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Carbon Under Pressure

Carbon Under Pressure is the extraordinary story of an ordinary young woman called Rose. This emotional book starts with an account of Rose’s daughter Sophie attempting suicide. Then, the book follows Rose through the next three years of her life as she tries to save her daughter. As if this is not bad enough, more troubles follow this family as they try to wake up from the nightmare they are living and get through to the light.

Author Meg Heart tells her story in a manner that if the reader didn’t know beforehand that this was based on a true story, it would read like a fictional novel. The people portrayed in this book take on the appearance of a set of characters, with a relatable protagonist, a supporting yet devious husband, and a teenage daughter going through a dark phase in her life. While the entire story seems fictional on the surface and anything but ordinary, the most significant message of the book is that it can happen to anyone. The author adeptly carries the story forward while focusing on the mental state of all the characters involved and thus manages to evoke strong emotions in the reader.

This book is intended for mature audiences and covers topics of suicide and sexual assault. However, it is done with great care. The author only mentions the details that are required to tell the story without making the book too heavy to read. The book revolves around the themes of suicide, dealing with depression, family, and sexual assault and covers the topics in fair depth and accuracy.

Carbon Under Pressure is the memoir of one woman named Rose and about the darkest point in her life. How she survived and made it through is detailed with the cautionary tale that it could happen to anyone. This biography will appeal to readers that are interested in women’s studies, depression, sexual assault, and family issues. This book does an excellent job of describing the lesser talked about realities of life.

Page: 176 | ASIN : B09KY45J7P

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Major Depression and the Woke Government

Major Depression and the Woke Government by author Daryl V. DeMarco is an interesting book that focuses on people’s experiences with major depression, just as the title itself suggests. It mainly focuses on DeMarco’s personal fight with depression, its beginning, the ups and downs he went through, the time it took for him to get a diagnosis, and outside influences that affected him while fighting a major depressive disorder.

The author talks about how his illness first became a problem after he purchased property, which is supposed to be a happy life event for his personal life. However, it turned his world and health upside down. He discusses how the way we are taught to think impacts how we perceive the world around us, which can lead to depression. DeMarco also discusses the part that Serotonin plays in depression while keeping it on a level that ordinary people can understand.

He also covers many political topics, such as how the government is abusing its power, leading to the rise in mental health issues, especially depression. The author also includes his thoughts on what causes so many young people to be diagnosed with this disorder.

The author dug deep into his soul and past to create this book, and it shows. Sharing something as difficult to go through and yet still be so raw and uncensored is truly brave and powerful, and yet the book is written in a tone that everyone can understand, empathize with and grow from. The book is very raw and covers topics that might still be considered taboo to talk about.

Major Depression and the Woke Government is a thought-provoking book and an excellent read for anyone interested in psychology or for a person fighting depression. This book can serve as a reminder that people are not alone struggling with this or other disorders. I would also highly recommend this enlightening book to any students studying psychology. 

Page: 134 | ASIN : B09QVJJQT6

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Be True to Yourself

Annabel Harz Author Interview

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine takes readers through your emotions as you battle depression. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Depression is a soul-destroying condition. It permeates every aspect of a person’s life. If it is clinical depression, it can be extremely challenging to overcome. Its pervasive nature changes a person from the inside out, so sufferers who make it to the other side are very different people to those who went into it.

My depression lasted ten years. Coming out of it as a young person in my early twenties, that was half my life. That decade was so transformative and profound that the lessons I learned—including new ways of behaving and thinking—remain my core approaches, today.

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine was an important book for me to write because my experiences are shared by many others: sadly, the frequency of depression remains very high, and although the triggers and causes may differ, the resultant reactions of being stuck, feeling anxiety and fear, having panic attacks and thinking suicidal thoughts are all too common.

