Yesterday was an exciting day for Hargrave Park School in Islington when Shirley Hughes, the creator of Dogger and the Alfie series, paid a visit to celebrate World Book Day. She was also supporting the Mayor’s Fund for London, Beanstalk and the London Evening Standard ‘Get London Reading’ literacy campaign. The campaign aims to improve literacy levels in London where, according to the charity Beanstalk, “one in eight children left primary school in 2012 unable to read to the required standard”.
Having published her first novel in 1960, Shirley Hughes stands as one of the most respected and well-loved children’s authors of today, with her enchanting Alfie stories selling over 2 million copies worldwide, and winning an OBE in 1999 for her outstanding contribution to Children’s Literature.
Shirley arrived at Hargrave Park to be greeted by a small group of children, dressed in costume for World Book Day, to whom she read Alfie Gets In First. Following this, the children were treated to a drawing demonstration by Shirley on how to draw Alfie, and then were allowed to ask the author questions.
Shirley said, “From the moment you enter Hargrave Park School you are surrounded by colour and light, children engaged in all kinds of learning activities – social, visual and verbal. As an author and illustrator I was amazed and delighted by the standard of work they have achieved, and their obvious satisfaction and pleasure they have taken in doing it.”