Happy World Mental Health Day

“Some days I woke up and got out of bed and brushed my teeth like any normal human being; some days I woke up and lay in bed and looked at the ceiling and wondered what the hell the point was of getting out of bed and brushing my teeth like any normal human being.” ― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Today we take one day out of the year to recognise mental health issues. If only the general populace could recognise them on the other 364 days. Mental health issues commonly begin during the teenage years and often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

For me, the above quote from Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story aptly describes the ups and downs of depression. Ned Vizzini struggled with the illness for years before taking his own life in 2013.

The Young Minds website has a great list of YA books that raise some light on various mental health issues. They can be found here. These books may be able to help young people struggling with mental illness or, at least, help them become aware of the issues that are out there, so our next generation can be more enlightened and more able to help or cope with illness.

Illustration by Jim Kay from A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

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The Big One Hundred Challenge

I’ve always considered myself a pretty good authority when it comes to children’s literature, however I’ve recently noticed a few gaps in my knowledge, gaps that involve some fairly significant books. I thought I could just start picking out a few popular titles from the shelf, but that seems like a perfect recipe for chaos. I like a system; a well formed, well thought out list. Continue reading

To the dogs…

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Scale”

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“I rub the ears of my dog, my stupid goddam ruddy great dog that I never wanted but who hung around anyway and who followed me thru the swamp and who bit Aaron when he was trying to choke me and who found Viola when she was lost and who’s licking my hand with his little pink tongue and whose eye is still mostly squinted shut from where Mr. Prentiss Jr. kicked him and whose tail is way way shorter from where Matthew Lyle cut it off when my dog – my dog – went after a man with a machete to save me and who’s right there when I need pulling back from the darkness I fall into and who tells me who I am whenever I forget.”

Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Let’s get talking…

A few weeks ago I came upon the post Ten texts to get kids talking on the Nerdy Book Club blog and I found myself in quite unfamiliar territory. This is an excellent blog topic but many of the books aren’t well known or even available in the UK, so I thought ‘what are our alternatives?’.

Looking at different themes such as inclusion, death, family, climate change, mental health, identity, gender, etc. these books provide great stories and tools to spark thoughtful discussion both in the classroom or at home.

Please feel free to contribute to this list in the comments below.

Picture Books

THE PROMISE by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

Discussion topics: Climate change, ecology, conservation

Continue reading