Thursday 18 August 2022

When I See Blue - Lily Bailey

New town, new school, but the bully is in Ben's head ...

There are 4 things you should know about Ben:
1. He's 12 years old
2. He's the new kid at school
3. His special number is 4
4. He has a bully in his brain

Sometimes Ben's brain makes him count to 4 to prevent bad things happening. Sometimes it makes him tap or blink in 4s. Mostly it makes the smallest things feel impossible. And with a new school, a moody big brother, an absent dad and a mum battling her own demons, Ben feels more out of control than ever. But then he meets April, and with his new friend, Ben might finally figure out how to stand up to the bully in his brain, once and for all.

An authentic and affecting #ownvoices story about living life with OCD, from the inspiring author and mental health activist, Lily Bailey. Perfect for readers of A Kind of Spark and The Goldfish Boy.

What did I think?

Oh my goodness this book is outstanding.  I absolutely adored Ben and I miss him so much already that I can’t wait to read it again soon.

Although I did know a little about it, I finally understand OCD and I’m significantly older than the target audience.  This book is sure to help children understand their OCD and also ensure that school friends are more understanding and compassionate.

I don’t have OCD but I recognised bits of myself in Ben; I am super-sensitive and constantly blame myself for things that are beyond my control.  Just reading about Ben also being like this and looking at it through the eyes of Ben’s therapist, was a real eye-opener for me.  I am not a magical being with powers to control events!  Thank you for making me see this, Lily Bailey!

When I See Blue is aimed at 9-11 year olds but I’d prefer to say it’s for 9+ as this book definitely does not have an upper age limit.  With beautifully illustrated chapter headings, it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and it just might change their life.

Beautifully written, honest and charming, When I See Blue is one of those books where five stars doesn’t seem quite enough.  Very highly recommended - it’s time for you to meet Ben!

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