Cover Image: Dark Cloud

Dark Cloud

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Member Reviews

This book was stunning. Art and message. I loved this book and can not wait to get a physical copy. Love, Love, Love!!!!!!!
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This book is about childhood depression. Our main character has a dark cloud that is with them most of the time, and that is OK. What is important, is that those around them know it exists and it’s part of who they are. This book doesn’t sugarcoat or try to turn that dark cloud into anything else but realizes that there are good days and bad days. Depression does happen in kids, and it needs to be acknowledged.
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This is a great book with lots of information about sadness and depression. I appreciated this well thought out story and hard topic as it's not one normally seen in children's books. We definitely need to be talking about mental health at a much younger age than previous generations! I thought this book was wonderful and I wish I had had a similar book when I was younger as well.
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I wanted to live this book. I think it is so important to talk about mental health, especially to younger kids. I think it would’ve been better if it rhymed. The first three sentences seem to flow and then the fourth sentence kind of felt like the odd man out. I love the illustrations and the concept of the book though!  Good storyline as well!
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A good look at sadness and depression, this is an important addition to elementary collections. Thanks do the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this title.
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Oh how this book has resonated with me [as I sat ugly crying at 5:30am when I was reading it]. I am a Wednesday child, full of "woe" from almost birth and have struggled with this my whole life. I was 5ish when I realized I had "a cloud" [though I had no words to describe what I was feeling, everyone else quickly labeled me as "sensitive and moody", two monikers that have stuck for years] and about 7 when I first thought about dying and how it would better over-all if I wasn't around [such huge feelings for such a young child to have]. I would have LOVED to have had a book like this that would have 1. made me realize that what I was dealing with was okay [in the sense that a lot of people struggle, even as kids] and 2. it would have helped me tell an adult exactly what I was thinking and feeling and that I needed help [alas, I have never been able to get help and still struggle daily]. It would have been glorious and I am so glad that something that is so profound has been written for littles - I truly believe this book will make a difference in lives. 

This is a very timely and MUCH NEEDED book. Every parent, care-giver, auntie, uncle, grandparent, teacher needs to be reading this book, both for themselves and then to the littles that they have in their lives. This will start important conversations that will help save lives and help littles see that Dark Clouds are okay, getting help is even more okay and that it often clears and you can have glorious, colorful days [I can attest to this]. I highly recommend this and will myself read it again, especially on dark days where it seems there is no color around. VERY well done!!

Thank you to NetGalley, Anna Lazowski, Penny Neville-Lee: Illustrator, and Kids Can Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Oh how I wish this book was around 35 years ago when I felt alone.

Great way to communicate with simple language a feeling that is heaving and very hard. 

This book is a great tool to help explain a feeling
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Dark Cloud by Anna Lazowski and Penny Neville-Lee is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that explores the topic of depression in a sensitive and thoughtful way. The story follows Abigail, a little girl who has a dark cloud that follows her everywhere, getting in the way of things and making her feel distant from other children.

The use of symbolic imagery in the text and illustrations perfectly captures the way depression can look and feel. The repetition in the text and the visual narrative is engaging and pulls young readers into the story, making it an excellent read-aloud pick to spark discussions about feelings.

The gradual addition of lightness and color to the illustrations as Abigail learns to cope with her dark cloud is a powerful visual representation of the journey toward relief from depression. The book is reviewed by a child psychologist and is an excellent choice for teaching social-emotional learning, critical thinking, and character education lessons on perseverance and resilience.

Overall, Dark Cloud is a compassionate and caring story that provides young children with a way to understand and talk about their own feelings. It is a must-read for parents, educators, and caregivers who want to help children build emotional resilience and cope with difficult emotions.

I would love a physical copy.
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The picture book Dark Cloud by Anna Lazowski and illustrated by Penny Neville-Lee (Kids Can Press, May 2023) introduces children to the concept of dark emotions (sadness and depression) with the symbol of a dark cloud. With tinted grayscale illustrations representing sad moments and bright colors showing moments of happiness and understanding, Dark Cloud provides a unique format for parents and children to discuss these hard-to-deal-with feelings.

This analogy of the cloud is a common metaphor for the challenges of depression. Although in the first pages of the book Abigail doesn’t seem to have any respite from the dark cloud (represented by a scribble above her head as well as the muted grayscale), as her father begins to see her issues and as Abigail learns to deal with the dark cloud, we see splashes of color begin to appear.

