Saving The Butterfly

Saving the Butterfly is written by Helen and illustrated by Gill Smith. You can find out more about Gill on her instagram here @gillsmithillustration.

Saving the Butterfly is a picture book about trauma and a wish for recovery. Two children are rescued from the dark sea. They have nothing. They lost everything. The older child seems most resourceful – she talks to their rescuers, she finds shelter. Later though, while the younger one ventures outside, making friends, laughing and growing strong, she hides away indoors. ‘After a while she hardly ever went out.’

In Saving the Butterfly (as in many of my books) I’m gently exploring my character’s different responses to the same situation. I meant the dark sea to be a metaphor for any major tragedy and loss. The older child may seem weaker, suffering from post-traumatic anxiety, yet she is so strong during the crisis and shows great empathy when her brother brings the outside in to her, in the form of a butterfly. But can she find the courage to guide the butterfly back into the world where it belongs?

  • Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize (for illustration)
  • Shortlisted for the English Association award
  • Shortlisted for the Diverse Books Award
  • Empathy lab 2023 choice
  • Longlisted for the Carnegie Award (for illustration)