a beautiful butterfly. I think it's a message of hope. It says 'I too can grow up. I too can unfold my wings (my talent) and fly into the world'." Eric Carle, March 2014
Eric Carle is an internationally bestselling author and illustrator of books for very young children. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric joined us for a Q&A where he talked about how he created the story, his artistic technique and honoring his father.
"Write what you want, not what you think the market wants." Francesca Simon, May 2012
Author of the Horrid Henry books, we welcomed Francesca Simon to coincide with the release of her latest novel, The Sleeping Army, which was our Children's book of the month. You had plenty of questions about Horrid Henry, as well as how to get your leg on the publishing ladders and advice for aspiring writers.
"The story first occurred to me between 9.30am and 9.45am on 16 October 1987. I'm afraid I can't be any more specific than that." Mackenzie Crook, September 2012
Former actor-turned-novellist, Mackenzie's debut children's book, the Windvale Sprites, was our children's book club book of the month Mackenzie Crook's debut children's novel is full of charm and humour, containing his own beautiful illustrations. The Windvale Sprites is certain to be a treasured gift for any book-loving child.
"I always wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist, but I couldn't get anyone to publish my work. So I decided to start writing as a kid, and that's how Greg Heffley came to life." Jeff Kinney, November 2011
Jeff Kinney is the creator of the comic-strip/novel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He answered questions from his young fans on everything from how he became an author to his favourite writing places.
"It's easier to write a line in a different way than to sweat over coming up with a particularly cunning or clever rhyme."
Giles Andreae, April 2011
Giles Andreae is the creator of Purple Ronnie and The Interesting Thoughts of Edward Monkton. He answered your questions on everything from learning to rhyme and the inspiration for his books, to his personal experiences of depression and what makes him happy.
"I agree that there is a lot of condescending stuff around, but children are capable of appreciating and enjoying much more challenging, interesting stories." Anthony Browne, July 2010
Why do so many of Anthony Browne's books contain darker themes? What does he like to read in his downtime? And why does he draw gorillas so much? These questions and more were answered in our Q&A with Anthony Browne.
"Lola was inspired by a little girl that I saw on a train when I was travelling in Denmark many years ago." Lauren Child, June 2010
From where Cement the Dog gets his name from to whether or not there could be a Lola-inspired fashion range in the works, children's author Lauren Child gave us the lowdown.
"I write about what I care about, what I love, what makes me angry, what makes me sad. I don't think of my reader when I'm writing. I know sadness is a universal human experience, whether we are young or old, so I see no point in avoiding it." Michael Morpurgo, December 2008
Award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo answered your questions about life, literature and learning, as well as why so many of his books are so sad.
"I started writing when I was eight and, in all honesty, I knew then that there was nothing else for me. How did I start? I simply picked up a pen and and an old ledger and began scribbling stories, plays, poems, whatever." Anthony Horowitz, November 2009
Best-selling author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz came to Mumsnet Towers in November 2009. He talked about Alex Rider, the Diamond Brothers, Foyle's War, and his plans for a new set of horror stories called More Bloody Horowitz. He also chatted about his unusual childhood and 'fessed up to shamefully deploying his children to rearrange bookshop displays to his advantage.
"Many books moved and inspired me as a child. I loved myths, legends and fairy stories in particular. But when I was 10 or 11, I felt children's books no longer 'spoke' to me so I started reading adult books. I devoured Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple stories and read other books that were totally unsuitable for an 11 year old!" Malorie Blackman, May 2009
Author Malorie Blackman joined us to chat about her novels, age-appropriate reading, her inspiration for writing and children's writers. Her first book was published in 1990 and since then she has written more than 50 books, including Noughts and Crosses, Double Cross, Pig Heart Boy, Hacker and Whizziwig. She has won numerous awards for her writing.
"I was speaking to a journalist today, and we were both talking nostalgically about the stories we wrote as little girls. When you're an adult professional writer, you never have the opportunity to write completely unselfconsciously, you always have to remember your audience." Jacqueline Wilson, March 2009
The mega-bestselling children's author Jacqueline Wilson was our guest in March 2009. With book sales totalling well over 25 million, she's up there with JK Rowling. She revealed that she started writing at six years old, she gets upset if people don't like her books, she loves wearing loads of rings - and that the book she was reading at the time was so racy, she was embarrassed to take it out in public!