A CAERPHILLY mum has written a book to help children understand loss.

Jess Childs, who was born in Hay-on-Wye and 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 lose a loved one in an honest, child-friendly way and follows young character Ivy Jones on her adventures in the Wildest Wood.

The book developed from a poem that Ms Childs originally wrote in 2006 and was 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.

South Wales Argus: Jess Childs with daughters Winnie and Nancy

Jess Childs from Machen with her daughters Winnie and Nancy

Ms Childs has also experienced other family bereavements and is helping her two daughters, aged three and five, to understand and 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 out 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.


Ivy and the Rock is published by Olympia and focuses on what losing someone or something can mean for those left behind. It doesn’t look at death itself, but the important themes of recovery, acceptance and re-growth.

“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.

“Through her adventure in the Wildest Wood, Ivy does just that. It’s a thought-provoking but uplifting take of adventure and self discovery, created to help our tiniest minds make sense of like’s greatest inevitability.”

South Wales Argus: Jess Childs from Machen with her Ivy and the Rock book

Jess Childs from Machen with her Ivy and the Rock book

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.

There are already another two books written and a website launched which has a number of resources to help families affected by the issues covered in the stories.

Visit bigissuesforlittlepeople.co.uk to access the free resources and to purchase Ivy and the Rock.