Lara Williamson has a gift for exploring children’s mental health particularly in the context of family breakdown and especially the feelings children have around missing dads. I loved The Girl with Space in her Heart last year and this collaboration with Colour Fiction range is just beautiful, especially brought to life through the exquisite illustrations by Becky Cameron.
Midge is struggling. His parents have split up and he has moved with his mother he is now in a new home, new school, new classroom and all he wants is his family to get back together and for everything to go back to how it was.
Life is grey and sad and miserable for him.
Mo is Midge’s school buddy and she tries her little heart out to make him feel welcome, everything and anything to make him smile. But nothing works, and in the end Mo starts to feel bad too.
But her parents remind her of how Mo once felt very sad once too and how she rode and overcame that storm, and she has an idea to help Midge on his journey through sadness too.
This is such a wonderful exploration of mental health in children but especially because of its validation of sadness. Whilst encouraged to join in and feel welcome and valid at school no one ever berates Midge for being sad, not even Mo when she is trying SO hard to find ways to include him. When Mr Lupin sees he has drawn a sad picture of raindrops he vocalises the value of rain instead of criticising.
This is so wonderful to see no one tell him to cheer up, or get over it, suck it up, man up, put on a brave face or worse ‘you’re too young to be miserable’ or even worse ‘how will your mum feel seeing you this sad’ or similar things that negate Midge’s feelings or indeed the feelings of sadness.
Everyone gives Midge the room to feel but also they give him the knowledge that that feeling can change, not will or must or should, but can. Such a powerful message through the metaphor of sunshine after rain.
The use of moody greyscale around Midge and smudgy rainbow brights around Mo is a beautiful visual clue to their mental health in the beautiful illustrations by Becky Cameron and reminds me of a favourite quote ‘No rain, no rainbows’ which equally refers to the value of sadness for joy to be truly appreciated.
Overall this a wonderful hopeful book ideal for empathy collections or indeed feelings or time-out area baskets to help children explore complex feelings in a meaningful yet accessible way.
Midge and Mo by Lara Williamson & Becky Cameron is part of the Colour Fiction Range by Stripes published by Little Tiger Press
Thank you so much for our copy 💜