AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR
Frankie Brunker is the mother of three precious little people and an avowed bookworm. Her first child, Esme, was stillborn in 2013, and she felt having to navigate explaining her death to young children within her family was made harder by there being no children's book available that could explain accurately what had happened whilst in a beautiful and moving way. She also wanted more guidance as to how she could retain Esme's place in the family in positive and special ways. She was inspired to write this book, and the safe arrival of Esme's two siblings only cemented her desire to provide a resource to families that will do credit to how precious these little people really are.
Gillian Gamble is an award-winning artist, illustrator and photographer with a particular interest in storytelling. She illustrates books and products, runs her own publishing company and has started several successful social enterprises, particularly in cultural leadership and using the arts for change. Visit her website for more information and to see previous work.
Frankie contacted Gillian at the beginning of 2018 to request that she illustrate a picture book text she had written following the stillbirth of her daughter Esme. Gillian was immediately moved to tears by the very simple writing and the way it created a moment and space for a child to acknowledge and accept any emotion they might be feeling about such a painful event in their family.
Frankie shared with Gillian her desire to create a beautiful book that would very straightforwardly but sensitively explain infant loss to children and make room for conversation. After all, this type of bereavement affects the whole family. Gillian was moved by her compassionate goal that parents should have a book that helps them talk to their other children about their family's 'missing piece'.
Most of us know someone who has experienced the loss of a baby, either through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, even if they haven't spoken about it. In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss during pregnancy or birth and every day in the UK around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth. Since spending time researching this project to draw the illustrations, one of the things that Gillian found that comes up over and over is parents' wish that others would TALK to them about their child, even ask to see a photo of them. These little people were and are precious and so very loved. Gillian has therefore created artwork and imagery around universal themes so that this book can bring comfort to those of any faith or none.