Shirley Hughes is a British author and illustrator best known for her Alfie and Annie Rose series. Born on the 16th of July in 1927, she has written over fifty books and has illustrated more than two hundred. As a best selling author she has managed to sell more than 11.5 million copies, winning a multitude of literature and illustration awards.
For many British children in particular, she has been a large part of the childhood literary experience. Her illustrations are warm and colourful, and invoke memories of home cooked meals and cuddling up with a parent or grandparent for story time.
Shirley Hughes has been popular since 1960 and her work still holds up today as pieces of wonderful children’s literature. As a celebration of her writing and illustration, we have collated her top 5 best selling books according to Amazon.
“Join Alfie and Annie Rose for Christmas! Alfie opens his advent calendar and makes cards and presents. He sings carols and decorates the tree. And he writes a special letter to Father Christmas… But what will Father Christmas bring on Christmas Day? It’s going to be such an exciting day!”
“Annie Rose and Alfie have lots of games they like to play together, like being scary monsters with Bernard, or running their own shop. But there are some things Annie Rose is too little to do and even some things Alfie would rather do without her. But if Annie Rose is ever sad or cross there is only one person who can make her feel better . . . her big brother.”
“In this collection of poems, a small girl and her baby brother romp through the changing seasons, taking pleasure in the different elements and weather conditions – sunshine, wind, rain, mist, snow. From the joys of the seaside to the miseries of the sickbed, the world of childhood is explored.”
“Alfie and his best friend Bernard have a day out full of surprises when they go to meet a very great person indeed. What’s more there are secret dens to explore, snowy skies, birthday fun and a very unexpected visitor on a special night-time trip! Join our little hero and his friends and family in a celebration of all things Alfie…”
Kafka was a shy and introverted character, and an avid reader. He considered writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, and Heinrich Von Kleist to be “true blood brothers”. Kafka’s father expected him to take over the family goods business, however, after completing a degree in Law he worked for insurance companies, and started an asbestos factory with an acquaintance. He claimed to despise working just to pay bills and would much rather have spent his time writing. Illness plagued him through his adult life, with complications arising from tuberculosis keeping him from joining the military.
Her curiosity and interest in rural life bled into her quaint and sweet stories, accompanied by beautifully detailed images of anthropomorphised field mice and other hedgerow creatures. Her Brambly Hedge stories were adored by many children growing up in the 80s and 90s from her first book ‘A Spring Story’ (1980) to ‘A Year in Brambly Hedge’ (2010). Her work was made into an animation in 1996, voiced by two British treasures- Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.
After a long illness Jill died, aged 66, on November 16th 2017. The publisher’s staff at HarperCollins were all deeply saddened at the news of Barklem’s death. “Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world,” she said. “Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations.”
Eric Blair had worked at the BBC as a producer for the “Empire Service” over 70 years ago and some suggest that it is this time at the BBC that gave him the inspiration for room 101, in his now famous novel 1984 which he penned under the more familiar name George Orwell.
An early feminist, Lessing was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, described by the Swedish Academy as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. When met on the street by journalists and told she had won the prize, she responded “Oh, Christ!”. Read More
Achebe lived a fascinating life, growing up in South-Eastern Nigeria. He excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine but changed his studies to English Literature at University College, Ibadan. It was here he began writing stories, eventually gaining worldwide attention for his works. Read More
“He was working on it very shortly before he died,” said Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel. “It hadn’t been illustrated, but it was there in manuscript form, and it’s lovely … He kept that magic touch right until the end. He always had to be writing, it was always his way, right through his life.” Read More
Despite being written over 200 years ago, the Jane Austen classics are still as popular as ever today. Her social commentary, wit, and love stories seem to still capture people’s imaginations.
Jane Austen fans will take great pleasure in perusing this list of goodies. It has something for everyone…