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10 Interesting Julia Donaldson Facts

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Let us share with you some interesting Julia Donaldson facts. Do you love the Gruffalo, Room on the Broom & many more of her stories? Then, this one's for you! Here’s a collection of things you may not have known about one of Great Britain’s most beloved & popular children’s authors.  

Julia Donaldson Facts

  1. When she was a young girl, Julia’s father gave her a poetry book called ‘The Book of a Thousand Poems’. She would learn & recite these poems & begin to write her very own.
  2. Julia met Malcolm Donaldson, whom she wed, at Bristol University. The would busk & sing across the world, writing specific songs for each country. The ‘Spaghetti Song’ was a real hit in Italy!
  3. Before releasing her first book, Julia Donaldson was a singer-songwriter for children’s television. She was inspired to turn her song, A Squash and a Squeeze, into a story book with pictures. She collaborated with illustrator Axel Scheffler, & the tale was published in 1993, six years before The Gruffalo was released.
  4. Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo book was actually inspired by Chinese folklore. There is a tale about a little girl who escapes the wrath of a tiger by claiming to be the queen of the Jungle. The tiger follows the girl through the jungle and misinterprets the fear of the other animals to be scared of the girl and not the tiger. The tiger fled.
  5. Despite being a children’s author, in 2009, Julia published her very first book for the teenage market. It was titled Running in the Cracks. It is also her longest book to date.
  6. There is a portrait of Julia Donaldson by artist Peter Monkman in The National Gallery. It features her in her ‘prop cupboard’ where she writes her stories. It was commissioned by the Trustees for the First Prize, BP Portrait Award 2009. The painting itself is oil on canvas.
  7. Julia Donaldson was the Children's Laureate from 2011 to 2013. An aim of hers was to encourage children to perform more poetry & plays to create a greater love of reading & books. Also, during her tenure, she passionately campaigned against library budget cuts & closures.
  8. In 2011, as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours she was appointed MBE for services to literature & later promoted to CBE in the 2019 New Year Honours.
  9. In 2013, Julia & her fans set the world record for creating the longest chain of paper dolls. Macmillan Children's Books, 50 volunteers & fans from all over the world submitted tens of thousands of hand-designed paper dolls. 45,282 paper dolls were laid out & the chain measured 4549.7m, breaking the previous record of 2683.21m. That's the equivalent of 40 football pitches!
  10. She has written more than 200 books. Over 80 of these are available to buy in shops/online, with more than 120 designed for schools.

Did You Know...

We are the official Gruffalo shop. We supply a vast range of official merchandise from your favourite Julia Donaldson books, including:

With all the original bedtime tales available, soft plush toys, all the way through to games & more. You might also be interested in the commemorative Gruffalo 50p coin which celebrates the Gruffalo’s 20th birthday.

More From The Official Gruffalo Shop

With plenty on offer, we are delighted to supply a special selection of personalised gifts:

  • Personalised mugs 
  • T-shirts featuring your favourite characters
  • Lunch boxes which are perfect for schools

Start shopping online today...

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