RuairÍ's Rocket to heaven Book written to support bereaved children & their families

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About the Book


RuairÍ’s Rocket to heaven is a children’s book about sibling loss. It is written to help families, carers and professionals explore, and navigate the difficult topic of death and bereavement with children from the age of 4+ years old.

The story is about the life and love between two brothers, Charlie and RuairÍ, their time together, and Charlie’s journey navigating life after his brother’s death.

In the first part of the story, it describes a beautiful little boy RuairÍ, his life with his older brother Charlie and the things they enjoyed together e.g. playing, bath-time, cuddles and more. The second part of the story is about Charlie’s experience of grieving his little brother, and the support that has helped him since. RuairÍs Rocket to heaven is a story of heartbreak, and hope, and of everlasting love and connection between two brothers.

It is my heartfelt hope that this story will help other young children and their families in their journey navigating the complex landscape of grief.

The story was illustrated by Beth Cole. Beth is an amazingly talented, considered and intuitive artist. She illustrated my boys and the emotion inside each memory within the story so beautifully, just how I envisioned. It was an absolute pleasure to work with Beth. You can find her work at


PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEWS - Check out the reviews section on this website for more!

This book is a gem! It can be so incredibly difficult to find books for siblings who experienced the death of a baby and had some time and memories at home before their death. There are several books about pregnancy/infant loss for siblings and even a handful of books on the death of older siblings, but this category can be very difficult to find. So grateful to have this book filling the gap. Highly recommend this book.

From From Jessica Correnti (MS, CCLS, Children’s Book Author), Kids Grief Support.


Death is certainly a sad and painful part of life; however the loss of a child is most probably the most difficult. Sadly, many families do have to go through this agonising experience of grief and loss, and books like “Ruairí’s Rocket to heaven” are a beautiful tool to support parents in talking about this loss to their grieving children. The book is beautifully illustrated with soothing and clear story presentation. It explores feelings like sadness, fear, anger and confusion and looks at different ways to process that grief as a family. It uses clean language like Ruairí died which is very important when speaking with children about death. I certainly recommend this book for any family struggling with the death of a small child and I think this book should be available worldwide. Thank you Breege Hoyne for sharing a story of your heart and for helping other families navigate this difficult and painful terrain.

From Joanna P.A Moore, Author of Love is a Gift


I wanted to say thank you for creating such a helpful resource for people trying to make sense of family life after a brother or sister has died. I have 3 children myself (now all grownups) and I can only imagine how our family would be so different had we needed to do the grief work you so generously show us in RuairÍ’s Rocket to Heaven. Throughout the book you take such great care of the reader’s feelings and the gentle illustrations by Beth are so powerfully placed on the page. Charlie your inspiration for a rocket to take your young brother to this place called heaven is just a lovely image to hold amongst the sadness and anger of grief. In my experience of listening to many thousands of bereaved children (I am old!) I find that they so often are comforted by the idea of a Heaven…and Rainbows …just like you show in the book. The most important thing about your book is that it will spark so many useful conversations.

Julie Stokes OBE, Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Founder of Winston’s Wish


Let RuairÍ and Charlie take you on a heartbreakingly beautiful story of love and loss, hurting and healing. A childhood story that can’t fail to touch the depth of your soul. A story that so truthfully and poignantly captures what it means to be a brother or sister grieving the death of their little sibling, with a broken heart that is steadily being put back together. But this isn’t just a story for the heart. The creation of this book itself is the story of a mother, who after watching her son struggle along the cruel path of grief, is compelled to help others know that they are not alone and that healing will come. Breege couldn’t have found something more needed or more precious. This is because it isn’t often that a young child’s brother or sister dies. So they are cast into a lonely experience that their friends do not share or understand. Yet when a child finds their thoughts and feelings represented in a character like Charlie, they are no longer alone. The toxicity of feelings like loneliness and fear lose their power in an instant. In the character of Charlie, this is what children across the world can find, with sweet illustrations to feed their imagination. 

 The death of a child is one of the most intensely painful experiences a human being can suffer. RuairÍ’s Rocket is a rescuing rocket for siblings who are grieving. Whether you are parent, grandparent, teacher, therapist, counsellor or friend, when you read this story to a grieving sibling you are saying “I want to talk to you about death and dying”. This is a precious message for a child to hear. Open this book, enter Charlie’s world and let it help you and a child talk about what they’re feeling. Let it help you share the burden of a child’s grief. Let the magic of the story touch you too. 

Sarah Hodkinson, Head of Family Support Services at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, and associate professor of music therapy at the University of Southampton.


 At Rainbow Trust, it is important that we don't shy away from talking about death and dying. Resources like RuairÍ's Rocket to heaven open up the conversation with children, enabling them to speak about their own thoughts and feelings. We will be sure to add this to our kit when supporting our families.

From Natalie Whitby-Lear, Family Support Worker. 



About the Author

I am Breege, living in suburban London, with my husband Shane, my energetic and amazing son Charlie, who grounds me in all that is good and right in this world, our goofy dog Rufus and our two cats Freddy and Monkey. 

I am also Mom to RuairÍ, my beautiful, sweet and oh so fierce little boy. RuairÍ devastatingly died in 2018 from a rare and terminal disorder when he was just one years old.

RuairÍ’s life, and his death, have taken me on the biggest journey of my life. As I navigate this life every day, holding my heart and the hearts of my son Charlie and my husband Shane delicately, I found a new and different meaning through writing.  You can find me at

After RuairÍ died I turned to books to help Charlie understand his feelings and I couldn’t find a lot out there to help him. At the same time Charlie was drawing a lot and he drew a picture of his little brother going to heaven in a rocket. This idea inspired me to write this story, the story of the life and everlasting love between two brothers, and Charlie’s journey navigating his life after the death of RuairÍ.

RuairÍ's Rocket to heaven honours and remembers our beautiful, sweet and oh so fierce little boy, it is my heartfelt hope that it will help other young children and their families in their journey navigating the complex landscape of grief.


Shooting Star Children’s Hospices are a leading children’s hospice charity caring for babies, children and young people with life limiting conditions, and their families. They have provided my family with invaluable bereavement support after RuairÍ’s death. It is with much gratitude that the profit from book sales will be donated to this charity for the truly wonderful work they do. I am incredibly thankful to have their support in helping me launch my book, and also incredibly humbled to have their endorsement of my book too.