I have a wealth of raw materials which provide a first-hand account of what it is like to be in the depth of depression, and it is now time for me to ‘pass it forward’ in a way that hopefully will assist others: fellow-sufferers whose experiences are validated through seeing them mirrored in my book; and people without direct experience who gain insight into what it is like to be in that position.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story through poetry. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest thing to write about was suicidal ideation, because people thinking these dark thoughts are the closest they can be to madness without actually being locked up. It’s terrifying to have such thoughts invade the mind, unbidden and unwelcome, unable to be stopped. When I finally crawled out the other side of my darkest days and could reflect on my past with some distance, it was petrifying to realise how unwell I had been, how deep I had sunk and how out of control my situation had been … especially when I realised the danger that had put me in. It’s challenging to come face-to-face with the reality that I actively considered death a better option to life, because that is the ultimate end-game that most people don’t go to willingly.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

Be true to yourself: ultimately, the only person anyone needs to answer to is themselves. All the kindly-provided advice and help from others amounts to little if it doesn’t feel right in your gut, so listen to your instincts and be guided by your intuition.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have ideas for several books, in various formats, which are parked at the moment. My next project is a memoir of my mother, integrating other key influences in my life. My mother is an inspiration, a trailblazer in many ways, and her life deserves to be heard about by more than her family circle.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website | Amazon | Reedsy | ArtsHub | Readers Favorite

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine continues the theme of Journey into the Dark and the Light, the first book by Annabel Harz. Disarmingly honest words and images reveal more of her personal experiences: the deep shadows of loneliness and depression; the recognition of the value of survival at her lowest point of feeling unworthy; the importance of mental and physical space in creating a safe place for personal exploration and growth; and ultimately the sunshine of wellbeing when—through sheer grit and endurance—her personal demons had been conquered and set free.

Sustained effort is required to rise out of depression once it is established as a daily state of being. The poetry and artwork in this collection exemplify the resilience required to rise above the despair of mental ill-health, and with candour and sincerity depict the internal strength which facilitates reaching a place of well-being.

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine by Annabel Harz is a collection of poetry, artwork, and color that come together to describe the writer’s journey from abject desolation to hope. This is not an anthology to dip into and out of; it’s instead like the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” in that if you don’t see it through to the end, it’s the saddest, most bleak story ever told.

The first two-thirds of the book tells the story of a lonely woman, abused and slowly dying from crippling depression. This whole section is skillfully summed up in the poem “My World,” describing her willingness to give away her world “to anyone who wishes to take it” because she is “too tired and not strong enough to fix it.” This section of the book has a nearly overwhelming number of poems written from the depths of her depression. They speak of the darkness that can consume those living with depression. Like how depression does not have a set of rules, many of her poems lack metaphor or even meter. These pieces are not only poems; they are plaintive howls of despair from a pit of desperation and pain. Phrases, like “washed by the tides of fortune,” create moments of magic for the reader. For me, the perfect description of the girl in the first part comes from “Emotional Backlash,” in which she is a “glass girl, exposed and ready to shatter.”

The poems are beautifully illustrated by Harz as well. Some of the pictures are childlike, some powerful, and some are little more than doodles. But they are almost all effective in representing the poem they are paired with. “Life Force Within” gracefully depicts the writer’s entire journey from suicidal desolation into hope, where “Each footstep of your journey transforms you into a petal of the flower you will become.” The collection is completed with dignified composure in “I Am.”

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine is powerful, resonant, and ultimately uplifting. This poetry collection will stay with readers long after they finish reading the last poem. Lovers of poetry, those struggling with depression, women looking for someone that understands, this collection has something for all.

Pages: 110 | ASIN : B09JM6BYWX

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Diversity and Inclusion, Seeking Acceptance

Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Only Blue Crow follows a lone blue crow that wants nothing more than to be included. What was the inspiration for your story?

I love birds! I often observe their lives, how they find a spouse, make a nest, and defend their space and their little ones. What intrigues me most are their songs! In this book, the blue crow misses many of these elements as he is too alone and feels miserable.

I’m a person with two opposite sides. I feel very happy and comfortable to be connected to other people and enjoy their company, but I also need a lot of private space and time. I have noticed that a balance of these spheres is vital to me.

Like many people, the crow in my book has too much loneliness. He has difficulties in finding his place and trusted friends. He also lacks the confidence of being what he is and compares himself to others to be accepted.

I have met many “lonely crows” in real life, and I’d like to encourage them! I would like to send my greetings to a special little boy whose mother I was talking to some years ago. She was worried about how her son would be accepted at school as he had a physical difference compared to the others. Until then, he had been happy with it, but now he was going to another environment with all new people and had already started to think more about it.

