Segments in this Video

Julia Donaldson: Introduction (01:39)


Julia Donaldson is a prolific author of the popular children’s books “The Gruffalo” and “The Snail and the Whale.” Donaldson is exploring the British Library for six special, historical items.

Treasure One: Inspiration (05:07)

Traditional folk tales inspired many of Donaldson’s writings; particularly ones of Middle Eastern descent. Muhammad Isa Waley, Persian collections curator, shows Donaldson a book of folk tales compiled for an Indian Prince.

Treasure Two: Career (04:43)

Donaldson explores the history of the publication business as she surveys letters between famous British author E. Nesbit and her publisher.

Treasure Three: Path not Taken (07:28)

Donaldson considers writing aspirations she had at the age of 17; she preserved a notebook full of detailed notes on the British spy Catherine Howard. Nadine Akkerman presents Donaldson with secret letters Howard smuggled for Charles I.

Treasure Four: Childhood Memories (07:40)

Recordings of common sounds of the British countryside rekindles Donaldson’s childhood memories of the South Downs. Jonnie Robinson, accents and dialects curator, discusses the British Library’s extensive collection of recordings.

Treasure Five: Feedback (06:56)

Donaldson has been fascinated by Jane Austen’s novels, particularly “Emma,” for years. Sandra Tuppen, manuscripts curator, shares a review list written in Austen’s hand. Austen’s writing desk, inkwell, and three pairs of her spectacles are preserved at the British Library.

Treasure Six: Passion (06:27)

Botanist Trevor Dines takes Donaldson to a field where they search for the elusive early spider orchid. In the British Library, Donaldson surveys a first edition of “Gerard's Herbal” which was once a part of King George III’s personal collection.

Julia's Donation (02:50)

As a donation to the British Library’s department of recordings, Donaldson performs a recorded reading of her popular children’s book “The Gruffalo.”

Credits: Julia Donaldson (00:34)

Credits: Julia Donaldson

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Julia Donaldson

Part of the Series : Treasures of the British Library
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The British Library is the greatest storehouse of our history and culture. On its shelves are British works ranging from the thousand year old Beowulf to handwritten drafts of James Bond. Now Julia Donaldson has been given the chance of a lifetime, to explore six great Treasures of the British Library. Julia is the one of the UK’s best loved and bestselling authors, creator of The Gruffalo, Zog, Snail and the Whale and many other spellbinding characters. Now she can explore aspects of her life and career in the world’s greatest library. Julia selects the themes she wants to delve into, each linked to a passion, an inspiration or a treasured personal memory. The expert Library curators then bring the specific Treasures from the deep basements—wonders ranging from a gold-decorated book of Persian folk tales to one of the earliest and most beautiful books of British wildflowers.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL145859

ISBN: 978-1-64198-902-2

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

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Only available in USA and Canada.