A local mother and author has drawn inspiration from her daughter and beloved golden retriever to create her debut picture book to help children learn about grief.
Carolyn O’Boyle's Forget Me Not, which is due to be released in late November, is a celebration of the inseparable bond that often develops between a child and their pet.
The story follows the relationship between Rose, a little girl, and her beloved Dalmatian, Dotty.
Throughout the book, the pair grow closer as they tackle all of life’s milestones, “from learning to walk to starting school and beyond.” However, as time continues to pass and Rose begins to grow up, “Dotty just can’t keep up”.
Inevitably, Rose has to learn to cope with the loss of Dotty.
Pictured: Jersey-based author, Carolyn O'Boyle.
The story is told through the gradual changing of the seasons, beginning with the heydays of summer before winter gradually approaches along with the inevitable end of the friendship.
Inspired by lockdown rambles in the woods near Greve de Lecq, Carolyn described this storytelling device as “a natural way to approach a cycle” such and life and death.
As such, the changing seasons perfectly illustrates the “journey a child will take with their beloved pet, from beginning to end.” It is a children’s book about love and friendship, but also grief and coming to terms with loss.
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The author found inspiration for the book from her own four-year-old daughter, Erica, and her relationship with the beloved family Golden Retriever, seven-year-old Bella.
Carolyn watched as the two became an inseparable pair and she became greatly concerned with how she would help her daughter deal with the eventual passing of her friend.
Seeing that there were few books that dealt with this delicate topic adequately, she rekindled her life-long passion for creative writing and sat down to pen Forget Me Not.
Pictured: Erica, aged 4, with her friend Bella. The pair served as Carolyn's inspiration for Forget Me Not.
An experienced teacher and thus with the emotional-wellbeing of children at the forefront of her mind, Carolyn wanted to provide parents and their children with a tool to help them cope with the eventual passing of a cherished pet, often one of life’s first tragedies.
However, she also views the book as a celebration - it is a book about love and loss in equal measure.
While the author herself is based in Jersey, Forget Me Not is a distinctly international endeavour.
Pictured: A snippet of Forget Me Not, set to be released in the UK on the 24th November. Illustrations by Lucy McLouglin.
It is illustrated by Singapore-based artist Lucy McLouglin and published by Australian publisher Ethicool. It is due to be distributed by Publishers Group West, a large international book distributor, and will be on sale in outlets in the UK, US, Japan, Germany, Australia, Hungary and Poland.
Forget Me Not is set to be released in the UK on 24 of November and can be found in WHSmith, Waterstones or online and is currently available for pre-ordering via Carolyn's website, www.carolynoboyle.com.
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