Like everyone involved in the children’s book world I am very sad to hear about the death of much loved author and illustrator Shirley Hughes who somehow captured all the joys and ups and downs of childhood so perfectly in her wonderful children’s books.
She has always held a very special place in our family as my four children and now my grandchildren are introduced to her books from the stories of the wonderful Alfie who manages to close the front door locking his mum and little sister Annie Rose out of their house, to the missing much loved and nearly threadbare toy Dogger. In every book Shirley Hughes somehow captured all the special moments of childhood with her tell- tale art work.
From the wordless Up and Up where a little girl eats a magical egg and suddenly learns to fly ,taking to the sky and flying up and up over her house and school as neighbours and family and friends try to get her back down to earth. And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without reading our well -worn copy of ‘Lucy and Tom’s Christmas’
I had the good fortune to meet Shirley Hughes when our daughter Mandy won a competition to design a book- mark for Waterstones Bookshops when she was young. Tim Waterstone was due to give her the award in Dublin, when suddenly it was all changed and Shirley Hughes, who had helped to judge the competition came to Dublin instead. Everyone was over the moon to have the author of Alfie with us. I remember that Shirley Hughes was kind and generous to us all and never stopped smiling and laughing for she was an author who clearly loved her work and meeting children and young readers.
She lived a long happy life of 94 years, and twice won the Kate Greenway medal for Illustration and was awarded both a British O.B.E and C.B.E for her Services to Children’s Literature.