The Ups and Downs – A Bipolar Picture Book by Kat Owens is an adult-oriented picture book, although there’s no “adult” content and it would be very appropriate to help younger people understand bipolar disorder.
The author aims to show the ups and downs of everyday life with bipolar. She herself lives with bipolar II. The book features Bat, a very cute, floppy-eared little bat. The author explains that Bat’s story is just one way of experiencing bipolar disorder, and not everyone will experience the illness that way.
The book starts off with a couple of quotes; I quite liked the quote from Hemingway that “We are all broken… that’s how the light gets in.”
The first half of the book is devoted to Bat’s manic/hypomanic symptoms, like being hyper-talkative and impulsive spending.
Midway through, Bat switches to depression, and the book includes things like self-critical thoughts and unhelpful things people say. A panic attack is also depicted.
This book does a great job of simplifying what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder while still staying true to the reality of the illness. The illustrations are well done, and the message is clearly conveyed without using any unnecessary words. I liked the choice of Bat as the main character; it’s cute and helps to avoid readers bringing preconceived ideas about what a person with bipolar is like.
I think this book would be a useful way to convey to friends and family what bipolar really is (or depression, for that matter). At 41 pages, it’s a quick read with a really good message.
The Ups and Downs – A Bipolar Picture Book is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.