A Kids Book About Depression

Written by Kileah McIlvain
64 pages  •  Published 2019 (A Kids Book About)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Best for older kids–3rd or 4th grade through middle school.
Publisher's Summary: This is a book about depression. It doesn’t shy away from both the complexities of depression or what getting help might look like. It gives an honest perspective into what depression feels like, what life looks like with it, and the hope that comes with being known and being loved through it.
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: This book is great for an older child who has recently been diagnosed with a depressive disorder or who a parent or provider suspects may be holding onto heavy feelings without sharing them. It vividly puts words to the experience of depression without sugarcoating the pain, and it provides hope that sharing about this experience with a loved one and getting help will lead to a child “learning to see through the darkness.”
Would a child like it? A child who is craving real talk would love this book.
Evidence-Based Practices: Psychoeducation, Medication
Tone: Serious, authentic, emotionally rich
Story Quality: The author Kileah tells her story of having depression–how it felt, how she got help, and what help looked like for her. She doesn’t sugarcoat her experience of depression, and the language she uses is poetic yet still accessible (e.g., “Songs sounded like noise, and nothing felt kind, or beautiful, or safe”). There’s an authenticity to the way this story is told, and despite its matter-of-factness, there’s also a lot of beauty in it.
Illustrations: There aren’t any illustrations. The book uses changes in font style, size, color, and formatting to contribute to the meaning of the text.
Representation: There is very little information provided about Kileah or Kileah’s family beyond their diagnosis of depression. They mention talking with “the most important person in my life” but don’t provide further details about this person.
Psychological Practices: This book provides a wonderful description of how depression feels and would go a very long way in helping a child with depression realize that they aren’t alone in their experience. It also shares about how beneficial it was for the author to tell someone about their feelings and how this led to them getting help. The author shares a list of what helped: “Meeting with a doctor. Letting myself feel. Talking to others. Giving myself a break. Trying medicine. Doing things I loved again. Not having to be alone.” The book ends on a hopeful note with the author sharing how they can now “laugh without pretending,” “notice all of the color and music and smiles,” and “see through the darkness and the fog without letting it take over.”
Concerns: None

Watch a Read-Aloud: YouTube (not affiliated with Dr. Annie's Bookshelf)
Buy This Book: Amazon | Powell's Books