Together Things: Book Review

When her father feels sad, a little girl finds ways to keep the bonds of love alive.

Title: Together Things
Author: Michelle Vasiliu
Illustrator: Gwynneth Jones
ISBN: 9781925820294          Language: English

PublisherEK Books

Classification: Fiction
Type: Picture book
Themes: mental health, relationships, change, depression

What's it about?
Her mother says you can’t see her daddy’s hurt because it’s inside his head …
One in five adults experiences depression in their lifetime, but young children are often left in the dark when their mother or father suddenly can’t play like they used to.
Together Things helps young children to understand that, while it is okay for them to feel mad or sad about this, sometimes they must do different things together while their parent focuses on their mental health and getting better.
It's great seeing a father-daughter relationship explored. Mental health is the key theme in this book and is sensitively approached. 

Naming depression might have made it stronger as would medication not being implied as a "magic cure" of sorts.

My Thoughts
This is a new release by EKBooks in February 2020.

As mentioned above mental health is a key theme in this book and I truly appreciate that it looks at it from the parent having depression and how that alters the relationship with the kid. Most of my readers would be unaware that three years ago I was diagnosed with severe depression and severe anxiety. As a single parent with two very young children at the time, it was an extremely emotional time for me. While my children start school tomorrow and a routine can be established, I still struggle with my own mental health. There is a huge stigma still attached to parents who suffer from depression. Many people just don't understand how much it can impact a person's life as we are constantly told to look after ourselves - but of course, as a parent, you continue to put your children first with what they need.

I feel that Michelle approached the topic really well.

With that disclosure, I feel that Michelle approached the topic really well. I might have preferred the depression actually being called out and named, it helps to be able to say that the condition has a name. The other mentioned is medication - not all sufferers can take medication (myself being one as so far all have been ineffective) so a mention of other activities might have been useful - such as plans to do something at a future point to celebrate being "better" so to speak.

Still, I love the way it showed how the daughter adjusted to the new ways that her dad could play with her versus the old. It showed that the dad had gone from being more outgoing and outdoors, to preferring to stay inside.

The illustrations are by Gwynneth, whose name is probably familiar with you all by now as I've featured a number of books with her artistic talent. This one has a lively but warm semi-realistic style that complements the text and helps readers to really connect that this is something real and not a fantasy.

I highly recommend this one for school counsellors, therapists, social workers, hospital/GP clinics. The more this topic is portrayed and talked about the easier it is for parents to open up about it to get help 

Special thanks to EK Books for the ARC.

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