Joseph Coelho

Waterstones Children’s Laureate

Joseph Coelho

Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho is an award-winning performance poet, playwright and children’s author based in Kent. His debut poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules (Frances Lincoln, 2014) was the winner of the CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award 2015. His work has poetry and performance at its heart, drawing on over 20 years’ experience running dynamic creative literacy sessions in schools. He aims to inspire young people through stories and characters they can recognise and explores themes including fear, courage, diversity, gratitude, empathy and loss. In addition to exploring emotional landscapes, Coelho is inspired by magic, the ancient world and often draws on his own experiences transforming them into something universal that can be shared. Throughout his career he has highlighted the power of poetry and reading, championing and campaigning for local libraries and spotlights new voices and diversity throughout his work.

Coelho writes for children of all ages; his picture books include the critically acclaimed Luna Loves… series illustrated by Fiona Lumbers (Andersen Press) and If All the World Were… illustrated by Allison Colpoys (Lincoln Children’s Books, 2018) which won the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award 2019. His work across poetry includes the collection Overheard in a Tower Block (Otter-Barry Books, 2017), which was shortlisted for the CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award 2018 and longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2019 and The Girl Who Became a Tree (Otter-Barry Books, 2019), which was shortlisted for the 2021 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Other work includes middle-grade series Fairytales Gone Bad illustrated by Freya Hartas (Walker, 2020) and YA Novel The Boy Lost in the Maze (Otter-Barry Books, 2022), as well as non-fiction titles including How To Write Poems illustrated by Matt Robertson (Bloomsbury, 2017) among others.