Mental Illness Awareness Week: Chapter Books

White Plains is a wonderfully diverse community! Parents, children and teens have expressed an interest in titles that reflect the diversity in the community, and Ashley, Kathlyn, and Raquel's “Dive Into Diversity” column will spotlight noteworthy children's and teen titles that are inclusive, diverse and multicultural to fulfill that interest. Ashley's portion is aimed at readers in grades 4-6.

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
For children in grades 3-7.
OverDrive: Audio & eBook
Just a few months ago, seventh grader Natalie Napoli’s mother was Mom. Lately though, she’s been Not-Mom. Her mother used to be so bubbly and excited while she talked about her work as a botanist as well as helped Natalie with science experiments. But since she lost her job, she spends all her time in bed. At school, Natalie’s science teacher, Mr. Neely, is having all the students work on a project in which they ask a question and use the scientific method to devise an answer. But Natalie can’t ask the question she really wants to – what’s going on with her mother and how she can help. After Mr. Neely suggests that she work on competing in a local egg drop as her project, Natalie focuses on it in order to win the prize money. Her mother always used to be happy working with a rare plant called the Cobalt Blue Orchid. Natalie believes that she would come alive again if she used the prize money to bring her mother to see the flowers blooming in New Mexico. As Natalie works to help her mother, she learns that things may not be perfect but they are real as well as that her loved ones care about and would do anything for her.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos
For children in grades 4-7.
OverDrive: Audio & eBook
“Authentic-sounding first-person narration by a hyperactive boy gives readers an inside view of attention-deficit disorders. Joey Pigza is a ‘wired-up mess,' and he is struggling to get on the right track. But no matter how hard Joey tries to be good, he usually ends up in trouble, sometimes harming himself or others. After an accident in which the tip of a classmate's nose is sliced off, Joey is suspended from school and sent to a special education center. As case worker ‘Special Ed' predicts, things do get worse before they get better. Joey's fear that ‘something [is] wrong inside me' escalates before his medications are readjusted and he is finally able to learn how to make ‘good decisions.'” –Publishers Weekly
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff
For children in grades 3-7.
Hoopla: eBook
“Four months ago Annie Richards’s 11-year-old brother Jared died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. Since then, she and her parents have been nearly paralyzed with a grief that none of them can acknowledge. Her mother frantically cleans but won’t speak of Jared, her father is sweetly distant and ten-year-old Annie tries desperately to protect herself from every conceivable form of disease or accident. The loving adults who surround Annie are aware of her fears but bumble in their attempts to comfort her, until a new neighbor, grieving over her husband’s recent death, finds just the right words and caring interventions to ease Annie, and ultimately others around her, into taking down the metaphorical umbrellas they raised to shield themselves from pain.” –Kirkus Reviews
Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz
For children in grades 4-7.
OverDrive: eBook
“First-time author Swartz creates a clear, moving portrayal of obsessive-compulsive disorder through the authentic voice of middle schooler Molly Nathans. Molly has always been a neat freak, but after her mother is forced to spend a year in Toronto for work, keeping things orderly becomes Molly’s primary concern. Her colored pencils need to be arranged in rainbow order, her glass figurines need to be perfectly aligned, and numbers always need to be even or, she believes, something terrible will happen. When Molly’s anxieties (fueled by her sister’s declaration that their mother won’t come back) collide with concerns about her younger brother’s health and an upcoming poetry slam contest, her obsessions spin out of control.” –Publishers Weekly
Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin
For children in grades 4-6.
Hoopla: Audio & eBook
OverDrive: eBook
“When 12-year-old Della finds her mom digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night, she worries that the schizophrenia that put her mom in the hospital several years ago is back. Along with the stress of her mother's illness, her dad is struggling to save the family farm as scorching hot temperatures and a drought threaten the crops. Della asks the local Bee Lady for magic honey, which has been known to repair the wounds of residents in their North Carolina town for generations. She also helps take care of her 16-month-old baby sister so that her mom will have more time to rest. But as her mom's symptoms worsen, Della begins to see that rather than trying to fix her mama, she must find a way to love and accept her.” –School Library Journal
Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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