Four-year-old shares her story to support families with babies in neonatal care

On World Prematurity Day (November 17) a book written by a four-year-old girl goes on sale to help families.

Penned by Alina Brett, “My Very Little Sister and the Very Big Story” was written after trying to make sense of her sister Anela’s very premature arrival in June 2019.

Alina has written the book from her perspective, with the support of her parents Amy and Alex, as she came to terms with the effects of coping with a little sister on a neonatal unit in Brighton. Alina’s hope is that it will reassure siblings and families going through similar experiences that they are not alone, and to help them cope and make sense of their feelings.

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Author Alina said: “I feel very proud of myself for writing this book because it was really hard to do, especially when the sad bits came. Now we’ve got our happy life back again, I hope to sell the book to loads of people to raise money to help other families who have babies early. I also want to raise some money to pay for toys for siblings to play with when they’re visiting their baby brothers and sisters in hospital.”

Alina and Anela

Priced at £5.99, the book is available from Alina’s family website, Brett Books, and all profit will go to The Early Birth Association (The EBA), the charity that helped support the Brett family whilst Anela was in neonatal care at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The EBA will provide copies of the book to siblings on both units it supports; TMBU and the Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

Heidi Crawford, co-chair of The Early Birth Association and former parent on TMBU, said: “We have been absolutely inspired by Alina’s story. She has beautifully and honestly captured her experience and we are sure it will be a great comfort to very many other children with brothers and sisters in neonatal care. We cannot thank Alina and her family enough for dedicating the proceeds of this book to The EBA, which will assist our goal in continuing to provide support to babies and their families and funding to the neonatal units that care for them.”

Alina’s sister, Anela, was born very prematurely at 25 weeks after their mother, Amy, was rushed to hospital from a family holiday in Poole. Anela spent the next five months in four different hospitals across Brighton and London before being discharged and welcomed home.

The Trevor Mann Baby Unit

Alina and Anela’s mother, Amy Brett, said: "We couldn't be more proud of Alina for the way she's handled the most challenging year of her little life, and now she's turning a negative experience into an immensely positive outcome."

To find out more about The Brett family and to buy Alina’s book, please visit: more information or to support the Early Birth Association, please visit:

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