International Exchange Students collaborate to write books after 35 year friendship

30 Nov 20

Thirty five years after meeting on the English/USA International Exchange programme, two alumni from the University of Winchester and Chapman University have published a series of four children’s books.

In 1984 Alford Harrison (Chapman College) spent a term studying in England at King Alfred’s College (as the University of Winchester was then known). Whilst there, he met English and Drama student, Sarah Wills (now Mackay) and the following year welcomed her to Chapman as a student on the International Exchange Programme.

Alford and Sarah’s shared experiences of participating in the Programme led to a lifelong friendship. 

Sarah said “My semester at Chapman was an incredible opportunity to immerse myself in a completely different education system and culture. I built friendships and relationships with inspirational people, which has ultimately led to this unique partnership with Alford.”.

During Lockdown in March this year, Alford began writing a series of educational books which developed critical thinking and vocabulary, whilst entertaining. He approached Sarah to bring his stories to life through her distinctive illustrations.

The Land of Spoons books, aimed at children aged four to seven, feature a little boy called Alfie who one day looks into a spoon and realises that everything is upside down.  He begins to have adventures in The Land of Spoons, guided by his own vibrant imagination. 

Passionate about education, Alford commented “Reading with your children builds warm and happy associations with books, increasing the likelihood that kids will find reading enjoyable in the future.”.

The books, released for sale in early November, are available in paperback and e-versions from BookBaby, Amazon, Blackwells and other online book sellers.

Author: Alford Harrison (Psychology Chapman College, Orange County, California 1984-1987) Teacher and lecturer, Alford returned to live in California following 10 years teaching in Beijing Normal University in China 

Illustrator: Sarah Mackay (nee Wills) (King Alfred’s College, BA (Hons) English and Drama 1984-1987) Following a career in Theatre Programming, Sarah is now a professional Lipspeaker. She lives in St Albans, England, drawing in her spare time 


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