This discussion with that mother is still in my heart. With books like The Only Blue Crow, I try to make children and adults think about and express acceptance and empathy every day. It can make a big difference in many lives.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with the illustrator Catty Flores?

Catty Flores is a wonderful artist and illustrator. We have been working together for many years. We communicate well, and we trust in each other’s professional skills. I am the author, and she wakes my stories alive in pictures!

Our first project together – ”The Survival Stories Series”– was published six years ago. She lived in New Zealand at that time, but the distance didn’t prevent us from working closely together. Modern technology and connections are amazing in connecting people!

Since then, we have made many other books – even series – together. It has always been smooth and positive. We have worked with many sensitive subjects like poverty, loneliness, illness. Welcome home, Pearl, from a series talking about the family life of a disabled child, was chosen even for to latest international IBBY collection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, and they included the whole series in their exhibition.

We share a similar understanding with Catty about both the every day “tragedies” and the happy highlights. The message is: there is always a way, and there is always somebody to be by our side! There is a positive and fun way of encouraging children in our “Little Fears Series” and “I did it! Series”, which is important to both of us.

It’s always a pleasure for me to see Catty’s ideas for a new story and start developing the book together with her. I also admire her flexibility and ability to find new ways and styles for various stories.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The Only Blue Crow is a book of diversity and inclusion, seeking acceptance and connection to others. It’s also a book of finding the strength in yourself, trusting your own wings, and discovering the world!

I feel strongly connected to the lonely blue crow in his search for happiness. My crow is a symbol of many ways of being different from others. I hope it gives comfort and encouragement for children and adults who suffer from discrimination or are left out for any reason.

In real life, many significant issues in society can cause problems – poverty, culture, religion, gender, to name a few. But even more, minor everyday things can start the difficulties – such as differences in a person’s looks, thoughts, taste, and behavior. It’s essential to understand that these experiences of being included or left out are very individual and personal. They are often secrets, and the others do not notice that something is wrong. Still, they can affect a person’s whole life!

My message is simple. We are individuals, and we should be accepted as individuals! But we also need the others around us. Tolerance and acceptance are crucial to making life happier for everybody.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m always working simultaneously with several books. Stories are developing in my head, and texts are edited, translated, and illustrated by artists all the time. I love all the steps but working with the illustrator has a unique creative touch! ​

I just received the finished illustrations from Catty Flores for Noise All Over, which is the next book in my “Little Fears Series” this spring. And now, she has just started working with The Giant Legs, probably published before summer, too. These are books about various troubling situations that children meet, sometimes without the others noticing it. My message is that parents, relatives, teachers, and other adults close to children, can do a lot by listening and giving space to children. The little ones have deep feelings under the surface, too. After solving the minor problems and fears, life will be easier all along!

Another of my trusted illustrators, Andrea Alemanno, has just finished illustrating The Stone Garden, which has a unique atmosphere and mysterious visual interpretation. He could surprise me again, although we have worked together many years, too. I love layers of history and the present day, memories and plans, fantasy, and real life. The Stone Garden captures this all in Andrea Alemanno’s pictures.

There is no end to it when I talk about my following books! I am pleased to be inspired repeatedly and find fresh ways to express significant issues – even the most delicate ones – together with other artists. I have had a lot of time to think and write during these special times – suitable for an author! I’m glad to show the newest results soon and hope to meet readers in person again.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

There’s a blue crow who doesn’t know anyone like him. At times he feels terribly lonely.
“Luckily in my home valley there are blue flowers, blue butterflies and a blue sky,” he ponders. The blue crow feels even sadder when the new neighbors, black crows, mock him.
On the advice of a wise owl, the bird embarks on a journey across the sea. There are plenty of things to see. Will there also be other blue birds, and perhaps even another blue crow?

Lullaby of the Valley

Kaina is a grandmother from the valley, she has lived in the village of the valley all her life. Upon the mountain is another small village, and the people all use to be friends. Over time small disagreements broke out, and eventually, all the men decided to go to war with the other village. Families were separated as the men went off, and women and children could no longer shop in the markets or see friends they had from the other village. Everyone was sad or angry in these two villages.

