There are several significant book birthdays to celebrate this year. From iconic picture books to the world’s strongest girl and a trail-blazing teenage spy, join us in wishing them all a happy birthday!
Pippi Longstocking celebrating 75 years
2020 marks 75 years since the publication of Sweden’s most famous literary export, Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, in 1945. Nine-year-old Pippi – originally created by the author for her daughter during the dark days of World War Two – was a new kind of children’s character: a free-spirited girl with superhuman strength who uses a powerful mix of anti-authoritarian thinking and kindness to challenge the status quo and to bring joy to the lives of those around her.
The iconic redhead has become a role model for generations, and an international bestseller – the Pippi Longstocking stories are amongst the most translated children’s books in the world, with over 70 million copies sold in 70 languages. She is regularly picked as a favourite children’s character and famous names to have been inspired by her include Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Cerys Matthews and even Stieg Larsson, who admitted his character Lisbeth Salander (The Millennium Trilogy) was directly influenced by Lindgren’s creation.
Not Now Bernard celebrating 40 years
David McKee, Andersen Press
David McKee’s tale of a young boy who meets a monster in the back garden, has been enthralling and surprising children since it first appeared in 1980. With its surprise ending, this is a story which can be interpreted in many different ways, but one message doesn’t change – that we need to listen to our children. The anniversary paperback edition features comments from Michael Rosen and others. As part of the celebrations, Andersen Press has donated to Action for Children to support the charity’s vital work and make sure every young person has a safe and happy childhood
Stormbreaker celebrating 20 years
Anthony Horowitz, Walker Books
A special anniversary edition of the adrenaline filled novel which launched the adventures of teenage spy Alex Rider was published earlier this year. Fourteen-year-old Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6. Armed with secret gadgets, he is sent to investigate Herod Sayle, a man who is offering state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers to every school in the country. But the teenage spy soon finds himself in mortal danger. His missions have continued, with the latest, Nightshade, published in April.
Dogs Don’t Do Ballet celebrating 10 years
Sara Ogilvie and Anna Kemp, Simon and Schuster
Ten years ago a new artistic collaboration was born, between Sara Ogilvie and Anna Kemp, with the creation of Biff, who is no ordinary dog. He doesn’t do dog stuff like peeing on lampposts, scratching his fleas or drinking out of toilets. If you throw him a stick, he’ll just look at you like you’re crazy. No, Biff is no ordinary dog. Biff likes music and moonlight and walking on his tiptoes. You see, Biff doesn’t think he’s a dog, Biff thinks he’s a ballerina, which is all very well . . . but dogs don’t do ballet – do they? The 10th anniversary edition features a sparkly cover and new artwork, showing “What Biff Did Next”.
Article by Jayne Gould
Oxford University Press, Lindgren’s long-term UK publisher will release six new, highly-illustrated editions of the Pippi stories during 2020: two chapter books, Meet Pippi Longstocking and Pippi Longstocking and the Snirkle Hunt (March 2020), featuring artwork from the original illustrator, Ingrid Vang Nyman; Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard and Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas (May 2020), with black and white illustrations by Mini Grey, and a hardback gift edition of Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard (October 2020), illustrated in full colour by former Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child.
One World celebrating 30 years
Michael Foreman Andersen Press
A book which is as relevant today as it was when it was published 30 years ago, One World celebrates the natural wonders of our planet, explores the ravages that humans have inflicted upon it and how we protect it. The brother and sister who see a reflection of our world in a rockpool, realise that other children will help.
Guess How Much I Love You celebrating 25 years
Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, Walker Books
Celebrating 25 years of loving you to the moon and back, Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare have delighted families worldwide. Heartwarming and delightful, this is an utterly captivating story of love and how to measure those big feelings. A sequel, Will You Be My Friend?, featuring the original characters and a new one, will be published in September.
Hug celebrating celebrating 20 years
Jez Alborough, Walker Books
Ever feel like you need a hug? A really big hug from someone who loves you? That's how Bobo, the little chimp feels. Walking through the jungle he passes lots of creatures enjoying a cuddle together: elephants, chameleons, lions, giraffes, hippos – even the snakes have got someone special to squeeze. But poor Bobo is alone. Will he ever find the hug he needs? Using only three words throughout the book, this simple, endearing story is told through gorgeous, detailed artwork. The special 20th anniversary board book edition features a new introduction from Jez Alborough.
Hugless Douglas celebrating 10 years
David Melling, Hachette Children’s Books
Also in search of a hug is Douglas, whose quest for the perfect bear hug has been delighting young readers for 10 years. The new edition features a gold cover and a special red balloon.