LONDON (AP) – British children’s book author and illustrator Shirley Hughes, best known for her popular ‘Alfie’ series and the classic picture book ‘Dogger,’ has died, her family announced on Wednesday. She was 94.
Hughes died “peacefully at home after a short illness,” Friday, the family said in a statement.
“Shirley’s books about everyday family life are revered by generations of families and she is held in high esteem by her peers,” the family statement said.
Dogger tells the story of a little boy who loses his stuffed dog toy. The book was first published in 1977 and has sold millions of copies worldwide. It won Britain’s Kate Greenaway Medal, an award for outstanding illustration in a children’s book.
Hughes illustrated around 200 children’s titles over the course of her career. In 2017 she was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to children’s literature.
Michael Morpurgo, author of the novel War Horse, was among many paying tribute to Hughes on Wednesday.
“Shirley must have started the reading life of so many millions. That moment when you’ve read a book like ‘Alfie’ and you sit back and you’re like, ‘That was wonderful, tell me one more thing,'” wrote Morpurgo. “Thank you, Shirley, from all of us, the children of today and the children of yesterday.”
BookTrust, a UK charity dedicated to children’s literacy, presented Hughes with its first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. At the time, Hughes said, “I’ve found so much fulfillment in my long career, first as an illustrator of other artists’ stories and then creating my own.”
“Best of all was meeting again and again very young children who learn to look with such rapturous enjoyment and follow a story visually long before they can read,” she said.
Hughes studied drawing and costume design at the Liverpool School of Art and fine arts at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford.
Her early work included illustrations for Dorothy Edwards’ classic My Naughty Little Sister. In 1960 she published the first book she both illustrated and wrote, Lucy And Tom’s Day.
Hughes was married to John Vulliamy and the couple had three children.
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