top of page

Author's Page

Meet some of the cast and the Illustrators!


Thank you for your interest in Hug Your Heart Books. Writing these stories has been a labour of love and I would do it all again in a flash. The children I have worked with in the past 20 years have been an inspiration in their ability to show courage, vulnerability and trust during therapy. I have met so many amazing adopters and seen the extremes of Parental love with so many ordinary people holding on, pulling their kids through to a more stable, balanced life. 

Working as a therapist in the Local Authority for 20 years has been the most fulfilling (and sometimes exhausting) experience.  I am constantly amazed and life-affirmed by the power of parent-love to heal trauma.


These books are my contribution to the courage and spirit of all the kiddies I have had the pleasure of helping over the years. They are also a thank you to their adoptive Mums, Dads, siblings, Grandparents, foster carers, teachers and friends. All of you have had a role to play in healing trauma and giving the children the chance of a fresh start.


I hope my little characters help your child along the way.

Do email me your child's responses to the books and also if you have any requests for new themes. I hope to be writing for another 20 years now that I have got the bug!

Bryony x



Bryony Irving author

Meet the illustrators! I am so grateful to this wonderful team of artists. They have done such an amazing job of bringing my little characters to life. Thank you to you all. It tickles me how we all met by chance relationships yet such wonderful things have come out of it all. The serendipity trail has been working well.....

Hug your Heart Books illustrator Molly

Molly Tamplin who was first to take up the challenge of illustrating a book. She is my youngest son's friend's sister. I discovered her talent at the local fooball quiz when she sat next to me and drew throughout the quiz. She was only 16 when she illustrated Fizzy Lizzy, Rory and Isobel. Check out her Facebook page or find her on instagram @mollytamplinart. She does amazing portraits and still-life drawings. Thank you Molly, I will never forget the moment I first saw your Fizzy Lizzy and I knew my dream could all happen.....


Kev Oubridge- my best friend's brother-in-law. A chance dog walk brought together the 2 facts that I needed an illustrator and that he wanted to get back into art! Kev had been to art college as a student, then took on a life of business. He had not drawn for many years and has really enjoyed revitalising his talent. Kev - thank you so much - your style is zany and unique and I love it's utter daftness!

Illustrator for Hug Your Herat Books Kev

Sarayah Garnham - 17 years old and so full of life.  We met, again, through a peculiar sequence of serendipity events. A creative whizz, she can draw, write, rap, design, vlog, blog, sing....pretty much anything. Oh and her heart is about as big as Mars. She is doing amazing things in the field of teen mental health. Her own book of poetry is available on Amazon ebook - Saturated Sunrays ...Fabulous on teen life and what it is to be 17. Thank you - for drawing and showing me how to use social media - you are an inspiration and you have brought me into the 21st century!

Seth Smith, my newest recruit. Effortlessly cool without knowing it, he is my eldest son's girlfriend's brother! At just 14 I can barely express my admiration for his talent. Again, he was "discovered" on a fortuitous dog walk whereby I mentioned to his dad that I needed an illustrator quickly. Hey presto, 2 minutes later, I had my own teenage Picasso. I had had no idea he could even draw. Thank you - you have such a career ahead of you! 

Illustrator for Hug Your Heart Books Seth

It all began with Lily.....

Lily was just 3 years old when I first met her.

She was so traumatised by her abusive past that all she could do was scream "no!". I knew I had to think outside of the box to build any kind of trusting relationship with her. Lily and the No-No's was my first proper therapy story - now Nina and the No-No's. Through daft, playful stories like these, Lily was able to start her healing process. Her response to the book taught me the power of therapeutic story telling. She has gone on to be adopted with an amazing couple and is doing well. Here she is playing snow angels with her sis.

All the best Lily xx.


children playing in snow

Meet some of the cast!

Splodge the cat

Most of the books have pets in. Dogs, cats and hamsters feature to add lightness to the stories. Some of the animals in the stories are based on our real pets. Here are my two - Splodge the cat who is in Rory's Roars, and Murphy, my scampy, scruffy beloved dog, who appears in Invisible Isobel. He also makes a guest appearance in the wall photos in Ellie and the Ouches. In picture 3 we have Toby, who is the dog of Seth, Illustrator for Jane and the Shame Shadows and The Tale of Spiky Mikey. Toby and Murphy are friends in real life. Splodge hates them both! 

dog wearing glasses
therapy room dancing bears

Our therapy room where so many of these characters were created. This room has seen many miracles, a few tantrums, a pile of wet pants, tears, despair and much laughter. And that's just from the staff......

Some of my favourite Instagram pics starring my own kids!

smiling children
sibling rivalry
confused child
dogs doing tug of war
children sitting on bench
child wearing crash helmet
bottom of page