Caregiver with Bipolar Disorder

Having a caregiver with bipolar disorder can be a confusing and scary experience for a child. The books in this category reassure children that their parents’ challenges are not anyone’s fault and that the child will be taken care of by a loved one in the event of a parent’s hospitalization. All of this books available on this topic better address Bipolar I Disorder than Bipolar II.
Age range: 2nd grade through 5th grade.
Recommended for: Children with a parent or caregiver who is experiencing psychosis (i.e., hallucinations and/or delusions) or is otherwise behaving very unusually. Parent diagnoses of Bipolar I Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Delusional Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder with psychotic features are all appropriate. This book is best completed in small doses with a therapist or a caregiver who is not symptomatic.
Age range: Preschool through 1st grade.
Recommended for: Exclusively for young children with parents or caregivers with Bipolar I Disorder who have been hospitalized or will likely need to be hospitalized. This book isn’t perfect. The mother has “happy” days and “sad” days, which isn’t an accurate representation of manic or depressive episodes for most people, and it’s just not a particularly engaging story. But it does introduce the idea of a parent having up and down moods and needing to be hospitalized. Its primary message is that no matter what, the child is loved by their parent with bipolar disorder, and they will be taken care of even if their parent with bipolar disorder is not always able to take care of them.

Up and Down Mom

Written and illustrated by Summer Maçon
Age range: Preschool through 2nd grade.
Recommended for: Young children who have a parent with Bipolar I Disorder who need reassurance that they are not alone in their experience. The book is probably more reassuring to parents reading it than the children intended to be the audience, but it can be used to open conversations about how a child feels when a parent acts erratically, is unavailable, or is in the hospital, as well as conversations about emergency planning (e.g., who they can contact if they’re worried about their parent or themselves and who will take care of them if a parent is unable to). It’s not a great book, but there’s not much better out there.