A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Through the story and author's note, readers learn about big emotions through metaphors. For example, "bright and yellow" feelings represent joy and happiness, while "deep, dark blue" feelings symbolizes sadness and depression. Red demonstrates frustration or anger. Similes such as " songs as bright as the sunrise" are also featured.
The effects of mental illness on adults and their children is a central theme. Resources for children and families coping with mental illness are included in the back of the book.
When you have big emotions that scare you, you can get help. Your bright feelings can come back after the darkness. When you're with the people you love, you can do anything!
Positive Role Models
The father is a positive role model for choosing to seek treatment for his mental illness, showing readers that this is an important action. His wife and daughter are models of love and support for him.
The story highlights a young girl in a her two-parent family. Her father's mental illness demonstrates a diverse experience and perspective. Resilience and family love are central themes.
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Violence & Scariness
The story uses dark colors and imagery to illustrate sadness and depression, which could possibly frighten some young children.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that In the Blue is a special book that explores the sensitive subject of depression in a family, by using color. A young girl must navigate life in a different way when her father starts battling depression, which she sees as a big, dark emotion. The story of the daughter's emotional journey and the effect of the dad's mental health issues on the family is told in a developmentally appropriate way that young readers will understand. Themes of the story include big feelings, mental illness, and family love.
Is It Any Good?
This powerful, eye-opening picture book is an emotional and realistic view of life with a parent who struggles with mental illness, seen from the child's perspective. Author Erin Hourigan's experience with her father inspired the story.
In the Blue shows that adults don't have to shy away from discussing scary and overwhelming topics with young children. They can do so in an age-appropriate way.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books That Feature Characters Living with Mental Illness
Books About Families
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