Welcome to National Book Month, a month-long celebration, held each October, to honour the importance of reading, writing and literature.

As it is also a time to honour authors, Rainbows would like to introduce two authors who are in the process of having books published.
Each author has positively channelled their unique experiences into creating a story that supports children in better understanding their feelings around significant loss. We have asked each author a series of questions about their personal journey and information about their books.

Introducing Katie Donoghue, author and illustrator of The Little Squirrel Who Worried

What interests you in writing books for children?
My experience working with children as an Art Psychotherapist, Health Psychology PhD candidate, and my love of writing and illustrating inspired me to write children’s books that support children with the challenges they face in their day to day lives, from anxiety to grief support.
This past year, working in cancer care, I have witnessed many children and adults and struggling with complex loss and grief. One of the many worries I hear expressed from both young and old, is, is what I’m feeling normal? Adults and especially children need guidance to know that it is normal to feel many emotions during grief and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. All of these emotions are normal, and I think grief needs more visibility, awareness and resources overall, grief impacts everyone at some point in their life and in different ways but we all need the comfort and reassurance to know that we are not alone and what we feel in understandable, normal and valid. Because of this experience and recognising that there is a need for information and resources around grief I began to write a new story to support children with grief and loss. I am hoping to find the story a home in the coming months and once published I will be linking in with Rainbows GB.

Who are the heroes in your story?
Every character in my stories is in a way a hero in their own right. Just like us all, each has had their own experiences and challenges in life, whether it be coping with mental health, grief or loss. The characters all have their own strengths and struggles but together their share their understandings, kindness and empathy, supporting one other.

What do you hope children and their carers will get from the stories?
I hope that the messages in my stories can support children and the adults in their life to feel validated and comforted in whatever challenges they may be facing. I hope that my story focusing on grief will be available to all those in need of support and can hopefully make the loneliness of grief a little less lonely.

Do you have a favourite book and why?
As a small child I loved being read the adventures in Brambly Hedge, by Jill Barklem and tales from Beatrix Potter. Then as I got older, I loved Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wilson books, and particularly the Tracy Beaker series.
How can people get a copy of your books?
Copies of my current children’s book, The Little Squirrel Who Worried, is available in Waterstones, WHSmith and Amazon.

Katie can be contacted at www.katieodnooghueart.com or katieodonoghue_art Instagram or katieodonoghueart@outlook.com

Introducing Lynsey Shaw, author of

The Grief Jar

What made you write this book?
Once I experienced grief first hand I realised how isolating an experience it is, and how society find the subject difficult to talk about. This in itself compounds that feeling of isolation and I had a strong feeling that this needed to change. I found that when I brought up a memory of my Dad in conversation it really made me feel better and felt as if he was still with us in a small way. It also occurred to me that conversations with my then 2-year-old on the subject were hard to navigate and that children in particular find it hard to vocalise their emotions and feelings. This led me to writing and illustrating The Grief Jar to open up those conversations between children and adults about their feelings surrounding grief and loss.

Have you written before?
No, this is my first book as Author/Illustrator, I have previously illustrated three children’s books.
What age group are you writing for and why?
The book is aimed at 3–8-year-olds but can be read and appreciated by children and adults alike.
Who are the heroes in your story?
The heroes of this story are each of Bear’s friends who are brave enough to ask him about the one he has lost and to be there for him physically and emotionally
What do you hope children and their carers will get from the story
I hope that children reading The Grief Jar will feel less isolated in their grief and better able to voice their feelings and talk about the one they have lost. For carers it will hopefully be a good conversation starter between them and the child and help them share memories of their loved one.

When are you hoping to be published?
The book will be published by the end of October
How can people get a copy of the book?
Preorders for the book have just opened on my website http://www.bearandgoosedesigns.co.uk/childrens-books/the-grief-jar/
Any pre-orders placed before 31st October will receive colouring pages and a bookmark featuring the book’s illustrations

Best Wishes:

Eleanor Clarke (National Co-Director (south), Rainbows Bereavement Support GB)

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