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THE WAVE by Tyler Charlton


by Tyler Charlton ; illustrated by Tyler Charlton

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2023
ISBN: 9781250842039
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

A boy caught in a dark wave learns how to stay afloat.

Whenever the wave unexpectedly carries him away, the tan-skinned child wishes he could run away, but he can’t fight it or outrun it—“All I can do is take care of myself until it passes.” Though he feels frustrated, he tells readers that as time passes, he calms down once more. The inky black wave is a straightforward metaphor for depression; kids coping with similar feelings will find this a poignant and validating work of bibliotherapy. Charlton’s advice is simple, sound, and heartfelt but never didactic. He notes that those swept up in the wave should guard their hearts, using the term to mean not letting one’s heart harden or hurt others. The author never implies that this or other tips included here are a fix for depression, merely that they will help readers cope. The illustrations are shadowy and evocative, effectively expressing the protagonist’s helplessness and despair. This would be a helpful, reassuring read for children in the same situation as the boy as well as a discussion starter for friends, siblings, and even adults in the child’s life who may not completely understand. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Helpful insights for children dealing with depression and those who care about them.

(author’s note, resources) (Picture book. 4-8)