Talking about depression is a hard topic in today’s society, even though it shouldn’t be. Talking about it to children may seem an even more daunting task. Author Amy Wilinski-Lyman is taking on that challenge with her raven with a Ph.D., Lucky G! It’s Lucky G to the rescue as they go to Australia to assist a quokka that’s got a case of depression. And yes, that is a real animal.
Lucky G, Ph.D. uses play therapy to assist a depressed quokka deal with their ongoing depression. As their coping skills increase, they also use regular tactics in the regards of taking care of one’s self, such as eating healthy, sleeping well, drinking water, and a medication regimen to assist with the plan of care in order to lessen symptoms.
In addition, the illustrations, done by Leela Green, are very well done and kid-friendly. There are lots of colors which will catch the eyes of young readers or listeners as they ask designated readers to tell them Lucky G’s Australian adventure. Lucky G is no typical bird; his feathers are eye catching and he wears sneakers, which is not what your typical bird with a Ph.D. would wear I would imagine. There is great attention to detail in every page.
A thing adults might appreciate from this book are the resources Wilinski-Lyman puts in the pages. She gives great phone numbers and websites to sources like the Suicide Hotline and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). She also gives tips to what to do if your child or a child you know is in crisis. There are also great discussion pointers for parents and caregivers to navigate discussions with their children with sources.
I have a copy of her first book, Lucky G and the Sunbeam Girl, which described parental depression and having understanding and empathy as a child towards her mother. I quite enjoyed Sunbeam Girl, and Amy Wilinski-Lyman and Leela Green both stepped up their game for Lucky G and the Melancholy Quokka. I quite appreciated that we got a good look at the therapy, coping skills, and self care aspects of depression. The language Wilinski-Lyman uses to describe these aspects to young children works in a way that normalizes talking about depression and I think mental illness in general. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and anyone that works with small children should be lining up to get this book. If we start introducing kids that mental illness isn’t some huge stigma with books like Sunbeam Girl and Melancholy Quokka, we could raise a generation that is much more tolerant and compassionate to each others and ourselves.
~ Sam Carne, NAMI Lansing member and mental health survivor