Fighting dragons is one way of fighting depression. This book is another.
Through stunning black and white illustration and deceptively simple text, author and illustrator Debi Gliori provides a fascinating and absorbing portrait of depression and hope in Night Shift, a moving picture book about a young girl haunted by dragons. The young girl battles the dragons using 'night skills': skills that give her both the ability to survive inside her own darkness and the knowledge that nothing—not even long, dark nights filled with monsters—will last forever.
Drawn from Gliori's own experiences and struggles with depression, the book concludes with a moving author's note explaining how depression has affected her and how she continues to cope. Gliori hopes that by sharing her own experience she can help others who suffer from depression, and to find that subtle shift that will show the way out.
A brave and powerful book, give Night Shift to dragon fighters young and old, and any reader who needs to know they're not alone.
Though it has the appearance of a children’s book, the uniquely stylized aesthetic may make it more suitable as a coffee table book (or perhaps ideally, preparatory waiting room reading material for counseling offices.) While the book is technically based on the author’s personal outlook, the main character is nearly ambiguous in gender, age, and ethnicity—making it more openly relatable on a superficial level. The intent is worthy, meaningful, and more than needed in this era of growing metal health awareness. While very few children ever deal with depression, they may have close teen or adult relative who does. And there is the potential here to give some comprehension to the unaware, and words to the overwhelmed.
Coming in at just 32 pages, with between one and four sentences per page, Night Shift is an incredibly quick read. (So quick, in fact, some may balk at the $14 price tag.) It does a thorough job of describing a day-to-day struggle with depression (which some who experience it may or may not find relatable), but doesn’t seem to fulfill the promise given in the blurb—that is, to explain how the author copes with her depression. There’s plenty of clear depiction of being metaphorically assailed, and enduring said assaults on her mental and emotional state. But any methods she may have for resisting or fighting back unfortunately remain a mystery. And while this book does end on a hopeful note, that hope is vague and left to just the last 2 written pages.