Author: Deborah Malcolm
Illustrator: Deborah Malcolm
Publisher/Year: ThunderStone Books/2015
Back Cover Blurb: Sadness is an emotion that everyone feels at some time or another. But sometimes you might feel a sadness so long and so deep and dark that it seems impossible to find happiness. That kind of sadness is called depression.
One day, an ordinary boy went outside to play. The boy loved to imagine, to draw, to run, and to read. But on this particular day, something crept slowly up behind him. It was gray and gloomy, and it grew bigger until it enveloped him. Then he fell down into a deep, dark hole, so deep and so dark that he couldn’t find his way out. He felt alone. He felt hopeless. But what’s that? Is it a glimmer of hope?
Most people think of depression as something that just affects adults. But kids can experience it to. They learn to hide it, just like adults do, not wanting anyone to know how they feel, not believing that anyone can help them. Just like the boy in the story, they feel alone and hopeless. Could it also be that kids don’t have the words to express how they’re feeling? Adults should pay special attention to kids who are having trouble concentrating, or are keeping to themselves, or are otherwise acting differently than they normally do. These kids may be experiencing depression.
Meh is completely wordless. The illustrations do a fantastic job taking us, the readers, along on the journey with the boy. When the “gloom” arrives, we can feel the mood change. We share the boy’s emotions as he moves through the black and gray pages of depression. We experience hope when we see a glowing light. We rejoice with the boy when we emerge from the hole into the sunrise of a brand new day.
I’m no expert on how to help kids who are suffering from depression, or how to help other kids to understand depression. But author/illustrator Deborah Malcolm’s book Meh is a good place to start.