How do you explain death to a child? It’s a hard enough topic for an adult to navigate, let alone a child. Aly Walsh, owner and founder of Aly’s Books from Yarraville, has written a book covering this difficult topic – ‘When I Left’.

    Aly experienced a major loss as a five-year-old when her Nana,
 her main carer, died suddenly in a car accident. The days that followed her Nana’s death were full of confusion as Aly struggled to understand where her Nana had gone, and why she’d left behind her favourite drink: her brandy. Thinking of those memories as an adult, Aly decided to write a book based on her childhood experience of grief and loss, not only to keep her Nana’s memory alive, but also to help children in a situation that can be one of the hardest to face.

    The notion of Aly’s Nana ‘just always being there’ was a way for her 
to process her loss, as well as being the catalyst and inspiration for ‘When I Left’. Ultimately, Aly hopes her book will assist families with young children who have lost someone special, helping them to say their own final goodbyes in their own time. This book has proven to be a great conversation starter, and when it comes to grief, talking about it can be even harder for kids than it is for us adults.

    Since the book’s release it has been used to process all kinds of loss, from illness to accidents and suicide, to process the loss of siblings, grandparents, family members, and friends, and even more recently the loss of pets. ‘When I Left’ has helped many families work through some really tough times, not least Aly herself, who lost her father last year. Her own children were quoting lines from her book to try and help her with her grief.

    The book is non-religious in tone, but depicts a spiritual element, and together with the gorgeous illustrations by Aly’s mother in law, Marilyn Walsh, makes for a sentimental and loving book that families can read together through the sad times.

    Don’t forget her annual book festival ‘Mama Knows West & Aly’s Books Fest’ which will be in August – confirmed date will be released very soon.

    Further titles by Aly Walsh can be found at or she can be contacted directly for school and kinder visits.


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    1. Oh Wah!!! I think ive found a solution for my daughter and myself as i lost my mum last year and my daughter is very close to my mum. I would love to get this book. It’s still really hard for me and my daughter looking my mum.

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