In the Cold Night

Actress Imelda Staunton who you may know from films like Harry Potter, Vera Drake and Netflix series The Crown; illustrator Karen George and children’s author and ShelterBox staff member Sarah Tagholm have joined forces to create a short animated film.

The film is based on the real-life experiences of the families ShelterBox supported in Syria and Türkiye after the devastating earthquakes earlier this year, and raises awareness of the threat that winter poses to people fleeing conflict and disaster.



(A mock-up version of the book was made for the film, but the story is not currently available to buy)

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In the Cold Night Illustrations

Click through Karen George’s wonderful illustrations for ‘In the Cold Night’ below

Discover more of Karen George’s work at


I’ve been a supporter of ShelterBox for years – their responses to disasters providing families with emergency shelter and other essential items is simple but tangible. Like solar lights for dark nights, water filters for drinkable water, thermal blankets to stay warm, and shelter so people can protect their families from the cold, wind, and rain. 

Imelda Staunton
Image of Imelda Staunton sitting on a sofa holding a book titled 'In the Cold Night'
Imelda Staunton during the filming of 'In the Cold Night'
Photo of illustrator Karen George

Whilst researching for the illustrations for this ShelterBox project, it has at times been heart-rending to read about, and respond to, the devastating stories of peoples lives suddenly torn apart by earthquakes, losing loved ones and their homes… But amidst the desolation, these stories also have a sense of hope, brought about by the passion and determination of the ShelterBox workers and volunteers.

As an illustrator, I feel very fortunate to have been able to contribute in a small way to the ShelterBox story, as they continue to help rebuild the lives of families and communities across an ever challenging world.

Karen George


Being surrounded by the voices of the people ShelterBox supports helped give me an idea of how living through an earthquake might feel to a child. Writing in first person is always my preference and after chatting to ShelterBox staff who had met families affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria and reading the transcripts of the interviews, I developed a voice, and the plot came easily. I even managed to sneak in a cat!

Sarah Tagholm


Photo of lady with long hair smiling in front of the sea
Children's author and ShelterBox team member Sarah Tagholm

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