For many boys today, there is a fear that expressing emotion is seen as a sign of weakness. This only becomes more evident as they move from boyhood into adolescence.

This book helps parents frame emotions in a positive light, normalising the idea that all boys cry, whether they are seven years old, in the armed forces, a fireman or a father – all big boys cry, it does not make them silly!

Big Boys Gry


Big Boys Cry is an illustrated story which is about a boy of seven who falls over and starts crying. Upon which he is told “big boys don’t cry”.

The story then goes on to show how this is not in fact true.

It is suitable for children between 6 and 8 and would work well as a discussion point for parents and children.



Big Boys Cry by Charlotte Moncrieff

Illustrated by Helena Maxwell

It’s Billy’s seventh birthday and no one is more excited than he is to finally be a big boy! At the park later that day, Billy finds himself in tears after getting hurt in a small accident. When a passing stranger scolds him, telling him that ‘Big Boys don’t cry – only silly ones do’, Billy questions what it means to be a big boy. Thankfully, Mum and Dad and some new friends help Billy understand that crying is normal and that everyone does it, including some of Billy’s favourite and most admired members of his family.

For many boys today, there is a fear that expressing emotion is seen as a sign of weakness. This only becomes more evident as they move from boyhood into adolescence.

This book helps parents frame emotions in a positive light, normalising the idea that all boys cry, whether they are seven years old, in the armed forces, a fireman or a father – all big boys cry, it does not make them silly!

Information about the Book

Title: Big Boys Cry

Author: Charlotte Moncrieff

Release Date: 30th July 2019

Genre: Children’s

Page Count: 32 pages

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Goodreads Link:

Amazon Link:

Author Information

Charlotte Moncrieff  

is an ambassador for MQ Mental Health Research Charity and is based in Lon-don (Brixton). With a man taking his life every two hours in Britain, Charlotte is motivated to start the conversation about males and their emotions even earlier and is a big believer in prevention over cure. Charlotte is also the founder of the Twenty Mile Club, an online platform that seeks to inspire savvy twenty-something’s through entrepreneurship and passion projects.

Illustrator Information

Helena Maxwell  

is an illustrator and artist who is passionate about spreading mental health aware-ness. Helena has worked with Charlotte to produce the visuals for Big Boys Cry and hopes to show the next generation of males and females that it is OK to express emotion regardless of gender. Helena has previously worked for clients such as The Sunday Times, Elbow Productions and Shortbook Publishers.

10 books I read as a child, by Helena Maxwell, illustrator of Big Boys Cry.

I have always been an avid reader – as a child I was thrilled not only by storybooks that contained beautiful pictures, but by ones that created rich imagery in my mind. Here are 10 books that I read and re-read countlessly, between the ages of 7 and 11.

  1. Mrs Armitage on Wheels, by Quentin Blake.

I always loved Quentin Blake’s “scraggly” style, which brings such action and vibrancy to his stories. Mrs Armitage is my favourite because she collects lots of things whilst she is riding her bicycle – I love how the imagery builds throughout the story and ends in one giant cacophony! I learnt a lot about drawing from looking at Blake’s style – though it looks roughly drawn, it is very precise, and he knows exactly what he wants from an image before putting it to paper. I try to work like this in my illustrations.

  1. Alfie – The Big Alfie Outdoors Storybook, by Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes’ artwork was also a huge inspiration for me as a child – her use of watercolour paints and strong coloured pencil lines, coupled with Indian ink sketch style, makes her characters and settings look so rich and real. They have a quality of magic about them that I found irresistible. I grew up in the countryside, so loved the “Alfie Outdoors” book, as it spoke about things in nature, and children’s relationships with the simplest things in nature, that I also loved. Hughes’ book today reminds me of the simple and joyous pleasures of looking at the world around you through the eyes of a child, and taking delight in the detail.

