Hachette Children’s Group will publish You Will Be Okay by Julie Stokes, a "timely, comforting and practical" guide to help middle-grade readers navigate grief, in August 2021.
Laura Horsley, editorial director at Wren & Rook, commissioned the book from Stokes in recognition of the lack of grief books on the market for middle-grade readers and above.
Stokes is a chartered clinical psychologist with over 20 years' experience working with children and families in palliative care, trauma and bereavement and is the founder of childhood bereavement charity Winston's Wish. In the book, she will share case studies of children's stories of loss and offer "comforting and practical" advice for coping, remembering and taking time for you, teaching children that there are many things they can do to build strength and resilience in order move forward with life.
Horsley said: "The death of a parent, sibling or friend is one of the most traumatic experiences a child might experience, and it can be hard to know how to talk to them about it. Even without the recent pandemic, the stats for children experiencing grief are astonishing: Winston’s Wish states that more than 100 children and young people are bereaved of a parent every single day, and one in 29 children have experience the death of a parent or sibling. That’s at least one in every classroom. That’s why we believe this book to be more important than ever – sensitive, comforting and strength-building, Julie Stokes has created a much-needed toolkit for children navigating grief."
Stokes, who now works an executive coach, commented: "In a year when the whole world seemed enveloped in loss, the invitation to write You Will Be Okay was irresistible. And it feels like we need it now more than ever, during a period in our history when so many children have had to face sudden and inadequate goodbyes to family members and especially a grandparent. How a young person learns to cope with early loss will have a profound impact on the rest of their lives, and to be able to connect directly with them on a topic that is so often avoided was a welcome challenge. Each child’s grief journey is unique, and You Will Be Okay flexes to their individual experiences and desire to rebuild their lives, while also holding onto the past. I also sincerely hope that those adults who missed out on help when they were young (like my own mum and so many others) may pick it up and find some comfort in feeling understood."