Julia Donaldson
"I opened a book and in I strode. Now nobody can find me. I've left my chair, my house, my road, My town and my world behind me. I'm wearing the cloak, I've slipped on the ring, I've swallowed the magic potion. I've fought with a dragon, dined with a king. And dived in a bottomless ocean. I opened a book and made some friends. I shared their tears and laughter. And followed their road with its bumps and bends. To the happily ever after. I finished my book and out I came. The cloak can no longer hide me. My chair and my house are just the same, But I have a book inside me."
― Julia Donaldson

It takes a very special sort of creative talent to come up with books as widely-appealing, memorable and enduring as Julia Donaldson’s. The melodic quality of her verse (that children know by heart) might stem from her early work as a song-writer, having spent many years writing songs for children’s programs.

Julia's picture books include A Squash and a Squeeze, Monkey Puzzle, Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo, and Stick Man, to name a few. The Gruffalo and its sequel The Gruffalo's Child, have gone on to become some of the most read children’s books in the world, translated into more than 40 languages, spawning television adaptations, outdoor adventure courses, toys and games. Julia and her husband Malcolm divide their time between West Sussex and Edinburgh.

Fun facts

  • She decided she wanted to be a writer when her father gave her a big book of poems for her fifth birthday.  
  • She started her career as a singer-songwriter, writing mainly for children’s television.  
  • Her first book, A Squash and a Squeeze, was originally a song.    
  • Julia was the UK’s Children’s Laureate from 2011-2013.  
  • Many of her books have been adapted into Julia Donaldson movies on the BBC.  
  • The Gruffalo has been translated into over 43 different languages, including Scottish Gaelic. 
  • In 2013, Julia and her fans set the world record for creating the longest chain of paper dolls. 45,282 paper dolls were laid out & the chain measured 4549.7m, breaking the previous record of 2683.21m.  
  • She has written more than 200 books.  
  • There is a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London of Julia in her ‘prop cupboard’, a small room in her house adjacent to that in which she writes.  
  • The Smeds and the Smoos is one of her own favourite books.

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