One for the Books: Precariousness of mental health and its effect on others explored in books at Naperville Public Library – Chicago Tribune

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Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. To raise awareness of these struggles, we recognize World Mental Health Day during the month of October.
With one in five U.S. adults experiencing a mental illness during their lifetime, it’s imperative to recognize the daily battles and stigmas surrounding mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. During the month of October, Naperville Public Library celebrates neurodiversity and mental health with a digital display highlighting the raw and courageous stories of those living with mental illness.
This month’s book recommendations explore tough topics, including the challenges of living with depression, anxiety and ADHD as well as the effects of suicide. The digital display also highlights how mental illness can impact the lives of friends and family members of the one diagnosed.
Check out the library’s “Mental Health Awareness” digital display through Oct. 31 to learn more. For the full list of recommendations, go to
“Everything Here is Beautiful,” by Mira T. Lee
One sister starts hearing voices while the other struggles with finding a way to support and protect her in this novel about how mental illness impacts the lives of friends, family members and caretakers of the person with the diagnosis. This novel explores the bonds of familial love as well as the often-devastating effects of mental illness.
“Are You My Mother?” by Alison Bechdel
This is Bechdel’s second tale of filial sleuthing, this time about her mother, a voracious reader, music lover, passionate amateur actor and a woman unhappily married to a closeted gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel’s childhood. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf.
“Imagine Me Gone,” by Adam Haslett
This novel explores the idea that a child with a depressed parent may be genetically predisposed to depression, as well as what it’s like to battle this “beast” from childhood. Haslett examines the very precariousness of existence: “how narrowly we all avoid having never been.”
“A Tragic Kind of Wonderful,” by Eric Lindstrom
For 16-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium.
“All the Bright Places,” by Jennifer Niven
Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another.
“Baby & Solo,” by Lisabeth Posthuma
Hoping for a fresh start when his therapist recommends a part-time job, 17-year-old Joel forges a deep bond with a smart-mouthed co-worker before circumstances force him to share the truth about his past.
“Each Tiny Spark,” by Pablo Cartaya
Sixth-grader Emilia Torres struggles with ADHD, her controlling grandmother, her mother’s work commitments, her father’s distance after returning from military deployment, evolving friendships and a conflict over school redistricting.
“Breathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy,” by Mariam Gates
Through visualization and play, this engaging breath-by-breath journey teaches children an essential set of self-care skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.
“Ruby Finds a Worry,” by Tom Percival
A young girl’s sense of adventure and exploration vanishes when she discovers a “Worry,” which grows and grows until she learns how to get rid of it.
Ashlee Conour is the marketing specialist at Naperville Public Library.
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