A Hay-on-Wye- born mum of two has turned multiple personal tragedies from before and during the pandemic into a children’s book aimed at unpacking ‘big issues for little people’.

Jess Childs’ debut picture book ‘Ivy and the Rock’ looks at what it means to love and lose in an honest yet child friendly way, through the adventures of little Ivy Jones in the Wildest Wood.

Published by Olympia, Ivy and the Rock focuses on what losing something or someone might mean for those left behind, looking not at death itself but the important themes of recovery, acceptance, and re-growth.

Developed from a poem Jess originally wrote and recited at her farmer father’s funeral after he took his own life in 2006, the book took on a new poignancy in 2020 when she also lost her mother Olwen to a four-year battle with cancer last November; her deterioration accelerated due to treatment delays caused by the Covid pandemic.

Other family bereavements also experienced before and during the pandemic have meant that Jess, who grew up near Hay on Wye, knows all-too-well what it means to make sense of loss, and is now helping her two daughters, aged three and five, to understand it too.

Jess said: “Life deals us all some pretty challenging cards at times, and when we lost dad in 2006 I was forced on a tough but important journey which over time led to acceptance, understanding, and ultimately personal growth.

“More recently we had to say goodbye to our beloved mum, but this time I find myself with the added challenge of supporting my two young girls to process this huge loss as well.”

“Although the book was written before the pandemic, to my mind there has never been a greater need for age-appropriate explanations of love and the acceptance of loss in our lives,” Jess added.

More information on how to buy Ivy And The Rock and a range of free resources for children can be found at www.bigissuesforlittlepeople.co.uk