top of page

'My Brother Book Sleeping' Project

Over 2 million babies are born sleeping each year around the world.

This book is for the people who love them.

Kell headshot_edited.jpg

If you are a Journalist, podcaster, librarian or support group coordinator, you can schedule a time to chat with Lellie Lopter by clicking the 'Schedule NOW' button.

 

Lellie is the author, an illustrator, and the Project Leader of this very special global project.

 

Or scroll down for more information and Frequently asked questions.

"Some people want to make lots of friends. Some people want to make lots of money.

I just want to make a difference. " - Lellie Lopter

FAQs about the Project

What inspired the story? 

"When I was a teenager, I lost a baby, an ovary, and relationship all at the same time." Lellie explains. "Despite everyone telling me how lucky I was that it had happened because I was so young, I was consumed by a trifecta of grief. I went to pieces, but I was allowed to, because I was on my own. Years later, when my nephew was born sleeping, my sister had to keep it together for her existing kids. It was heart-breaking and really strained our relationship. I didn't really understand her strength until my recent hysterectomy and through all the pain and grief and gratitude that comes with the organ responsible for so much pain and preciousness, I had to try and keep it together for my family. That experience gave me the courage to ask others to help me share this story. My life was put on hold during my recovery and everyone kind of stayed away which gave me the time to coordinate this project. I was too medicated to concentrate on my PhD and spending the time healing, and working on this project with such wonderful illustrators really helped me recover from the surgery. 

What inspired the illustrations? 

Choosing to include international illustrators has disqualified this book from receiving a Children's Book Council of Australia Award. Every illustrator involved however has their own unique story and way of expressing themselves in their art and because this is a global issue, it was important to Lellie Lopter that those expressions were included too. 

 

Sometimes when a baby is born sleeping, the only thing a parent gets to take home from the hospital is a teddy bear so bears where an important theme of the illustrations. Another common theme was the small beanie. Sometimes, this is the only thing that a parent is able to dress their baby in. The beanie was used to represent a baby born sleeping in the relevant illustrations to show a gentle difference between the bears for children reading the story.  Many of the illustrators selected to be involved in this project also have their own unique experiences of stillbirth or early pregnancy loss. Their connection to the grief is reflected in their pictures.

Who was involved with the project?

Stillbirth is a global issue and it was important to Lellie Lopter that the book reflected that. The author is Australian. The Illustrators were selected from around the world including Australia, India, South Africa, Italy, Poland, USA, Ireland and the UK. The children involved in the video reading are from Australia and New Zealand. Although the different time zones meant that the project team had never actually met either in person or online. Despite this, they have worked together incredibly well to successfully create this resource for families who may need a way of gently approaching such a difficult conversation.

What award did the story win?

This story won the Marshall Allan Hill writing competition in 2011. The children's short story competition was originally created to commemorate the legacy of a baby who was born sleeping the previous year. This inspired the entry. Although the book won the competition, the publisher passed on taking it on board. It sat in a drawer for 12 years until it was presented for assessment at the CYA conference to an agent and a publisher in May 2023. They both said the story was absolutely perfect but it would be extremely difficult to get a publisher to take on a book if I wanted to gift all the royalties to a charity. Michelle Madden, Editor of Penguin Random House gave invaluable advice. She said if I wanted to get this book into the hands of the people who need it, I didn't need to change a thing, but I would need to find a way to do it myself.  That was a week before my hysterectomy. When I got out of hospital,  I had to put a pin in my PhD while I was so medicated and it gave me the time to reflect on all the pain and grief my uterus had given me over the years. I felt a need to do something constructive with the time I had been given to heal and this project was the solution.

Why give this story away, aren't authors supposed to make money?

Lellie Lopter decided to sell this book and gift all of the royalties to Red Nose as a way for them to raise money to support families, fund research, and save little lives. Lellie is secretly an academic who is currently researching public value at a local level. Her previous project, the free little libraries project, was a collaboration at a local level. This project provided an opportunity to create public value on a global scale. Coordinating this project has provided an opportunity for her to practice the skills she has developed over the course of her PhD. Lellie wanted to create a resource for the future.  Now that the project is complete, Lellie intends to return to her real life and finish her studies. 


The author and Illustrators have donated their time and talents for this project to ensure that all money raised from any book sales goes to Red Nose so they can continue to support families, fund research, and save little lives. You can show your support by purchasing this book or you can donate directly to Red Nose here:

https://fundraising.rednose.org.au/donate/one-off-donation.

Some people want to make lots of friends. Some people want to make lots of money.

I just want to make a difference. " - Lellie Lopter

bottom of page