New children’s book makes hospital less scary for child patients and siblings

 Valerie Judge, author, and Ava Kenny, with copies of 'Gerry The Giraffe Goes To Hospital'.

Valerie Judge, author, and Ava Kenny, with copies of 'Gerry The Giraffe Goes To Hospital'.

Gerry Giraffe Goes To Hospital, a children’s illustrated book written by mother of two Valerie Judge during lockdown, demystifies the experience of child patients. The full colour book has been launched in aid of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.

The book is aimed at reassuring sick children and their siblings about hospital medical procedures. Valerie Judge, a management consultant who has returned to her artistic roots, wrote and illustrated Gerry Giraffe Goes to Hospital during the pandemic lockdown.

The book is inspired by Valerie’s daughter Anna Rose McKeever who trained in CHI Crumlin and is now a cardiac children’s nurse at Great Ormond Street hospital in London and knows all about the anxieties children may have when going to hospital. Anna-Rose has first-hand knowledge of procedures facing some sick children. She herself underwent treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma cancer last year. Happily, Anna-Rose is now all clear and back to work in Great Ormond Street.

The full colour illustrated book is on sale from Amazon at €20, with proceeds from the sales going to the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.

In his first illustrated adventure, Gerry Giraffe suffers from that old ailment ‘a bendy neck’ and has to visit hospital, where he undergoes all sorts of tests and procedures, such as an x-ray and a scan.

The book is designed to help children understand the process of being a patient attending hospital, sometimes more than once. It is also a handy illustrative explainer for siblings at home who may be wondering what’s going on.

"Attending hospital can be daunting for any patient and that applies even more so for children," said author and artist Valerie Judge. "Procedures such as x-rays or scans can be bewildering or even sometimes frightening,” she added. “So, I thought why not draw a fun story to explain the mysteries of it all?

"In Gerry Giraffe Goes To Hospital, Gerry and his bendy neck meet Nurse Anna and her friends at the hospital. He learns about scans and x-rays, and he gets a spin in a wheelie chair. He may not be completely fixed on his first visit, but he is well looked after, and looks forward to his next visit.

"Anna-Rose pointed out to me that in actual fact, it is often the family left worrying at home who could do with a bit of an explainer as to what is going on in the hospital. I really hope this book and Gerry’s adventures will go a long way to help those families. We’ve been touched by serious illness in our own family, and that is why all profits from this edition are going to the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation," continued Valerie.

Gerry Giraffe Goes To Hospital is on sale from Amazon at €20 per copy.


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