This book is a precious gift borne of heartbreak, loss, love and generosity that touched me deeply. It is about the death of a sibling and has been sensitively written to help others navigate this incredibly complex and intensely painful experience. Alongside beautiful illustrations it explores the many emotions experienced, gives ideas of how to process the grief and most importantly brings comfort and hope.

Review from Hayley Graham, Psychotherapist working with adults, children and adolescents & Author of Shadow Monsters & Courageous Hearts


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.

Review from Joanna P.A Moore, Author of children's book Love is a Gift


 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. To be totally honest, I saw the word heaven in the title and wondered if it would use euphemisms and other confusing terms throughout the book. I was beyond pleasantly surprised that clear, developmentally appropriate language was used throughout the book (using the words died and very concrete terms instead of using 'softer' words that can add to confusion, anxiety, and stress). There also is only one mention of heaven in the whole book, so I would say this book can very easily be used for other belief systems too. Highly recommend this book. I could share lots more details about what I love about this book.

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



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. It’s a topic that can be hard to speak about and many parents avoid it because it’s just too painful. Grief after a child’s death requires parents to accept the unacceptable …and that takes a lot of courageous conversations and thinking partnerships to think about how family life can continue. There’s a simple and authentic honesty to your words Breege which only a parent could construct.

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


''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. 



"RuairÍ's Rocket to heaven has now been reviewed and has been added to our library for practitioners use''

Anna Penn, Child Bereavement UK.



“I would like to share with you this beautiful book which sensitively but candidly explores the painful loss of a younger sibling. Breege Hoyne has drawn on her personal experiences of supporting her sons after the loss of his little brother RuairÍ, to write a book to help other children and families affected by bereavement. The book explores the confusing and distressing feelings that children may feel when they lose a sibling and shines a light on the path to recovery. The gentle text and the illustrations by Beth Cole create a world of warmth and safety in which children and parents can talk about unthinkable loss.”

From Sheena Webb, Consultant Clinical Psychologist



“I have received RuairÍ’s Rocket to heaven, a beautiful story. I can’t wait to share it with my team at The Bodie Hodges Foundation and to use it in my bereavement sessions with children and recommend it to parents and other professionals. 

Sibling grief is complex and impacts the child in so many ways and you have captured that impact within the story I know from lived experience. The remembering and reflection in the end pages are also perfect. You will help so many families with this beautiful book navigate grief. Thank you for sharing RuairÍ and Charlie”

From Nicola Rhodes, Lead Bereavement Practitioner at the Bodie Hodges Foundation


“Very moving. It’s a great book for siblings (& mum’s and dad’s). Just the right tone - saying it like it is – capturing the essence of all of those big emotions and with strategies that might help.”

Anita Coppola, MBE, Head of Small Steps Charity for disabled children


“This book, written by a bereaved mum, will help siblings to understand and express their feelings of grief following the loss of their brother or sister. Helping children to navigate their way around their grief can be one of the most challenging things for parents, who are themselves in the depths of their own grief and despair. I am always pleased to find a book like this, and will have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic resource”

From Paula Abramson, Principal & Founder of Bereavement Training International



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.



This is probably one of the most precious books I’ve ever read. It’s a beautifully illustrated story book about navigating child loss told from the perspective of Charlie after his baby brother died. I can see it helping so many families going through a similar experience. I haven’t personally experienced losing a child. However, I still enjoyed reading it with my boys and found it a lovely way to talk about big emotions which everyone experiences and are very normal, yet sometimes feel confusing, particularly for children. A great read for all families.

Lema Wiffen, Performance & Stress Management Coach



What a beautiful story of the love of two brothers and a very honest portrayal of the mixed emotions people go through. Well done for writing the story, it must have been incredibly hard to write but what a beautiful memory of RuairÍ and I will certainly read this story in school if needed.

Anna Juniper, School Teacher


We have all read your beautiful book together. It is absolutely perfect and so very poignant. The last line made me cry and happy all in one. There is so much love throughout. We had lots of talk about RuairÍ and the children’s lovely memories of him, and how is it so very sad and hard for Charlie, and you and Shane to have lost such a special brother and son. But also the wonderful ways you remember him. It really is a special book and we’re so privileged that you have shared it with us. It’s a wonderful and very love filled tribute to your gorgeous RuairÍ, he touched many hearts. And such a beautiful way to help other children too.

Karen Tierney, School Teacher