by Melissa Gole
Xlibris AU

"He felt scared, alone, and like he had no hope."

Blue is a police dog who takes pride in his job. He wants to save lives and uphold the law, but he is going through a “ruff” period. As the pressure of being a police dog gets to him, Blue’s behavior starts to change, and he feels many negative emotions. With the help of his friends and professionals, however, Blue learns how to take care of himself and continue being strong.

With colorful illustrations and simple prose, this children’s book tackles mental illness in an easy-to-understand format. It illustrates how mental illness, such as depression, can change a person’s character or behavior, but it does not stigmatize those who have a mental illness. By showing how mental illness can be the result of an internal environment (Blue’s nightmares) or an external environment (the way Blue is treated by mean dogs), the book teaches kids that mental illness can come in different forms and be the result of different circumstances. Not only does the author succeed at communicating how these causes or factors can make a person feel, but she imparts the wisdom that it’s okay to have these feelings, and not to be ashamed of them.

Using a police dog as the protagonist for this story can bring awareness to the issue of police mental health and, on an even wider scale, teach older children about the connection between mental health and a positive or negative work environment. Children and adults alike can appreciate this book’s straightforward story, emotive illustrations, and the messages of strength and support.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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