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In the media

These Precious Little People aims to reach as many families who need it as possible; please do get in touch if you would like to help spread the word about this much-needed support resource.

The author, Frankie Brunker, has written or contributed towards features for: 

Frankie was a Finalist for Author/Blogger of the Year at the 2019 Butterfly Awards

These Precious Little People features in book recommendation and resource lists at: 

 

Frankie has also been interviewed by Sophie @the.infertile.midwife as part of her #BLAW2021 series, and for several podcasts: Footprints On Our Hearts,

The Worst Girl Gang Ever, and The Fertility Podcast

* PRESS RELEASE *

These Precious Little People

Written by Frankie Brunker & illustrated by Gillian Gamble

 

These Precious Little People is a children's picture book that helps grieving families come to terms with the death of a baby at any stage of pregnancy, during, or soon after birth. There are a very limited number of books available that offer a bereavement support resource for this circumstance, yet this is not an uncommon experience when an estimated 650 babies were miscarried each day in 2017, an estimated 145 babies were born preterm each day in 2017, there were 3,200 stillbirths in 2017 and there were 2,131 neonatal deaths[1]. Many people who experience this type of loss have already included children (siblings, cousins, even family friends) in preparations to welcome a new baby into family, so it can be a very distressing and bewildering time for children affected by a bereavement of this kind. Even if they do not grieve in the way that the adults around them might be, they will almost certainly be aware that people around them are shocked and sad. The author knows just how painful it is for a family to have to say goodbye to a precious little one and how difficult it can be to explain what happened to any living children affected. Frankie’s first baby died suddenly at 38 weeks and 2 days into a low risk and problem free pregnancy, and no explanation could be found for Esme’s stillbirth. The young children in Frankie and her husband’s families needed to be told the tragic news, and it was very difficult to know how to guide them through what was a confusing and upsetting time. Frankie’s instinct was to turn to a picture book to help, and was inspired to write one herself when she struggled to find one suitable. 

 

“I was thrust into what felt like a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. On top of our own devastation there were young children in my family who needed to be told the tragic news - they’d been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a baby cousin but now had to come to terms with not being able to grow up alongside her as we’d all imagined. It seemed an impossible task to explain to them what we were struggling to comprehend ourselves – it was a hugely confusing and upsetting time for our whole family. I sought out a picture book that would help children of all ages begin to understand the death of a baby during pregnancy. We wanted straightforward & honest language, imagery that would reflect our situation and beliefs, but most of what was available back then just didn’t feel ‘right’, or good enough. 
 

So I decided to write my own and find someone to draw the pictures. I was lucky to connect with an experienced, incredibly talented and generous illustrator, Gillian Gamble, who supported my dream and helped bring this book to life. It’s a creation that we are so proud of. We know that in the year since its publication in December 2018 it has already helped bring comfort to hundreds of families so far and we would love it to reach more families who might be in need of it. These Precious Little People has been designed so that anyone in need of it can use this book as a way to provide a more positive focus during times of grief – to bring comfort but also help them remember a precious part of their family with love and pride. My nephews, niece, young cousin, and my two children born after Esme died all know about the little girl that made me a mummy. We visit her grave, we have plants at home in her memory, we perform acts of kindness in her honour. She is part of our lives still. They ask me questions about her; we speak her name; we all miss her and wish she was here. This book is inspired by them, and the desire we share to keep our connection to Esme alive when she cannot be. It lets them know that it’s ok to talk about her and that they are not alone. 

 

My hope is that this book will help other families who have been searching for a bereavement support resource for children that they feel helps them tell the story of their baby; that acknowledges the pain felt by the children affected. It doesn’t claim to provide all the answers (for how can there ever be any good reasons why a much-loved baby dies), but it does offer comfort and suggests ways to pay tribute to all little ones gone too soon.”

