Press Release: Benny’s Hat.

Video trailer for Benny’s Hat:


Picture book helps children tackle the difficult subject of bereavement.


Children’s book writer and illustrator duo Juliet Clare Bell and Dave Gray are back tackling another tough subject in their beautiful new picture book Benny’s Hat, launching on 13th October in Foyles, Birmingham. Working with bereaved and pre-bereaved families and with young people with life-limiting conditions (from Edward’s Trust and Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham, and from Child Bereavement UK, a national charity), they sensitively crafted a story from the difficult emotions and experiences they encountered to help those facing what is unthinkable to most– the death of a child or sibling.


Following the success of their first book together The Unstoppable Maggie McGee which raised over £48,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Magnolia House Appeal, the pair were awarded an Arts Council National Lottery Grant to produce a book about child bereavement. Following months of workshops and research, Juliet Clare Bell (from Moseley, Birmingham) and Dave Gray (from Coventry) put pen to paper to create the characters and story that would help children to come to terms with their own bereavement in a safe and sensitive way.


Benny’s Hat follows Friz’s story from when she first learns of her brother’s illness, right through to his death and beyond. With its realistic but hopeful and gentle tone, readers will see that it is normal to feel a whole range of emotions –sad, worried, confused, angry and happy, even during the darkest of times.


“Most publishers are extremely wary of taking on books about bereavement, in particular about the death of a child. But for some children, death is an enormous part of their lives, and there are too few picture books that feel relevant to them and encourage them to explore their feelings. We wanted to create a story that would help bereaved and pre-bereaved children feel less alone at this extremely difficult time. 


We are really proud to be supporting Edward’s Trust by donating £2 from each book sold towards their vital work with bereaved families,” Juliet Clare Bell, author.


“Sadly, many families face the death of a child every year. Benny’s Hat aims to explore emotions involved and help families, and particularly children, come to terms with their loss. At times it was very sad to work on the book –but I hope we have created something where love and hope also shines through.  My hope is that the book will touch the lives of many young people and help them know that they are not alone in their grief, Dave Gray, Illustrator.


"Benny’s Hat deals so quietly with a huge subject of a sibling dying, from the view point of the sister. It shows beautifully how children and young people might deal with serious illness and death differently to adults. The story gives adult readers examples of how to support children when a sibling is not expected to live, not only from the section for parents at the back, but also by watching Friz’s parents’ reactions to her behaviour. I think this book will be extremely helpful for me in supporting families, children and young people through pre- and post-bereavement." 
Jackie Grant, Bereavement Support Practitioner, Child Bereavement UK


“With a powerfully simple text and heartbreakingly lovely illustrations, this book is a small masterpiece of honesty and comfort for the darkest of times,” Debi Gliori, best-selling author of No Matter What and Night Shift.


'…a gentle, funny, kind, insightful and honest book that is going to help many children and families,' Pippa Goodhart, best-selling author of You Choose.


“such a tender story about Friz and her older brother Benny, who is terminally ill… I can’t imagine an illustrator other than Dave Gray to provide the pictures to Juliet Clare [Bell]’s words,”

Bookwitch Review.


Benny’s Hat is priced £7.99 and is available from, Amazon, Foyles Birmingham and selected bookstores. It can also be purchased for donation to a school, library or children’s centre through the website. The author and illustrator are donating £2 from each book sold to Edward’s Trust, a Birmingham based child bereavement charity.




Benny’s Hat video trailer:


For further details contact:


Clare (Juliet Clare Bell): 07585  233715 




Launch for Benny’s Hat: Friday 13th October, 2017 5-7pm Foyles Bookshop. Please contact Clare on number above if you are interested in attending.