What Is Depression?

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Here is a diverse list of titles to provide an introduction to depression, produced in collaboration with the Douglas Center and MCC.

  • Reasons to Stay Alive

    2016 by Haig, Matt

    Matt Haig's powerful memoir brings to light what it feels like to live with depression. He chronicles his everyday struggles and offers simple antidotes to help others make it through the day. Haig discusses the methods that have worked for him to manage his depression. Adult. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • This Is My Brain in Love

    2020 by Gregorio, I. W.

    Winner of the 2021 Schneider Family Book Award, this book is a nuanced and realistic portrayal of how mental illness affects the relationships of two teens who are grappling with familial expectations and figuring out a future for themselves. Will, who has an anxiety disorder and is learning how to manage his anxiety with the help of his therapist, is able to recognize that his girlfriend Jos is struggling with her depression and encourages her to seek help when she begins spiraling. Adult. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay

    2018 by Khorram, Adib

    Following a clinically depressed high school sophomore, this young adult novel explores mental health in teenagers. With an emphasis on friendship, family, and identity, Khorram delves into the importance of building circles of support. Grades 8 and up. Suggested by Elise.

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  • Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

    2000 by Burns, David D.

    In this updated version, Burns discusses the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for depressed individuals. He includes several scientifically proven techniques that will help individuals identify their moods and develop a more positive outlook. Adult. Suggested by Michelle.

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  • Easy Crafts for the Insane: A Mostly Funny Memoir of Mental Illness and Making Things

    2021 by Brown, Kelly Williams

    After a series of accidents that left her sometimes immobile and reliant on others, several family deaths, and a divorce, author Kelly Brown spirals into a deep depression and attempts suicide. Along with medical help (medicine and a stay in a care facility), Kelly turns to crafts. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, this is a realistic portrait of what it is like to live with depression. Adult. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • I'm Sad

    2018 by Black, Michael Ian

    Flamingo learns that it is okay to be sad sometimes and that her friends, the little girl and Potato, will stand by her no matter how she feels. Preschool-Grade 3. Suggested by Sophia.

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  • The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

    2015 by Solomon, Andrew

    Solomon's The Noonday Demon details the author's own struggles with depression as well as offering both historical and cultural perspectives. It helps that Solomon is an incredibly gifted researcher and writer, and while this is at times a difficult, heartbreaking read, Solomon's book is full of compassion and wisdom derived of experience. Adult. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Weather Girl

    2022 by Solomon, Rachel Lynn

    Ari Abrams has been an expert in masking her chronic depression and presenting a sunny and optimistic front. When she begins her romantic relationship, Ari tries to keep her true, darker portions of herself hidden from her partner. Solomon discusses Ari's mental health issues with skill and sensitivity by presenting Ari therapy sessions and allowing Ari to come to the realization she is still loveable despite her illness. Adult. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Dark Matter of Mona Starr

    2020 by Gulledge, Laura Lee

    Mona lives with crippling depression and anxiety. She envisions her dark emotions to be elemental and expansive and names them "matter"; matter prevents Mona from truly living her life, but with the help of her supportive family and various types of therapy--like meditation and drawing--Mona slowly begins to reconnect with her friends, family, and the art she loves so much. Grades 7 and up. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Science of Breakable Things

    2018 by Keller, Tae

    Natalie would usually be excited at her year-long science assignment--after all, she and her botanist mother used to conduct all sorts of experiments. Recently, however, Natalie's mother has been bedridden by her depression. As Natalie connects with her classmates through their assignment, she comes to better understand her mother and learns how to cope herself. Grades 4-8. Suggested by Amy.

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