 

The book has been written using clear-cut language that avoids the euphemisms often associated with death that can be ambiguous and at times unnecessarily frightening for children. The text is written in poetic verse so that it flows well for adults reading it with their children who can follow the rhythm present on the pages but, equally, time can be taken to pause and linger over the stunningly beautiful artwork drawn by Gillian Gamble (and there's plenty of gorgeous little details throughout the book to seek out with children who will enjoy finding them). Gillian Gamble’s illustrations perfectly befit the seriousness and importance of the subject matter and lend a sensitive beauty that will appeal to both the children and adults reading the book together. It was important to both the author and illustrator that the images could be ones that all children could relate to, so people from diverse backgrounds could all appreciate the artwork and draw comfort from the words within. It was written and illustrated to have not only a wide appeal but also a timeless feel, and the words and pictures reflect the varied range of experiences within the bracket of ‘baby loss’. 

 

This book can be read in the immediate aftermath of devastating news to help explain what is happening, or even many months or years down the line from the death of a baby, including to children born after such a loss. Adults can use the book as a framework from which to have open and honest conversations where the circumstances specific to each baby can be explained more fully as necessary, and families reading the book with their children develop an understanding that any grief they are experiencing (or witnessing) is normal and healthy. The book also suggests some positive ways that the family can remember and celebrate the baby who has died with love and pride as their life moves forward to incorporate their loss into their new reality. All proceeds from sales of the book go to Joel The Complete Package, a small Midlands-based charity that supports families affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy or soon after birth, including those parenting after loss.

Testimonials (PLEASE SEE REVIEWS SECTION FOR FURTHER TESTIMONIALS)

 

"These Precious Little People is just lovely; the tone is perfect and it’s a great resource for shocked and bereaved parents, a good tool for them to initiate that all-important conversation with children who may not understand what’s going on and how to deal with their emotions. What I’ve learnt in the past four years is that talking about your loss really does help and the more you talk about it the easier it is - not just for you but for all those around you.  Some people find this easier than others and I know this book will help those people and their children” - Marina Fogle, co-founder of antenatal classes The Bump Class, author of The Bump Class; An Expert Guide to Pregnancy and Beyond and producer of the podcast The Parenthood

 

This book perfectly describes the pregnancy and loss of a much wanted little one. It is a simple picture book for children and has the most beautiful illustrations. I am amazed by how eloquently the message is written, it’s just perfect... I recommend this book to anyone who needs to help children or young people understand the loss of a baby" - Norfolk & Norwich Hospital Baby Bereavement Group 

 

"Thank you for sharing this wonderful book with the team – it is excellent. One of the best I have come across and fits with my experience of working with families in these contexts. I think it will be an invaluable and really useful resource for families and staff teams"​ - Dr Harriet Conniff, Lead Clinical Psychologist for Paediatric Respiratory & Staff Support, Evelina London Children's Hospital

 

"It’s beautifully written and illustrated. My 6 year old daughter really enjoyed it and could relate it to her brother, Ernie. I’d definitely recommend" - Carla Spence, Ernie's Wish

 

"The most amazing book - such heartfelt words and truly beautiful illustrations... Such a special book. The artwork by Gillian is perfect" - Rach Stewart

 

"This book is beautifully written with the most lovely illustrations... Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful book to help bereaved families" - Lisa Cooper

 

"Thank you for this precious little book! My daughter was 4 when we lost her brother at 38.6 weeks and she was right there with me in the hospital when I heard the words ‘no heartbeat’ ... she has heard and seen more than a little 4 year old ever should! She is 6 now and still has lots of times of struggle, as do we all, but we have just read this book together and laughed and cried... I think this book will be very healing for her. Thank you!!!!"  - Brooke Mathe

 

"What a needed book! If you have a child in the family when a baby dies, this is the perfect comfort for them. Read it to them as many times as they like, and let the simple language help them grasp what actually happened. In this book you will find such wonderful ways for children to engage with grief, and to create little rituals around the death of a baby, to remember them, and to connect to them. I highly recommend this beautifully-illustrated book. You really did such an amazing job with this book, and it was such an honour to read it... I will certainly be recommending it to everyone I know" - Elisa Hatton, Bereavement Doula

 

[1] Statistics taken from Tommy's website

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