Find out more about the life and works of Michael Morpurgo, former Children's Laureate and writer of over 130 beloved books, including War Horse and Private Peaceful.
1. Michael Morpurgo was born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, on 5 October 1943, whilst his father was away fighting in the war.
Michael wouldn't see his biological father, actor Tony van Bridge, until many years later, because during the war, Michael's mother found a new partner: Jack Morpurgo. A divorce between Michael's parents soon followed and Tony van Bridge emigrated to Canada.
2. Michael wouldn't see his biological father until 1961 - and even then, only on television.
On Christmas Eve in 1961, Michael was watching a television adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations with his mother, Kippe Cammaerts, when she suddenly exclaimed that Michael's father was on the screen, playing Magwitch. Michael met his father in person a few years later and the two became very close.
Maggie Fergusson, Michael Morpurgo: War Child to War Horse, 2012
3. After primary school, Michael was sent off to a boarding school in Sussex - and he hated being away from home.
However, he hugely enjoyed rugby and singing, and continued these hobbies at his next boarding school in Canterbury.
4. Michael joined the army at Sandhurst after school, and whilst he liked the good food and the friends he made, he didn't enjoy being shouted at.
So he decided the army wasn't for him.
War Horse, 1982
5. In 1963, he married Clare Allen, the daughter of the founder of Penguin Books, Sir Allen Lane.
Before long, they were married, having swiftly fallen in love, and three children soon followed.
6. Michael decided to become a teacher and went to study English and French at King's College, London.
Clare also became a teacher and they spent several years in the profession.
Private Peaceful, 2003
7. Ten years later, however, Michael and Clare decided to change direction once again, and set up a charity together: Farms for City Children.
They wanted to help children find out more about the world around them and about themselves. The charity offers opportunities for children from the city to spend a week working on a farm together, learning about where their food comes from and exploring the outside world.
8. They devoted themselves to the project for 25 years before handing it over, leaving a fantastic legacy.
Three farms are still ongoing with around 3,200 children and 400 teachers coming to stay each year.
The Butterfly Lion, 1996
9. Throughout this time, Michael was writing his much-loved books and becoming a brilliant storyteller. He received help in both his literary and charitable endeavours from the renowned poet Ted Hughes and Ted's wife, Carol.
Michael has written around 130 books, including popular bestsellers such as War Horse, The Butterfly Lion, Private Peaceful and Why the Whales Came. Many of his works have been adapted for screen, stage and radio, most notably War Horse.
10. Michael was the Children's Laureate from 2003-2005 and received an OBE in 2006 for his services to literature.
The role of the Children's Laureate was developed by Michael Morpurgo himself, together with Ted Hughes. Quentin Blake was the first Children's Laureate from 1999-2001; Anne Fine took over the position from 2001-2003; and Michael became the third Children's Laureate in 2003.
You can read more about Michael Morpurgo in Michael Morpurgo: War Child to War Horse, and don't forget to check out our full range of Michael Morpurgo books.