Gruffalo author dedicates book to ‘courageous’ boy

Award-winning author, Julia Donaldson, has dedicated her latest Gruffalo book to an inspirational young boy who died last year aged just five.

Skye was diagnosed a brain tumour.
Skye was diagnosed a brain tumour.

The Guffalo Autumn Nature Trail has been dedicated to Skye Hall and his younger brother Jesse.

Skye was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an aggressive and cancerous brain tumour.

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Sadly on 29 August 2014, Skye, who lived in Oxfordshire, died at home from treatment side effects.

Skye with his little brother Jesse

Sally Hall, Skye’s mum said: “We received the news that the book was in print the week of what would have been Skye’s 7th birthday so the timings was very apt. My husband, Andrew, rushed to the Bookstore and picked up a copy.

“Skye and I read all of Julia’s books in hospital, his favourite being Jack and the FlumFlum Tree. Skye and Jesse had Gruffalo child costumes. They always wanted to dress up and it was brilliant to watch them.

“Seeing the dedication in black and white is amazing but what I love more is the fact that someone Skye admired so much, shared the same feeling for him.

“The book is part of a four-part season’s series and is the best ‘to do’ book I have ever come across, Skye would have thoroughly approved of its action packed content. Jesse and I have already transformed a leaf, made a sticker tree and earned our Gruffalo Explorer badge!”

During Skye’s illness Sally and Andrew Hall set up Blue Skye Thinking. The charity’s goal is to fund some of the world’s best researchers, so that all children diagnosed with brain tumours will have a better chance of survival and a better quality of life post-treatment.

Sally and Andrew are hoping that people will see the dedication in the book want to learn more about Skye’s life and support the charity.

Julia Donaldson, who used to live in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, said: “While I sadly never met Skye, I was very touched by the video clip which I saw of him and his younger brother Jesse, and impressed by what his parents told me about Skye’s courage and his love of discovering new things. That’s why I dedicated The Gruffalo Autumn Nature Trail to Skye and Jesse.”

More than 350 children a year in the UK alone, face the devastating news that they have a brain tumour but less than one per cent of cancer funding goes towards research into brain tumours, the number one cancer killer in children and teenagers.