This week we've witnessed the first steps in a change of leadership of the government: it looks unlikely to be a quick or easy process. But there has been a quieter and more straightforward succession in the world of literature in the past few days, as the latest children's laureate has been announced.

Taking the post for the next two years is Joseph Coelho, a performance poet, playwright and author of picture books and verse novels for children aged three to 13. He is the 12th author to take on the role.

Past laureates include, most recently, Cressida Cowell who has championed school libraries during her tenure. Others were Michael Morpurgo, Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman, Julia Donaldson, Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, and many more familiar names.

For Coelho, he hopes to use his profile to promote the power of poetry and "build the nation's library membership".

Prior to lockdown, in a Library Marathon, he joined 140 libraries out of 209 authorities. Now he says he has 70 left to do and on each visit he performs poems and stories, talks with staff and borrows books. The events seek to encourage local people who haven't joined to do so, and those who've already joined to borrow more books. 

He also wants to encourage children to see themselves as writers, poets, illustrators, and storytellers. 

And, in getting the nation writing and performing poems, he hopes to reclaim the term poet. "So often poetry has been 'done' to us," he says, "we've taken on poetry's baggage ... the notion that a poem has a right and a wrong way to be read, to be analysed, to be written. How could that ever be the case when poetry translates the soul." Exciting times!

Thank you for reading.