In the Blue

Little, Brown. May 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316497626.
PreS-Gr 4–A small girl narrates against a rainbow background the joy of time spent with her father. Then the pages turn blue, as his posture and facial expressions become sad, and almost unreadable. Very little is explained, but the meaning is clear; her father cannot help the blue place he is in, and she has to wait for him to figure it out. She reacts with rage and frustration, while her mother quietly supports them both. There is a place her father goes for help, and the hint of a pharmacy, and slowly the pages grow brighter again, as her father becomes once more the man she knows. Like the seaside where the book opens, this book begins like the gentle lapping of waves and crescendos, emotionally, with the weight of the father’s illness. Readers will feel the crush, and then the relief, as the family (who are all white) works together to go with the flow, without being overtaken by it. Back matter includes print and online resources and an author’s note about her father’s clinical depression.
VERDICT An essential glimpse of the impact of one person’s mental health issues on the entire family, and a lovingly crafted path to a realistic resolution—not a cure, but managing.

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