The Wave

Roaring Brook. Aug. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250842039.
Gr 1-4–A child, presenting as white and male, finds himself swept up in a dark wave of depression. As the wave sweeps him away, at various times he swims, sinks, tumbles, and is carried by the current, all the while reflecting on the feelings it evokes: sadness, despair, frustration, anger, loneliness. Also depicted are one friend and the boy’s parents, who, by the end of the story, wait patiently on the shore as the boy emerges from the water. Throughout the book, the author offers suggestions from his own experience meant to help young readers recognize and cope with their own or others’ waves of depression. These strategies are revisited and briefly expanded upon in the back matter, along with an author’s note and additional resources. The art, rendered in pencil and painted digitally, is soft and somber, and effectively captures both the narrator’s struggle and the titular metaphor.
VERDICT An introspective and reassuring title for readers across several grade ranges.

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