Finding Nana: A children's book - where it all started

23 January 2024

by Kate Le Sueur, Head of Chaplaincy, MHA


The children’s book project ‘Finding Nana’ was championed by the late Crispian Acher until his unexpected death in August 2023. Finding Nana now becomes Crispian’s legacy to MHA.

These are his words telling the story of bringing Finding Nana to life.

The experience of first visiting a care home can be daunting for anyone, particularly for children. Often a child may feel anxious when a grandparent, aunt, uncle or family friend has recently made the move into care.

We also know from our own experience, and others, just how beneficial it is for the mutual well being of both older and younger people when generations come together for shared activity, either in our care homes, retirement living schemes or community groups.

With this in mind, we wanted to create a resource that would help dispel some of the anxiety that may be felt by children when first visiting a care home. Initially I asked children in my wider family what feelings they think they might have if their grandparent needed to move to a care home. I wasn’t surprised to hear about their worries, concerns and questions.

We were very fortunate to work with Jenni Bacon and Sophie Parmenter to author and illustrate ‘Finding Nana’. They spent time in MHA care homes talking to colleagues, including our chaplains, residents and families. They created the characters, and as drafts of the story came to fruition they were shared with children, families, and colleagues including our specialist Dementia Lead.

Early on, we realised we had a very special and unique story to share. A story that older children would be happy to read on their own, and that younger children would enjoy being read to or with them. A story that would provoke in a very sensitive and touching way, questions that deal with the emotions that children and families may experience.

The next step was to explore how to share this story. Our close links with the Methodist Church led to a partnership with Methodist Publishing, and later BRF in order to publish, print and distribute the book.

We’re very excited to finally see the book published, and certain it will help many families in navigating the emotional journey of having a loved one move into care, whether it is with MHA or elsewhere.

Order your copy of Finding Nana

Order a copy of Finding Nana

Order a copy of Finding Nana

Follow Ella and her brother Jack as their nana moves into a care home. Meet different characters along the way in the beautifully illustrated book.

Find Out More