A series of books written by a Dublin couple following the sudden death of their son, has grown into a worldwide phenomenon.
Adam’s Cloud is on the verge of surpassing one million sales and counts movie stars Michael Douglas and Adam Sandler among its A-list fans.
The nine-book series, which will feature at craft and design fair Gifted in Dublin’s RDS from this Wednesday, (Dec 1) exceeded Benji and Jackie Bennett’s wildest expectations, following the tragic death of their son Adam, four, in 2007.
Their initial plan was to write one book aimed at building love and resilience in children – and to inspire other parents to spend ten minutes reading to their children at night.
“Adam got sick very suddenly with a brain tumour and was gone within 24 hours,” said Jackie, 54, from Dublin’s Stillorgan.
“We never did this for anything other than thinking that some friends might buy a few copies and the idea was to remind parents to read their kids a story before they go to sleep, but it took off from there.
“We’re very lucky, through the books we are able to inspire happiness and love for young families who read them. People who start to write books rarely do so for money, now it’s our full time business.”
The husband and wife team, who have three other children, saw their first book, Before You Sleep, win Children’s Book of the Year on their son’s anniversary in 2009 – outselling Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Gruffalo’.
“We’ll be at a million copies quite soon,” said former Vodafone worker Benji, 51.
“The idea of the book came along and we just did it without any thought whatsoever.”
Part of the proceeds from each book go to charities including Make a Wish, Barretstown, Barnardos, LauraLynn and Anam Cara.
The couple will be among 500 designers, makers and artisan food producers at contemporary craft and design fair Gifted, which returns to the RDS this Wednesday, running until Sunday evening.
It is expected to attract 35,000 people and generate €5million in sales.
The Fair is Ireland’s largest collection of sustainable Christmas gifts and is considered a lifeline to unique brands and makers after the pandemic forced its cancellation last year.
Another of the star attractions will be saddler Lucy Cushley from Killinchy, Co Down, who worked on the set of the recently released Hollywood film ‘The Last Duel’, starring Matt Damon.
Award-winning jeweller, Dubliner Mark Newman, who suffers from a rare phenomenon called aphantasia – meaning he cannot visualise his designs in his mind before creating them – will also exhibit.
Gifted organiser Patrick O’Sullivan says the Fair will give exhibitors a renewed joy in conveying a gift’s uniqueness to people and the steps involved in making it – something missing in the craft and design industry since Covid-19.
“The Fair is a unique opportunity to interact with the most creative people in Ireland and discover thousands of original products,” he said.
Gifted takes place at the RDS Main Hall in Dublin’s Ballsbridge from December 1-5. Full details and booking at www.giftedfair.ie.