A sensitive and supportive story to help young children recognize and cope with sadness.
“Now when I get sad, I still cry sometimes. I still hide sometimes. But only for a little while. Because now I know ways to feel better.” Sadness can be an overwhelming emotion, especially for young children. But it’s important to know when sadness can be overcome, and when it’s indicative of a greater problem.
Sometimes When I’m Sad is an invaluable self-help resource that helps children identify sadness or depression and offers helpful ways to manage it, such as:
The word depression is never used in the gentle, child-focused text, but this simple story offers an entrance point for both adults and children to identify and address childhood depression symptoms early.
This timely resource is a wonderfully gentle way to take steps toward banishing the stigma around mental illness. A special section at the back of the book provides support for adults, from an explanation of the difference between sadness and depression to helpful tools to manage the illness. Especially useful for counselors, social workers, teachers, parents, and any other adults caring for children who struggle with dark feelings.
This is a great resource for opening up a discussion with children struggling with feelings of sadness. As you read it, ask them which activities would help them feel happy again.
A child could also benefit from hearing you discuss times when you feel sad and what you do to start to feel better again.
The book’s focus on sadness can be a great prompt for important discussions with children about coping with strong feelings of sadness, while the simplicity of the illustrations and text leaves lots of room for the discussion to take place.
Deborah Serani, Psy.D., is an award-winning author and psychologist in practice for thirty years. She is also a professor at Adelphi University, and her writing on the subjects of depression and trauma has been published in academic journals. Dr. Serani is a go-to expert for psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in Newsday, PsychologyToday, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio programs at CBS and NPR, among others. She is also a TEDx speaker and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She lives in New York City.
Kyra Teis is a children’s book author-illustrator, a graphic novelist, and an avid sewer of costumes and clothing. She works in a cozy studio in central New York, which is crammed full of books and fabrics from all over the world. When she’s not making art, you can find her and her husband cheering wildly at their two daughters’ soccer games and musical theater productions.