Title: What’s Up With James? Medikidz explain Depression
Authors: Dr Kim Chilman-Blair & Shawn DeLoache
Publisher: New leaf media
Reviewer: James King
What was it like?
This is an interesting approach to giving information to children suffering from depression. I was intrigued enough to want to find out if the old adage about not judging a book by its cover was applicable to this (it’s pretty garish). Thankfully, I think they have achieved what they set out to well; to give clear, age appropriate information about a serious mental illness. It’s essentially a comic book that uses a group of superhero’s “Medikidz” to represent the different areas of the body that are involved in an illness. No doubt most kids with be attracted to “Gastro” who talks about a “butt that poo’s”!, but this doesn’t detract from a serious message, which by its own admission avoids sugar coating.
I think this is well pitched for its audience, though I hope the more detailed information (the science) doesn’t get to lost amongst the chaotic imagery.
What were the highlights?
I thought the highlight of the book is that it holds much hope for those that are suffering with depression. It is clear that there is plenty of effective support available and that that by using this help, life can move on from this potentially debilitating illness.
Strengths & weaknesses:
The book’s main strength is in its age appropriate message. If there is a weakness, then I would suggest there is sometimes a bit much going on in the illustration. However, I am mindful that this is aimed at children, so this is most likely not such an issue for them.
Who should read it?
Obviously children that are suffering with symptoms of depression. They don’t suggest an age range, but I would suspect mid-to-late teens would find it patronising (thats not to say they wouldn’t learn something from the book). A good resource for health care professionals working with children and adolescents with depression, particularly in primary care.