Paying Tribute to Jill Murphy

The children’s author passed away last month following a battle with cancer. Emma Clarendon takes a look at why her books are so endearing.

When I heard about Jill Murphy passing away, I felt a deep sadness for the child who genuinely loved her books and illustrations which were always so filled with warmth, humour and imagination.

In the same way that Jacqueline Wilson as I got a bit older had a way create fun if flawed characters that children could relate to – including of course Mildred Hubbard, a girl who attends Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches and is extremely clumsy that leads to disastrous situations. Yet despite this, her intentions are usually good even if there are those who will lead her astray.

Long before I even read the Harry Potter series, this series introduced me to a world of magic and fantasy that has stayed with me even as an adult and led to me reading books such as Twilight and A Discovery of Witches – proving just how influential children’s book authors can have on reading habits when you get older.

What I also admire about Jill Murphy’s books is the way she so vividly draws up her characters -not only through her words but also through her illustrations as seen through her adorable books about The Large Family and others such as Peace at Last that brilliantly match the story with great depth, warmth and humour.

She has left such a lasting legacy that when I worked in a crèche, I found myself re-reading the stories of The Large Family such as Five Minutes Peace, Mr Large in Charge and A Piece of Cake to a whole new generation of children. To see their reaction to the stories and for them to ask me to read them over and over again was a real joy to hear.

Her stories are timeless because they aren’t constricted to a particular time, ensuring that children no matter when they first hear the story can experience it as it was meant to be – an enjoyable and entertaining.

Jill Murphy was such a warm and engaging writer that when you read one of her stories you can’t help but smile and thankfully she has left us such a wide variety of books to enjoy for years to come. RIP Jill Murphy.

By Emma Clarendon

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