The yellow in the polka-dot hair bow that her father puts in her hair. A bit of blue in a picture book, as she sits in the library (the ever-present cloud above her). The bright green ice cream on her cone as we see her walk away from her cloud “trapped” in the sand castle. And, finally, a rainbow garden of colors as she and her family visit a garden.

This book seems like a great option for early discussions around these very real sometimes inexplicable feelings. 

(Complete review at my blog, Rebecca Reads)
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In a Nutshell: A lovely picture book highlighting to little ones how they can cope with the ‘dark cloud’ of depression.

Abigail, our lead character, has a dark cloud that follows her everywhere. It changes form at times, turning into a fog or a shadow, but it never leaves her alone. One day, Abigail understands that while she cannot get rid of the cloud, there are certain things she can do to reduce its influence on her life. This way, she can step away from its darkness and experience the bright sunshine. 

Through the lovely metaphor of a dark cloud, the book highlights how depression can make everything in our life seem gloomy and dull. However, if we learn to accept that we have the cloud over our head, we can be better prepared to face it and even overpower it. Children can thus understand that having a cloud over their happy emotions isn’t something to be ignored but to be acknowledged, discussed, and sorted out. 
Abigail’s dad has an important role to play in the plot, and I am glad at how this highlights the importance of seeking help. Kids find talking about emotions difficult, but it is so helpful to have a supportive listening ear when you need one. Of course, the support may not always come from within families. The author’s parting note highlights some simple beginners steps towards discussion of emotional issues, and also provides helpline numbers for USA, UK & Canada.
Another thing I loved was how the dark cloud doesn’t disappear from Abigail’s life as the story goes on. It is just that she understands better how to deal with it.. This is so important for children to understand about mental health issues – there is no magic solution that will pop away your troubles. It is a slow and constant process, and the results take time, but if you invest the efforts, there is a rainbow at the end of the dark cloud.
That said, the book would serve more as a discussion starter than as a remedy. The topic of depression is too deep for little minds, and I hope this book will be utilised not just by children but also by parents/teachers/guardians to encourage little ones to understand mental health and seek/provide help if needed.
One part that isn’t mentioned in the text but covered nicely by the illustrations is how Abigail’s dark cloud persisted even in the presence of her friends. So the solution usually provided by caregivers when kids feel gloomy – ‘Go play with your friends!’ – isn’t a magical remedy, and the book thus highlights how it is possible to be depressed even when you are amid company.
The content is written in simple prose, with about 4 lines per page, thereby not overwhelming little ones. 
The illustrations match the pulse of the book every step of the way. Abigail’s resigned expression under the dark cloud is matched by B&W illustrations, and when she accepts her mental issues and steps into the ‘sunshine’, the colours become multihued and vivid. 
Definitely recommended as this book shows how to embrace your depression rather than ignoring it or being overburdened by it.

4.25 stars.

My thanks to Kids Can Press and NetGalley for the DRC of “Dark Cloud”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
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I won't lie, I definitely cried a little reading this book. If I would have had this book as a child, I would have read it ALL THE TIME. This really helps put words to feelings that children may not be able to describe. I will definitely be buying this book to add to my bookshelf.
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Anna Lazowski has written an essential book for young children. Dark Cloud is about a young girl who feels a dark cloud, a swirl of fog, a long shadow following her. It tangles her thoughts and takes away her appetite. She discovers that others, including her father, occasionally feel this way. As she works to escape the cloud, she realizes it doesn't have to be there all the time. Sometimes there are beautiful sunny days. Penny Neville-Lee's extraordinary illustrations make the book successful. The dark cloud is a character in its own right. The images are black-and-white or have extremely subdued colors at the book's beginning. As Abigail learns more about the cloud and that she is not its only victim, the vibrancy of the pictures gradually increases until there is a glorious blooming of bright colors at the end of the book. It should be noted, however, that the dark cloud is present even in the colorful illustrations. Depression is always lurking, even when there are happy, sunny days. 
This book is an outstanding and significant tool for parents, teachers, therapists, and other personnel to teach young children about mental health. Emotions are so challenging to talk about, often even with loved ones. Reading a book like this with a child could be the opening needed to discuss feelings that can harm their emotional health or to help young ones understand what a parent, sibling, or friend might be experiencing. 
The Author's Note informs children what to do if they or a loved one is dealing with overwhelming emotions and gives examples of people they could tell about the situation. It also describes possible treatments for depression. 
Thank you so much to Anna Lazowski and Penny Neville-Lee for a much-needed addition to children's literature. 
Thank you to NetGalley and KidsCan Press for the ARC of this crucial book.
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This is a great book of feelings and how they make people feel for kids. The dark illustrations at the beginning during the sad times and then when they get better/happy again, the color slowly appears. I think this is a book good for reflecting and inferring as well as understanding how othe people may feel.
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How do YOU talk to young children about their feelings & emotions? more specifically how do you discuss difficult emotions like sadness and depression? Dark Cloud is a colorful and easier way to start a conversation with your young reader about difficult emotions.

