Michael Morpurgo is one of the UK’s best-loved children’s authors. He has written over a hundred books, including Private Peaceful, The Butterfly Lion and his highly successful War Horse, which was made into a film and play and has captivated audiences all over the world. Michael was appointed Children’s Laureate in 2003, has been awarded the OBE and received a knighthood. He claims that his greatest achievement was founding the charity Farms for City Children with his wife Clare in 1976, which to date has hosted 85,000 children.
In one of the videos below he talks to the award-winning biographer Clare Mulley about his best-selling World War II books for children. He reveals what inspired stories such as Flamingo Boy, In the Mouth of the Wolf, and Waiting for Anya, now released as a film.
Visit Michael’s website for more exciting information and activities – try Storytime at the Barn
In the following video, Michael reads from The Butterfly Lion. This is the story about a boy, Bertie, who rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African veld. They are inseparable until Bertie is sent to boarding school in England and the lion is sold to a circus. Much more happens as Bertie grows up and eventually becomes a soldier. Michael reads the first chapter, but he does much more than that - he tells you how the story is partly about himself as a little boy, and explains a few things - do you know what "chilblains" are?
Michael Morpurgo Reads An Extract From The Butterfly Lion
Listen to Michael reply to the five questions which readers have asked him most often. Some of the answers will surprise you.
This is a reading from Private Peaceful. The main characters in the story are Charlie and Tommo Peaceful, brothers who decide to fight in the First World War; Big Joe, Charlie and Tommo's older brother, who sadly has learning difficulties; Molly, a girl who befriends Charlie and Tommo; and Sergeant "Horrible" Hanley, a cruel sergeant. The story is told by Tommo and follows twenty-four hours at the front, but Tommo also remembers his life and that of his family and village. In the audio you hear the first chapter; but if you want to listen and learn more about this book, go to this BBC link.
Michael Morpurgo and Clare Mulley Interview
A wonderful interview where Clare introduces Michael and we hear how when he was young he did not actually like books nor reading ... find out why.
Clare Mulley, whose interview with Michael you have just listened to, is a biographer who has collaborated with Michael on various occasions. Her book The Spy Who Loved is about Christine Granville who saved Michael’s uncle’s life during World War 2. The book led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Her first book The Woman Who Saved the Children about Eglantyne Jebb, the woman who founded the Save the Children Fund, won the Daily Mail Biographers’ prize. Her third book The Women Who flew for Hitler tells the extraordinary story of two women at the heart of Nazi Germany. Clare regularly broadcasts on radio and television.