British writer Michael Morpurgo, author of many award-winning novels for young people, has been appointed the third Children's Laureate. This prestigious position is awarded every two years to a British author or illustrator who has made a significant contribution to the world of children's literature. Book illustrator Quentin Blake was the first Children's Laureate from 1999 to 2001, and novelist Anne Fine held the position until this year. The choice of Morpurgo to succeed Fine is a popular one. Readers, publishers and critics all agree that it is a deserving honour for this hard-working and successful writer. With many best-selling titles under his belt, Morpurgo knows all about what young people like to read. He is an imaginative story-teller who never likes to tread the same ground twice. But that is only part of Morpurgo the man. Morpurgo lives in the beautiful county of Devon in the south-west corner of England. He was brought up and educated in London and after studying for his degree at London University, he decided to become a teacher. He worked for 10 years in the classroom and then made a dramatic career change. As a teacher, Morpurgo was disturbed by the way city children grew up without gaining an awareness of their habitat. In his lessons, he did his best to give his pupils a basic understanding of the natural world, but at times this was an uphill struggle. Nature was something that city children did not experience first-hand. Instead, it was something they only saw on television and read about in textbooks. Morpurgo left teaching and set up a special farm in the countryside which city children could visit to experience a natural environment. He set up a charity called Farms for City Children and moved his family to Devon to run the farm. All of this took place more than 20 years ago and now Morpurgo's charity runs two farms and a third one is currently in the planning. More than 2,000 pupils a year spend one week of their school curriculum living and working on one of the charity's farms. Morpurgo has worked extremely hard over the last couple of decades in order to make his dream a reality. Somehow, he has also found the time to write a string of popular and prize-winning novels for young people. Morpurgo is honoured to be the new Children's Laureate and he knows exactly how he is going to do the job. His aims are simple and directly to the point. Morpurgo, farmer and top-selling novelist, wants to encourage children (and adults, too!) to discover and hang on to the pleasures of reading and writing. He is a man on a mission and he could be coming your way.