Today's my turn on the Online Book Tour for The Compulsion Cloud written by Averi Ridge Castaneda and illustrated by Vicky Kuhn.
This picture book caught my eye because it focuses on a topic which at one time was not widely heard of, OCD. Thankfully, it is something that is now recognised, and there is much help available to children who are struggling with this.
Having previously worked in schools, I came across this many times and recognised its symptoms from my own years at school, college and onwards.
Before reading The Compulsion Cloud, I hoped the book, along with its bright and colourful illustrations, would help children understand what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is and how to deal with it.
AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR BIO.
Averi Ridge Castaneda
Author, Averi Ridge Castaneda, LCSW-A is a licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate. She will be completing her Master of Social Work degree by the time her debut picture book, The Compulsion Cloud, is published. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of young people. She currently works as a therapist for children and adolescents who struggle with a variety of behavioural and mental health concerns. Averi herself was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at the age of 19, so she understands the daily struggle of managing OCD. Her goal is to continue fighting the stigmas that surround mental illness, keeping kindness and empathy at the centre of her work.
Vicky Kuhn is a freelance illustrator based in Lincoln, UK. Preferring to work with traditional media, her work celebrates colour and whimsy with her use of watercolours and coloured pencils. A lot of her work focuses on childhood and nature. She takes great inspiration from UK holidays, the British countryside and wildlife.
Vicky graduated from the University of Lincoln in 2015 with a first-class degree in illustration. Vicky counts the great, Raymond Briggs as one of her many inspirations.
Holly's story starts with a cloud - and it's not a fluffy, white one you'd see on a sunny day. Instead, it's a scary, dark cloud that looms over her and makes anxiety-provoking demands, which, if disobeyed, could cause bad things to happen to her and her loved ones. But fortunately for Holly, she is seeing a therapist who has the plan to help her get for of this bullying could, once and for all.
You may have guessed that Holly's cloud is a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and her therapist aims to treat it with Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERP). These terms can e confusing for children having their first OCD symptoms, so The Compulsion Cloud - written by social worker Averi Ridge Castaneda - introduces both concepts in a kid-friendly manner. Ultimately, this story provides a blueprint for recovery, which shows young readers that standing up to their compulsion clouds will bring them back to the light, too.
I loved this book. It's perfect for children to follow and understand what the demons of OCD can do to someone. The Compulsion Cloud is about Holly, who sees a therapist called Anna, about her everyday struggles with what Anna calls, The Compulsion Cloud. With baby steps, Anna not only identifies and explains to Holly what this compulsion cloud is but also provides valuable advice and exercises to help keep it under control.
I think this is a story many will to relate to. It's surprising just how many of us suffer from OCD in varying degrees. To accompany this lovely story are beautifully colourful illustrations by Vicky Kuhn. These drawings complement the story perfectly.
I would recommend this book to all children, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with OCD or not. In fact, I think it will give all who read this a better understanding and, as a result, more tolerance and empathy towards those struggling with OCD. Thank you, Averi, for writing this wonderful story.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Instagram: @averi.anna @vickykuhnillustrations @literallypr
My next review, on 19th May, is about Venessa Taylor's Baller Boys vs The Bulldozers. Here's a taster:
Best friends Shay and Frankie, and their team AC United, are back for another football season, another year older, and eager for a win...
The duo soon realise that nothing ever stays the same, and change is a part of life whether they like it or not – both on and off the pitch.
With new team members, the threat of losing their precious home turf, and changes afoot in their family lives too, can the boys work together to stay on track... and keep winning? And, of course, who will be crowned Baller Boy this season?
Sound good? Look out for my honest review soon. Until then, stay safe and happy reading!