My latest three books have all been designed to help children and those who care for them manage loss of all kinds ...


Seeds of Hope Bereavement & Loss

Activity BookActivity Book Cover

Helping Children and Young People

Cope with Change Through Nature

by Caroline Jay

illustrated by Unity-Joy Dale

ISBN 9781849055468  pb £14.99



The Seeds of Hope Bereavement & Loss Activity Book aims to help children and young people manage feelings of loss and change of all kinds through a wide variety of activities all based in Nature.  It is written from personal experience.  When our baby, Laura, died and her brother and sister began asking questions about her, I started to look for ways to help me talk to them about death and loss.  Nature seemed a good place to start.  So much in Nature echoes the changes that happen in life.  None of us can live life without change and all change means loss and new beginnings - a pattern repeated over and over in Nature's cycles of life. The activities and illustrations in the book encourage children to get outside and get exploring - and in doing so, to gain an understanding of how loss and change are a natural part of living.

draw or paint page


   Children who might find it helpful may have divorced parents, may be in foster care of have been        adopted, may have moved home or school, may have a pet that's died or experienced the death of a     relative.  Information and suggestions for parents and teachers is included.

 The book is ideal for parents and carers, teachers, therapists and counsellors to use with children aged    5+ who have suffered any type of loss or are dealing with change or who are bereaved.


"...death for all of us is devastating but for a child it will create a wealth of emotions that are incomprehensible.  For each it is unique.  The Seeds of Hope Bereavement & Loss Activity Book gives a wide variety of ideas to help the child explore, recognise and accept ther feelings in a concrete, thoughtful and healing way.  I would highly recommend it....."   Yvonne Cameron, teacher


"... a lifetime's experience in this area has taught me that children benefit tremendously from being helped to talk openly about these issues.  I highly recommend Caroline Jay and Unity-Joy Dale's wonderful Seeds of Hope Bereavement & Loss Activity Book...."  Jenni Thomas OBE, bereavement counsellor



What Does Dead Mean?flyer pic

 A Book for Young Children to Help Explain Death and Dying

                   by Caroline Jay and Jenni Thomas OBE

                   Illustrated by Unity-Joy Dale

                   ISBN 9781849053556 pb £9.99



‘At last a book that really answers the questions or fears a child may have about death. I would recommend this to any parent who, like me, wonders how they will support their child through the death of a loved family member, friend, or even pet. I will have it waiting on our shelf and hope that schools will snap it up as a fantastic ‘information’ book for teachers to use and children to access in the school library.’      Gabby Hails-Smith, parent 


‘Children’s questions are a window to their souls and a mirror to their inner thoughts and feelings. This important book allows caring adults to acknowledge and explore these questions with children in a sensitive and informed way. I highly recommend What Does Dead Mean? for anyone who aspires to create a meaningful dialogue with children about death.’     Linda Goldman, author of 'Children Also Grieve' and  'Life and Loss'


What Does Dead Mean? is a beautifully illustrated book that guides children gently through 17 of the ‘big’ questions they often ask about death and dying.

Questions such as ‘Is being dead like sleeping?’, ‘Why do people have to die?’ and ‘Where do dead people go?’ are answered simply, truthfully and clearly to help adults explain to children what happens when someone dies. Prompts encourage children to explore the concepts by talking about, drawing or painting what they think or feel about the questions and answers.

Suitable for children aged 4+, this is an ideal book for parents and carers to read with their children, as well as teachers, therapists and counsellors working with young children.


Find both these books on Amazon

and the next one direct from me

or by going to www.swanjaybooks.com


Pepper, Pooch & Little 



This is the story of Pepper the hamster, Pooch the puppy and Little the tortoise.  They are friends for life, whether life is long or short.

Talking to children about death is not easy.  This picture book for 4+ year olds offers a gentle introduction to life and death and the importance of the memories that link them, opening a door on a difficult subject.


PPL2_smallerPepper,Pooch & Little came to be written because of something that happened many years ago. The Head of my children’s Infant School invited parents whose jobs it was to help others (like nurses, firefighters, police, paramedics) to come in and talk about they did in assemnblies.  My job was to support families when a baby had died. At the end of my talk, I asked if any of the children knew of any animal or person who had died and over 90 hands went up, each child wanting to tell me more. That was the day I realised that we need to help our children talk about loss and death. Years later I was working with a group of bereaved children at a hospice and wrote Pepper, Pooch and Little to read to them on the day that a hamster, a dog and a tortoise came to visit…”




There have been other books and plays along the way ....


Miner Dig The Coal!

It all started at the Victoria Theatre when I co-wrote the musical 'Miner Dig the Coal' minerswith the theatre director, Peter Cheeseman. 

He and I spent 6 months recording above and below ground at a local colliery.  

I held the dubious honour of being one of very few women in Britain to be permitted to spend a whole shift underground.

That's me on the right after 4 hours on the coal face!




Ali's Big Adventure

dog     Life's adventures, big and small have gone on to provide invaluable material for novels, short stories and children's books. 

     One very happy family holiday in the States   ended in disaster when my 7-year old daughter's favourite cuddly toy got left on the plane. 

     The result was the children's story 'Ali's Great Adventure' - on the list to be published!




Riding on a Dangerous Wind 

On the afternoon of my son's 7th birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  dangerous windThe rug disappeared from under my feet.  Partly as therapy, partly to give me some control in a situation over which I had no control whatsoever, I started writing a diary.  

My friends were hugely supportive; one gave me a card with the 2 Chinese symbols for the word 'trauma', they mean 'opportunity' and 'danger' - together translated as 'opportunity riding on a dangerous wind'. 

Two years later, having survived surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, my novel 'Riding on a Dangerous Wind' was born.  I hope it shows those going through their own trauma the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel.


Outliving The Hamster  

   hamster flyer

    I had always intended to return to my acting career when my children were older but there's nothing like a diagnosis of cancer to make you realise the value of seizing the day!

    I adapted 'Riding on A Dangerous Wind' for the stage. I added some songs, brilliantly orchestrated by Tony Award winner Sarah Travis, and headed for the Edinburgh Festival with director Ellie Jones.

      "A wonderful piece whose humour gleefully transcends any mere survivor's tale, and so deserves a far wider audience onstage and even TV.  This should be seen in every theatre across the land." 

Nick Awde, The Stage Online.


















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