The Day Poppa Turned into A Star is a book that is at the heart of our mental health series. It was the book that started it all for me (Tracey).
In 2015 we lost the figure head of our family to stomach cancer, my Dad. Within the whirlwind of grief, we were unprepared for how it impacted on my nephew, Aidan.
We found it hard to communicate and I decided to write a story to see if it could support him.
The process within itself was a sense of therapy. To be able to write it down when I could not even talk about it publicly brought a real sense of difficulty. I was incredibly lucky to be offered a publishing deal to release the book which was completely unexpected.
The pictures put to the words and seeing it come alive was even harder. Suddenly there was an outpouring of personal grief and anxiety about others seeing the story. Although an absolute advocate for others, I had never discussed mental health outside of my supportive family. It was at that point that I realised these could be feelings that Aidan and other children could be feeling.
I realised the power in vulnerability.
We released the book in 2016 and it became award-winning. Even if it only had helped one child, I would have been happy.
And that’s where writing mental health and wellbeing children’s books started. With the book that started it all: The Day Poppa Turned into a Star.