Sadly the Owl teaches kids about depression

sadly the owl - paper trail diary

Recently my new pal Ashley – of The Anthropology of Giving – sent me a lovely children’s book called Sadly the Owl: An Untold Tale by Linnie Von Sky with illustrations by Ashley O’Mara. Since mental health is something I really like to discuss, this was such a lovely thing to receive. Mental health can be hard to explain to kids – in book form, it’s probably either framed as why their parents seem sad, how to deal with bullying, or more as a guidebook. We don’t want to scare them but we don’t want to hide things from them either.

Sadly the Owl does a pretty good job at explaining what it feels like to have depression. Sadly likes line dancing in his shiny red boots and playing with his friends, but one day he wakes up with a cloud over his head.

sadly the owl - paper trail diary sadly the owl - paper trail diary

The story includes a therapist owl, which I thought was pretty cool, as it’s common for kids to grow up thinking getting therapy (and support from your parents) is weak or embarrassing. If therapists can give out magic potions, why would anyone think that!? So this shows that it’s okay to get help from your mom and a doctor. Depression is ultimately something only you can overcome, but that doesn’t mean it’s a solo road to recovery.

sadly the owl - paper trail diary

The book shows that there’s a process to feeling better – that it doesn’t just happen overnight in one full swoop.
sadly the owl - paper trail diary

I love the illustrations! So cute.

sadly the owl - paper trail diary

After showing Sadly go through his week of notes of little things he could do to feel better, we see a happy ending for the lil guy.

sadly the owl - paper trail diary

I’m curious if this would imply to kids that you can feel better in a week, but I think that explanation would have to come from a discussion with parents after reading it. Overall, this book is a heartwarming story that can show kids they’re stronger than they think and that there could be a reason why they feel so sad. It’s a good notch in the path to de-stigmatizing mental health!

You can purchase Sadly the Owl on Linnie’s website. It’s 100% Canadian!

Do you have any other kids books about mental health to recommend? How do you think we can continue the discussion?

This entry was posted in Books.