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'An enormous rich and living heritage'

3 October 2005

'We need to remind our country that we have an enormous rich and living heritage of writing and illustration for children. It is second to none in the world. In a way we have been careless with this heritage. Readers care about it but I don't think the government does...

There are a number of people who should be recognised as a 'thank you' for a lifetime of very good work, but who are unable to fulfil a role like the children's laureate--I am thinking of such people as Philippa Pearce, Peter Dickinson or John Burningham...

It is comparable to the Jamie Oliver situation in the classroom. The SATs are the equivalent of junk food--devoid of nourishment--while the Schools Library Services that provide living, organic books struggle to survive.'

Philip Pullman in the Bookseller on why the British government should set up an award for children's writers and illustrators.