Children’s author, illustrator Shirley Hughes dies at 94

March 2, 2022 GMT

LONDON (AP) — British children’s author and illustrator Shirley Hughes, best known for her popular “Alfie” series and classic picture book “Dogger,” has died, her family said Wednesday. She was 94.

Hughes died “peacefully at home after a short illness” on Friday, the family said in a statement.

“Shirley’s books about everyday family life are adored by generations of families and she is held in the highest esteem by her peers,” the family statement said.

“Dogger” tells the story of a little boy who loses his stuffed dog toy. The book first was published in 1977, and millions of copies have sold around the world. It won Britain’s Kate Greenaway Medal, an award for distinguished illustration in a children’s book.

Hughes illustrated some 200 children’s titles throughout her career. She was made a Commander of the British Empire, or CBE, in 2017 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 began the reading lives of so many millions. That moment when you’ve read a book like ‘Alfie’ and sit back and think ‘That was wonderful, tell me another’,” Morpurgo wrote. “Thank you, Shirley, from all of us, children of today and children of yesterday.”

BookTrust, a British charity dedicated to children’s literacy, awarded Hughes its inaugural Lifetime Achievement award in 2015. At the time, Hughes said: “I have derived so much fulfillment from my long career, first as an illustrator of other artists’ stories and then creating my own.”

“Best of all has been perennially encountering very young children who are learning to look with such rapt pleasure and follow a story visually long before they are able to read,” she said.

Hughes studied drawing and costume design at the Liverpool School of Art, and fine art at Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art.

Her early work included illustrations for Dorothy Edwards’ classic “My Naughty Little Sister.” She published the first book she both illustrated and wrote, “Lucy And Tom’s Day,” in 1960.

Hughes was married to John Vulliamy, and the couple had three children.