  1. Mr Benn; Red Knight, by David McKee

This was one of my father’s favourite picture storybooks as a child, so he was keen to pass his yellowed, 1960’s copy on to me and my siblings. I was partly already enthralled by Mr Benn as there was a cartoon of him on television. I just remember at the time that the story was so exciting – Mr Benn could become ANYTHING! It really made me imagine if I could be in the same position as him, what would I choose, and what would it be like. The book helped me to think about the possibility of different lives and different ways of living, and also encompassed my love for history. I think the block-colour illustrations were unique and added to the story’s charm, which is probably why I have remembered it in particular.

  1. Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White

I know this book is a modern classic. I adored it. Interestingly, I didn’t care so much about the illustrations, it was just such a captivating story! I was so interested to read about Wilbur from a pig’s point of view! Like “Mr Benn”, it made me think about what other things might be thinking and feeling, even if we don’t know. A spider – previously a scary crawly thing – became a character in the form of Charlotte. I think I was pre-destined to love this book as I had always wanted to grow up on a farm anyway, and at that time we didn’t have a pet, so I immersed myself into books about animals instead!

  1. The Magic Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton

I remember that my little sister read this book first, and so naturally I was intrigued.I knew I had to read it because it was written by Enid Blyton. What I loved about this book are the visceral descriptions of all the magic things. I was also one of three siblings, so was able to put myself into the book as a character. I used to walk around the local woods on walks with my family and pretend that in every tree trunk, little animals had rooms and beds and store cupboards full of acorns. The book really was pivotal to me as I realised that you can truly create the world of your dreams in your head. I still wish I lived in the Enchanted Forest.

  1. Matilda, by Roald Dahl

I was 7 or 8 when I dove headfirst into Roald Dahl. “Matilda” was one of my absolute favourites, because I had a teacher who reminded me of Miss Honey, and had once seen a red-brick house in real life with roses growing up it that I thought must be the one she lived in. Miss Trunchbull reminded me in manner of a headmaster I particularly hated at school, so I felt extra vindicated that she got her just reward for being so nasty, and used to wish the same thing could happen to my headmaster! Above all, however, it is the massive chocolate cake that really enthralled me – I think every child knows that feeling of seeing something so incredibly delicious, so “not allowed,” that it taunts you. I used to want to have chocolate cake every time I read Matilda!

  1. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

I think you can tell I liked my chocolates, by the way this list is going! This book was the book of my food dreams. It gave me so many wildly exciting concepts such as a chocolate river, and chewing gum with the flavour of a full meal. I also used to add on more things in my mind that I would make up. I even used to take the book and draw out some of the concepts, like the boiled sweet boats, to see how I would translate that into illustrations, as the copy of the book I had just had a front cover illustration and none inside. I also naughtily used to think in my head who would be Augustus Gloop or Violet Beauregard out of the other children at primary school, whereas I was always Charlie, allowed to go into every sweetie room there was. Delicious!

  1. Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon

I found the “Horrid Henry” series laugh-out-loud funny as a child. I always identified with Henry, especially as my name began with an H, and liked discovering what naughty things he could do. I wished I did more naughty things but was quite shy as a child, so I think I lived vicariously through the books. I thought it was a really accurate depiction of family life that Henry had a brother called ‘Perfect Peter’, as doesn’t every sibling feel like the other one is better and gets more attention than them?! A brilliant series, and I’m glad I was too old when the cartoons came out as I loved the books too much and had my own voices for them. Tony Ross’s illustrations are so instantly recognisable as well.

  1. Horrible Histories: The Rotten Romans, by Terry Deary

I have always been fascinated by the gruesome details of ancient history, and to me, this series of books turned history into a lively story complete with farts, scabs and rats. I learnt details about the Romans that I have never forgotten, such as that they used to make themselves sick on purpose so that they could eat more food! The hilarious illustrations by Martin Brown made me laugh, and also lent me to experiment with a cartoon style that I developed on later in my teens.

  1. The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge

Finally, to possibly my most favourite childhood book. JK Rowling has been quoted as saying that this was her favourite book as a child too! It is so totally magical, and is dripping with delicious description, enabling the reader to create the world of “The Little White Horse” fully. I so desperately wanted to climb into the Medieval world Goudge created and live there. I loved the great sense of peace and love the story ultimately imparted and it left me feeling very soothed. A total escape, and a book I will return to always.




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