Small Things by Mel Tregonning. Pajama Press, 2018. ISBN 9781772780420
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? A child feels he is crumbling from anxiety in this affecting graphic novel about depression and loneliness. Spreads with dozens or only one panel show, without words, the many ways that depression can affect a child’s life: their friendships, family and school work can suffer. It is clear in this book that the boy’s family loves him, but he has cut himself off from help. Little monsters float off his body and part of him crumbles from anxiety, in the black and white illustrations which show his day to day existence. When he finally accepts help from his sister, not only does he feel better, but he also realizes that everyone has vulnerabilities. At the end, this child who has been in torment now reaches out to another child with his newfound empathy. Sadly, the author died by suicide. The work was finished by Shaun Tan.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I like that the book has a note at the end about childhood depression. I would have liked to see resources, besides the publisher’s website, which kids could use if they need to.
To whom would you recommend this book? I would like to see this in graphic novel collections so that kids can pick it up and become aware of how to seek help. Parent collections may also consider purchase. The target age is 9-12.
Who should buy this book Elementary, middle school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Graphic novels, and maybe parent collections
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: November 10, 2018