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Charlotte Hartley-Jones, whose son Hugo has a chronic condition and is supported by Chestnut Tree House, has written a book for children spending time in hospital.
Six year old Hugo was born with intestinal failure. He spent the first six months of his life in hospital, and continues to spend large amounts of time there, to the extent that it often feels like a second home. Having spent so much time in hospital, and experiencing the sense of community that exists there, Charlotte decided to write a book featuring children just like Hugo.
“I wanted to write a story with a background setting that resonates with children and families for whom hospital is not a scary unknown place, but is rather a place where they spend a lot of time and have to carry on ‘normal’ life within its walls,” says Charlotte. “For families with children with chronic conditions, the community of hospital is important and the story emphasises the different elements of hospital life, while empowering the main character with a helping role, rather than a dependent one.”
Eyrie Press, who are publishing the book, are running a kickstarter campaign to help get the story into print. As part of that, they are offering those who contribute higher amounts to the campaign an additional hard-backed copy of the book to donate to a hospital or library, or perhaps to a hospice.
Chestnut Tree House is the children’s hospice for Sussex and South East Hampshire. Hugo is supported by the charity to allow him to access Beavers each week, and he experienced his first ever swim at the hospice building near Arundel. “We’re excited to see Charlotte’s book come to life,” says Susan Freeman, Hugo’s care support worker from Chestnut Tree House. “So many of the children and families we support are in and out of hospital, and have a whole range or additional medical needs, so for them to be able to see themselves represented in the pages of a book is important. We are really looking forward to seeing it and, hopefully, sharing it with more of our families.”
You can find out more about the book, written by Charlotte Hartley Jones and illustrated by Anjalee Burrows, at www.kickstarter.com/projects/eyriepress/the-hospital-hoppities