Bracky builds a new den

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Bracky Builds

a New Den Illustrations by

Sarah-Leigh Wills

A story about finding hope in unexpected places

For Bethany, and all other children just like her

Copyright © 2021 Fletchers Solicitors Ltd

Bracky Builds a New Den The right of Fletchers Solicitors Ltd to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. The right of Sarah-Leigh Wills to be identified as the illustrator of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Illustration by Sarah-Leigh Wills /

Bracky Builds

a New Den Illustrations by

Sarah-Leigh Wills

Bracky was a happy little dinosaur, who did things that other little dinosaurs do. Life felt normal, and Bracky liked that.

Every day, Bracky would wake up, get dressed and eat a yummy breakfast, before Mummy took Bracky to school. Bracky played with friends, learnt from the teacher and visited after school club. Bracky enjoyed everything; everything was fun.

Daddy would give Bracky a cuddle after school and they would talk all the way home about the exciting things that had happened.

Bracky loved spending time with Mummy and Daddy.

They were funny, comforting and full of love.

But Bracky’s favourite part of every day was coming home to spend time in a very special Den. You see, the Den was the place Bracky felt happiest, because it was filled with memories.

There was a gold medal from Bracky’s sports day, when Daddy cheered as Bracky crossed the finish line first. There was a postcard from when Bracky, Mummy and Daddy went to the beach, and spent all day playing in the sand, eating ice cream and spotting the fishes.

The Den was filled with books, toys, and photos of Bracky’s favourite people. The blanket in the Den smelt of Mummy, and Daddy’s favourite tie held everything together.

Bracky, Mummy and Daddy spent hours together in the Den, reading stories and telling tales.

When Bracky was in the Den, Bracky felt warm from the inside out.

Bracky was enjoying another normal day when suddenly, everything changed. After playtime, it was time for reading. But instead, one of the teachers came to take Bracky from the classroom. The teacher explained that something very bad had happened to Daddy.

Bracky felt scared. The teacher explained it was time to go home. But Bracky wasn’t going home with Daddy. Instead, Grandma was there.

Grandma took Bracky home. But instead of talking about the things that had happened at school, Grandma explained that Daddy was poorly, in a lot of pain and wouldn’t be able to do some of the things he could do before. She said Mummy was with Daddy, and that the kind doctors and nurses at the hospital would take care of Daddy until he was able to come home.

Grandma explained that things might not be normal for a long time. Bracky felt confused, worried and sad. Grandma gave Bracky a cuddle. “It’s okay to feel that way,” she said. “You’re going to feel lots of different things for a long time.”

When they arrived home, everything felt different without Mummy and Daddy there. But there was one place Bracky could go to feel better.

Going into the Den, Bracky wrapped up in the blanket that smelt of Mummy, and cuddled Daddy’s tie, which held everything together. Bracky stayed in the Den all night long.

When the sun came up, Bracky wished for a normal day. But normal never came.

Instead of Mummy or Daddy, it was Grandma who made breakfast. Instead of Mummy or Daddy, it was the kind lady next door who took Bracky to school. Instead of enjoying everything, Bracky enjoyed nothing; Bracky felt alone.

At the end of the day, Grandma arrived to collect Bracky again. Grandma said: “I’ve got a nice surprise for you – Mummy’s home.”

Bracky started to feel just a little bit better.

Opening the door, Bracky saw Mummy, who was waiting for a cuddle. They both held on tighter than ever before.

Mummy said: “Daddy isn’t very well. Something serious has happened and he won’t be well for a long time.”

“When will he be home?” Bracky asked.

“Soon,” Mummy said. “But things won’t be the same.”

Bracky didn’t feel normal for a long time. Mummy wasn’t home very much. Bracky didn’t spend time with Mummy and Daddy after school or at the weekend. Instead, Bracky went to visit Daddy in the hospital, which made Bracky nervous.

Even Bracky’s favourite place, the Den, felt very different these days.

Weeks passed, and normal never came.

One day, it was time for Daddy to finally come home. Bracky was excited to see Daddy, and knowing he was coming home made everything feel a little bit better. It was important to be gentle with Daddy. Bracky wanted to make Daddy happy, so told him about everything that had been happening at home, and how none of it had been the same without him.

Daddy managed a small smile.

Mummy said: “Everything will be okay in the end, Bracky. We’ll find a new way to be normal.” Bracky didn’t know what that meant but was glad to have Daddy home.

One day, after school, Grandma explained that Bracky would have to move to a new house with Mummy and Daddy.

Bracky knew things had to be different. Doctors came to see Daddy all the time.

Home was full of things that had never been there before. Daddy had to stay in his bed all day.

Even Mummy’s car was different. Mummy was sad, and Daddy was even sadder.

Mummy explained that the new house would make Daddy more comfortable. But what would happen when Bracky moved to the new house? Would it feel the same, or different, somehow?

More weeks passed, and it was finally time to move. Bracky and Mummy took down the Den.

Mummy said they could rebuild the Den, together, in the new house. But Bracky was sad. The Den would never be exactly the same – how could it be?

The Den was built by Daddy, too – but now he wouldn’t be able to help.

Everything was changing. Nothing was going back to normal.

At the new house, Bracky followed Mummy to a new bedroom. “Why don’t you start to get out some of your toys and books, so it feels more like home?” she said.

But Bracky only wanted to rebuild the Den.

Bracky grabbed the medal and the postcard, the books and the toys, and the photographs of Bracky’s favourite people. Bracky found the blanket that smelt of Mummy, and Daddy’s favourite tie, which had held everything together.