Kaina is saddened at the direction her world has taken. One night she wanders down to the spring that rests between the two villages alone, where her dear friend Siran also arrives. Together they sing a lullaby each in their own language, but the melody and meaning are the same. Their voices reach out across the valley and mountain, and reach all the angry men and change starts to set in.

Lullaby of the Valley is an emotional and heartwarming picture book. The message of hate and distrust is presented in a gentle manner that children will be able to understand. Author Tuula Pere has written about this difficult topic eloquently and illustrator Andrea Alemanno has provided the haunting images to coincide with the topic. The lullaby is a beautiful message of peace and comfort. The two old women use the only tool they have, their voice, to calm the hate and anger in their world. Though from opposing villages, they work together to heal the wounds. The message of helping, loving, and friendship will teach children how even being small they can make a difference in their world.

Lullaby of the Valley will give children a chance to see how small things in life can make a big difference. I would recommend this picture book for all kids and their families, and as a useful story for teachers to show children that kindness can win over anger.

Pages: 30 | ASIN : B07HXGL58C

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The Only Blue Crow

A lone blue crow wants nothing more than to have friends. He tries to make friends with a flock of black crows and they do nothing but make fun of him. Discouraged, the blue crow sets off to find things that make him happy. When bluebells fail to lighten his mood, a wise owl calls him over. The owl tells him he should set out on a journey, that the world is large and perhaps he will find another blue crow on his search. So off the crow flies, hoping to find a reason to be happy and even some new friends.

The Only Blue Crow by Tuula Pere is a picture book that tackles the topics of loneliness, depression, and self-worth through the life of a blue crow. This crow is different from all the other birds he encounters and struggles with the reality that it seems no one will accept him for who he is. In the world today, this message is important as depression and fear of being different are impacting children at younger ages than ever. This thought-provoking story will guide young readers in realizing that different is not wrong or bad. The message of going out and finding those that appreciate you and not staying where you are unwanted is a powerful one.

Illustrator Catty Flores does an amazing job showing the emotions of the blue crow in her artwork. Children will be engaged with the whimsical watercolor style. The illustrations add depth to the story as young readers will be able to see the emotions on the blue crow even if they do not understand the words being used to describe his loneliness.

The Only Blue Crow is an inspirational read for young children. Teachers and parents will find this picture book is a great resource for introducing the tough topics of loneliness and inclusion.

Pages: 48 | ISBN : 9523573101

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Notes On The Train

Notes On The Train by [Loreen de Kort, Chandra Sparks-Splond]

Notes on the Train by Loreen de Kort is a thought provoking collection of impassioned poetry and prose. It includes dozens of poems about a range of themes such as hiding your true feelings for fear of being hurt, allowing others to affect or control how you feel, not seeing the good things about yourself that others can see, feeling unloved, looking outside of yourself for happiness rather than finding it within, not being seen for your true self, not fitting in, feeling lost, not being able to accept help from others, striving for a high goal that has not yet been reached, and questioning what is the meaning of life.

The poems in this book are heartfelt and stirring, and I enjoyed all of them in different ways. Although many of them have a darker theme, there were also many poems that were inspiring and uplifting, which were the ones that I especially liked.

My favorite poem was “Hitting and Missing”, which is about what a mother is missing by having children not outweighing what she didn’t miss–the precious moments with her children. Even as a reader who does not have children of my own, I could relate to this poem because it made me think of my own mother. I also liked the poem about puzzle pieces with each doll holding a different piece which represented a specific emotion or quality that was needed to make a complete whole, and not allowing the sorrow piece to take over. This poem was different than any poem I have read in other books, and I liked the uniqueness of it.

The poems varied in style with differing structures and ranged in length from a short poem with only four lines to poems that were a few pages. I liked this variety in the poems because it ensured that the book did not feel repetitive even though similar themes were used. This book is comprised almost entirely of poems, but I enjoyed the inclusion of the short story as well.

While I did not fully understand some of the poems, I still felt that the poems were stimulating and meditative. I felt that some poetic styles didn’t resonate with me, but I appreciated how the poems conveyed a variety of emotions, some of them dark but all of them were expressive.

Notes on the Train is a stirring poetic exploration of the authors emotions and the struggles anyone faces with depression and the myriad of struggles that life presents. A bold, candid and memorable collection of poetry.

Pages: 57 | ASIN: B09436WNLJ

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