With simple and easy to understand illustrations this children's book is a great way for parents, grandparents, teachers and counselors to start a dialog with young readers about emotions they may not be familiar with. A great way to start conversations so that kids can better understand their own emotions and others around them.

Talking about difficult emotions can be tough in general- having a resource like Dark Cloud to help get the conversation started is priceless! Discussing mental health with our kids is even more important these days and books like this make it easier.

Grateful to have received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley & Kids Can Press
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This children's book tells the story of a girl named Abigail who is suffering from depression. Throughout the story, dark clouds or shadows symbolize the depression that follows Abigail everywhere. The illustrations are dark, in the grey scale for most of the book, until the ending when there are flowers as she is able to break through. I really like that this book normalizes and explains depression in a way that young children can understand.I like that it shows that you can get through it, but that it can also feel never-ending at times. I kind of wish there had been more discussion about how the child could get help. Unfortunately, depression and other mental illnesses are becoming more common in younger children, and so books like this are so important. In adult books about depression, there would be advice like speak to your doctor, here's a number for a therapist etc. and while there is a message from the author at the end, I would have liked to see Abigail speaking about her depression with her parents or other safe adults, visiting a doctor or therapist etc just because while normalizing it is great and important, I think that including information right in the story about how you can get help would be a good message to include. Otherwise, great book, and I would definitely recommend it. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book.
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I really enjoyed this book. There are not a lot of books on this topic so I really enjoyed this. I think a lot of kids (and adults) could relate to Abigail and how she is feeling. I also liked how the ending wasn't just a stereotypical ending, the book provided ideas for how to deal with these worries also which is helpful. Will be purchasing this for myself!
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It is important to note that the majority of the themes explored in this book deal with sensitive subject matters. My review, therefore, touches on these topics as well. Many people might find the book's subject matters & those detailed in my review overwhelming. I would suggest you steer clear of both if this is the case. Please note that from this point forward I will be writing about matters which contain reflections on mental illness, feelings of intense overwhelm, Depression, & others. 

Abigail is a girl with a dark cloud; it follows her everywhere she goes. Sometimes, Abigail finds herself forgetting the blue that colours the sky. Other times, Abigail is reminded that there are colours her dark cloud prevents her from seeing. Overall, Abigail knows that she has a dark cloud & in consequence, feels very alone. 

This story explores the reality of maneuvering through life with very intense emotional experiences. Abigail is a young person who doesn’t yet understand what it means to have a dark cloud, let alone know how to describe the experience. Throughout this book, the reader is allowed to be met with life under the cloud; exploring the shadows that loom over the rainbow world we live in. These books are essential for the reader as much as they are for those around; those with whom the reader might lean on to discuss the clouds that exist over many people's heads. 

Mental illness is a difficult subject matter to broach. How do we begin to explain the feelings that leave us submerged an inch from the surface? How can a person truly understand how depleting it feels to live just out of reach of reprieve? Penny Neville-Lee’s illustrations grant the reader the ability to point at images that reflect invisible feelings inside themselves. I am very grateful to her for her ability to breach the divide as she has done in her work. 

Throughout this story I found myself feeling rather sad. I was sad for Abigail. In my years on earth, I have not come across an accurate way to describe the array of mental illnesses that exist in our beings. The human brain is such a master at its craft, we seem to struggle to keep up. Having literature, & different mediums of art allows people like Abigail—like myself—the freedom in being seen without needing to say anything at all. 

I am glad to know this book exists. I hope that every reader who needs it has the opportunity to feel seen & heard through the lovely prose & the delicate imagery that clears the clouds that shelter them from sunny days. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Kids Can Press, & Anna Lazowski for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a beautiful children's books that would be very helpful to a child who is suffering from depression.
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A story about a girl who has a dark cloud that follows her everywhere representing depression. I wish it went into more detail about how it affects your life but this is a great book to start a conversation with your children on this heavy subject. I liked how when she would have good days the pages were more colorful.

I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.
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I think this book is a great way to talk about, complicated feelings, sadness, and depression. I don't feel like the book covers the full range of feelings that display if someone is depressed, for example, but I think the book is a good starting point for a conversation. My favorite scene is when Abigail hugs her dark cloud.
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