Happy Birthday, Jacqueline Wilson!

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(17th December 1945 -)

Dame Jacqueline Wilson is one of the nation’s most-loved and favourite authors with her books being cherished by young readers. She has sold millions of copies worldwide, the total stands at over 40 million for the UK alone and her books have been translated into 34 different languages. Throughout her (nearly five) decades-long writing career, Wilson has written more than 100 fantastic novels and is best known for The Story of Tracy Beaker series (1991) which was adapted on CBBC television. A number of her novels have been adapted to the small and silver screens. Wilson has been nominated and appeared on countless award shortlists, and has gone on to win many of them. Her accolades includes 1999’s Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards for The Illustrated Mum and 2015’s J M Barrie’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002, Wilson was awarded the OBE for services to literacy in schools and from 2005 to 2007 she was the Children’s Laureate. In 2008, she became Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

To celebrate her birthday, here are 10 pieces of trivia about the incredible life and career of Jacqueline Wilson:

  • She was nicknames “Jacky Daydream” by her maths teacher because she would often stare out of the window imagining stories.
  • She composed her first novel at aged nine, it was 18 pages long.
  • Before writing children’s literature, Wilson tried her hand at writing crime fiction.
  • Katherine Mansfield and Sylvia Plath are two of her favourite writers.
  • Wilson swims every morning before breakfast and then replies to her fan letters. She tries to reply to every fan letter she receives.
  • She holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Kingston, Bath, Winchester and Dundee.
  • She has at least one bookshelf in every room of her house.
  • Her first job was working for a teenage magazine called, Jackie.
  • It can take Wilson up to six months to write a novel. In her opinion, she says that’s too long as children can read her novels in three days. She writes about 1,000 words each day, and aims to get two books written each year. (Amazing!)
  • Wilson writes a lot about family tension because during her own childhood, she found the children’s fiction unrealistic. In the children’s novels that she used to read, parents didn’t argue whilst her own parents used to argue every day.

Though it was incredibly difficult for me to choose, here are my ‘Top 5 Jacqueline Wilson’ books.

  • The Suitcase Kid (1992) (I love that the chapters were presented from A-Z. It is so creative and Wilson made it flow so effortlessly.)
  • The Illustrated Mum (1999)
  • Cookie (2008) (My mum bought the book when it was first released in hardback and came with a metal tin. I thought it was so cool, I never had a book that came with metal protection.)
  • Candyfloss (2006)
  • Love Lessons (2005) (I remember when it first came out, all of the girls in Year 6 were reading it. I went against my mother’s wishes, and bought and read it secretly without her knowledge. Our Year 6 class used to have a one-hour reading session at least once a week, and one day I was so engrossed in the story that I inadvertently ignored my teacher when she was telling me to turn on the room’s air-con. I could distantly hear her shouting my name but I couldn’t peel my eyes off of the book. I thought her calling my name was just my imagination. My friends had to tell me at lunch time what I had done. Thank you, Dame Jacqueline Wilson for instigating my first acts of pre-teen rebellion.)

 

What books of Jacqueline Wilson can you not get enough of? Dustbin Baby? The Story of Tracy Beaker? Double Act? There’s so many of them! Leave your comment down below with your favourite JW books.

 

Happy Birthday, Dame Jacqueline Wilson!

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