A MONMOUTHSHIRE-born mum has written a book to help children understand loving and losing.

Jess Childs, pictured, who now lives in Machen and is a mum of two, has used her own experiences to inspire the book – her debut and the first in a series.

Ivy and the Rock is a picture book that looks at what it means to love and lose in an honest, child-friendly way and follows young character Ivy Jones on her adventures in the Wildest Wood.

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The book developed from a poem that Ms Childs originally wrote in 2006 and read out at her father’s funeral after he took his own life. In 2020, the book became more poignant after her mum Olwen died in November after a five-year battle with cancer and her health deteriorated during the Covid-19 pandemic due to delays in treatment.

Ms Childs is now helping her two daughters, aged three and five, to understand how to make sense of loss.

She said: “Life deals us all some pretty challenging cards at times, and when we lost dad in 2006 – when I was still an adolescent myself – 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.

“Add to this the fact that we are living in a pandemic with a tragic death toll, overwhelming media coverage and a barrage of public health messages, and you can’t help but worry about the effect it is having on anxiety among children.

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

Ivy and the Rock is the first in the series of titles aimed at children with the concept of ‘big issues for little people’ in mind. It takes on real-life themes including depression, self-esteem and much more.