Bracky tried and tried and tried to rebuild the old Den. But Bracky couldn’t do it.

No matter what Bracky did, the Den kept falling down.

Bracky felt angry, and gave up trying to rebuild the Den.

Weeks passed, and normal never came.

Doctors and nurses still visited Daddy, as well as people who Mummy said took care of other important things that would help the family.

Slowly but surely, Bracky could see that Mummy and Daddy were starting to smile again. Daddy even sat up in bed.

Then, Bracky began to meet lots of new people. And each of them gave Bracky something special.

On Bracky’s first day at the new school, a teacher gave Bracky a torch.

”This,” he said, “is to help you see when things get a bit dark. One day things will be much brighter.” “I can use this in my Den,” said Bracky.

One day, a nice lady came to school to talk to Bracky. She brought an empty jar.

”This,” she said, “is to help you make sense of everything that’s happened to Daddy. You probably have lots of questions. Write them down and put them in your jar.” “I can write questions for Mummy and Daddy,” said Bracky. “Maybe we can figure out the answers together.”

New people came to the new house, too. One day, the new next door neighbour came to say hello. He brought Bracky some coloured pens and paper.

”These,” he said, “are for you to draw pictures and colour them in. Take them home and keep them in your Den, so they’re always close by.” “I can draw pictures to describe how I’m feeling,” said Bracky. “That might help me make sense of everything.”

The new next door neighbour had brought a little dinosaur with him, who looked a similar age to Bracky. The little dinosaur said they had a Den, too.

“When I’m in my Den, I think about all the things that have made me happy that day, and I write them down,” the little dinosaur said. “I could use my coloured pens and paper,” said Bracky. “I’ll write down what makes me happy, and tell Mummy and Daddy.”

Bracky thought the two of them would be great friends and began to feel just a little bit better.

Finally, an Important Lady in a fancy suit came to visit Mummy and Daddy. But Bracky needed Mummy’s help.

“Mummy, I’ve been struggling to rebuild my Den and it’s been making me sad,” Bracky said. “But now I have all these new things, I think I could give it a go.”

“Why don’t you go and help Bracky while I talk to Daddy?” the Important Lady said to Mummy. “You can rebuild the Den together.”

“That would be lovely,” said Bracky.

Bracky and Mummy went to Bracky’s bedroom. “I want to put my Den there,” Bracky said, pointing to a very cosy corner.

Bit by bit, Bracky and Mummy started to rebuild the Den. Bracky took all the items from the old Den and mixed them together with the torch, the pens and paper, and the empty jar.

And it was then, and only then, that Bracky was finally able to finish the Den.

“Wow,” Mummy said, “your new Den looks amazing – well done!”

“It’s not quite the same as the old Den though, is it?” Bracky asked. “No,” said Mummy, sitting down with Bracky. “It’s different to the old Den, but that’s okay. This Den is even more special, because you’ve built it using the old and new parts of your life.”

Bracky spent all day and night in the Den. Under the torch light, Bracky drew pictures, made lists of happy things, and filled the jar full of questions. Bracky even drew lots of pictures of the Den to show Daddy while he was in his new bed.

One day when Bracky was in the Den, Mummy came in. “Daddy would like to see your new Den,” she said. “I think he’ll love it as much as I do. Shall I bring him in?” “Yes please”, said Bracky.

Mummy brought Daddy’s wheelchair into the Den. Daddy gave a huge smile and held out his arms for Bracky to give him a cuddle.

“You’ve been so brave, Bracky,” Mummy said. “We’re both so proud of you. Let’s all have a picture together - you can put it up in your new Den.”


– went the camera. Everyone felt happy.

“Now then,” said Mummy. “Why don’t we answer some of the questions in your jar? We might not have all the answers right now, but we can figure them out together.”

Things didn’t feel exactly like the old normal. And Bracky knew that not every day would be a happy day. But there would be a new normal, just like Mummy had said. For the first time in a long time...

Bracky started to feel warm again,

from the inside out.

Fletchers Solicitors Ltd created this book to help families and children find hope after experiencing a serious injury. It wouldn’t have been possible without a huge number of people, who we’d like to thank. Special thanks to psychotherapist & counsellor, Charlotte Beaumont, whose specialism in working with children and adolescents enabled us to develop a well-rounded character with an authentic journey of self-growth. To the wider group of child psychotherapists who provided detailed feedback on Bracky’s autonomy – thank you for your wisdom and your insights. A warm mention to our charity partners; Headway Preston and Chorley and The Brain Charity. Your ongoing support and expert knowledge of serious, debilitating injuries continually strengthens our own. For this, we thank you. To Bethany and her family; thank you for being a part of this journey. We hope that Bracky brings you comfort and that you continue to grow and develop in your own right. And to all our valued clients and your families – we care deeply about each and every one of you and are thankful to be a trusted part of your recovery. The road is often long and difficult, but we are on the road together, which means the load can at least be shared.

Bracky is a happy little dinosaur who does things happy little dinosaurs do. Bracky plays with friends, laughs with Mummy and Daddy – and spends time in a very special Den. But one day, Bracky’s life is turned upside down when something very bad happens to Daddy. Although Bracky’s world will never be the same, this brave little dinosaur will find support in new and unexpected places, and learn how to create a new normal when everything feels different. This children’s book highlights the challenges families experience following a serious injury, exploring how lives can be rebuilt using the help and support of others, and how the strength to move forward can be found within ourselves.